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What challenges do couriers face with last mile delivery?

Thursday, 17 September 2020 at 16:00

The challenges couriers & retailers face with last mile delivery.

As consumers are shopping online more and more, fast courier delivery isn’t just a nice option to have — it’s more or less expected. Therefore if a national courier service and their retail partners hope to stand any chance at all of competing with businesses such as Amazon Prime, they need to make it a priority.

As a result, businesses have started to develop new technology and experimenting with new supply chain models to increase parcel volume, speed up deliveries, and most importantly keep their customers happy, whilst trying to keep the cost down. Unfortunately, the biggest challenge is the same day delivery service & last-mile delivery.

Last mile delivery?

In a product’s journey from the seller's warehouse or shop to the customer's delivery address, the “last mile” is the final step of the process, the point at which the parcel finally arrives at the buyer’s door. As well as being extremely important to customer satisfaction, last-mile delivery is the most costly and time-consuming part of the delivery service.

What are the problems faced with last mile delivery?

Have you ever tracked your parcel online and seen that it was “out for delivery” and waited for what felt like forever, then you may already realise that the last mile delivery problem is inefficiency. This is because the final part of your parcel delivery involves many more drops along its journey to you.

In rural areas such as Derbyshire, delivery addresses along a particular route may well be many miles apart, with only one or two packages getting delivered to each. In cities, the story isn’t much better; even though drops in urban areas are much closer together, delays are constantly caused by road works and traffic congestion.

The costs and inefficiencies of the last mile problem have been made worse by the increase of online retail sales, which means the number of parcels and packages delivered each day is far more, as well as customer expectations to include not just fast, but also free delivery.

Technology to help improve last-mile delivery

Many buyers are already familiar with crowdsourcing local services through digital platforms like Uber. Location-based crowdsourcing allows customers to use a mobile app to book a cab, book a hotel room, order Dominos Pizza to their house, hire a joiner to mount a TV, or even send flowers to a funeral.

Crowdsourcing has been used in transportation, hospitality, and takeaway delivery for quite a while, and retailers are eyeing its low start-up costs, and improved customer experience to help ease their last mile delivery problems.

Crowdsource technology, retailers, logistics companies, and consumers can now connect directly with local, same day couriers who use their own delivery vans to make deliveries. Businesses can ensure their online orders arrive with their customers faster, meaning they receive their items when and where they want them. The freedom to make scheduled deliveries also means that customers are home at the time of delivery, eliminating the need for a second or even third delivery attempt.

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