“As businesses look for areas with “Value-added Service” potential, the ability to identify viable mechanisms and adjust accordingly to breaking trends is paramount in the age of ever changing technology. It be enhanced Fulfillment Centers, Gig Economy or even advanced technological platforms that implements robotics in the process, in the end, the ultimate goal for every business is objectively similar; i.e., customer satisfaction.”
Businesses can maintain hard earned fountain of trust with the ultimate customer pledge: to always strive to identify and enhance internal structures that optimize the community’s quality of life. In Logistics, that means looking for Core Competencies that cater “Value-added” Last Mile experiences, i.e., the final leg of the entire Supply Chain process that delivers goods from the fullfillment center to the destination doorsteps. As Logistics advances with the fastest technological breakthroughs in comparison to other industries, businesses can erode operational efficiency by foregoing breaking trends that promise to change the nature of how the game is played altogether.
Where large business-to-business (B2B) stratagems dominated olden day transportation with intimidating truckloads and containers, today’s e-commerce, on the other hand, has redefined the playing field with new On-demand Same-Day Delivery models that doesn’t only challenge legacy systems. It reinforces the golden rule “you can be a life long operator only if you’re a life long adapter“, with the stress being on only.
When the basic needs of customers are satisfiable by competitors with available capacity, On-demand and Same-day Delivery are the two of few remaining areas that can render a “Value Added” edge in today’s competitive transportation business and build on that hard earned loyalty.
Thus, this article touches the base of 9 developing trends that promise to effect last mile services.
1. Faster fulfillment: The rapidly expanding demand for expedited delivery has galvanized a sentiment for on-demand services; and thus, streamlined automated facilitation: “I want it now and I’ll buy with whoever can deliver”. Responses to customer orders, availability of supply according to demand all the way to having a transportation systems in place to make it happen instantaniously are all vital component to staying ahead of the game in today’s fast pace differentation. Fulfillment systems, thus, have to adapt quick enough to meet, and possible exceed, expectation.
2. Gig Economy and Crowdsourcing Applications: “Part time” economy or Gig Economy, as the name indicates, is a part time, freelance, self-employed, outsourcing, or a combination of all, that make up a new, vital, component to the succes of collaborative economies. It allows for more responsive applications in Supply Chain that make it easier for common households, as well as the general public, to carry out or even provide transporting services, themselves. For example, UberRUSH or Postmates that rely on part time operators to transport goods, of whom earn a good living for themselves through availed transporting gigs in addition to the regular full time job or life style.
3. Focus on visibility: Businesses and customers increasingly value transparancy because, in the age of same hour delivery, they need to be able to verify that the promise is held to it’s words by checking real time itinerary status to view the last point the purchased item showed up en route the final destination. World class service providers have sophisticated tracking systems in place, some of which are optimized through Blockchain technology, to enable a real time transparent POD (Proof of Delivery) system. A simple signiture on the digital tablet validates that the item has been shipped to, e.g., the customer without additional procedural requirements to log delivery status.
4. Advanced postal services: As the internet effected The United States Postal Service (USPS), for example, the developmental stage of postal service in general with regards to embracing the new digital platform, surprisingly, remains in the initial transition stage from hard copy mail reduction to cargo-freight services.
5. Insourcing deliveries: Many businesses have deployed their own internal transportation and ridesharing capacities with strategic counterparts to handle services in unfamiliar areas and maximize utilization rate of transportation fleets that are otherwise left idled with little economic use. Of course, that includes the king of online retail, Amazon, as well, although such prospects may be about to change in the close foreseeable future with the giant’s handshake with Ford and take over of Whole Foods.
6. City warehouses: In 2016, Amazon Prime recorded 58 distribution hubs nation wide to satisfy, not only same-day delivery needs, but to put a structure in place for implementing two-hour delivery services as well. Such a service, that is, is unknown to be carried out successfully by any other service provider, to-date. Thus, a significant advantage to the global retail leader that serves to disrupt competing carriers that struggle to match the Amazon offer.
7. Carrier become Sales: Carriers hold great potential to become the ultimate salesforce. As business operators hold insightful Big Data pertaining to each customer’s consumption pattern, orders be forecasted and offered to other customers before the order is placed, even, that are feasibly reachable in the same geographical delivery area with products that can be feasibly added to the original cargo load. Such value adding process extends to the driver’s KPI as well.
8. Smart technology and sensors: As customers demand changes rapidly, businesses can apply intelligent technology and sensors to track product and service statuses, particularly for cargos that require temperature control. This allows the manufacturer to know the temperature and humidity of the product at all times and all locations across vast supply chain maps. Such streamlined industrious application is expected to become the new industry standard across markets, soon.
9. Delivery by Self-driving Cars, Drones and Robots: Although transportation of the future remains in developmental and testing stage, logistics and transportation operators are keeping a tight watch on such application as the next big game changing shift is expected to take place in a wide sweeping manner, sooner than expected. It will galvanize massive operational advantages to businesses and customers alike, especially in parcel delivery services, i.e., the synergy of both safe, secured and swift accurate delivery at a fraction of legacy cost over the long term. Thus, another fullfilled aspect of the IoT professor’s prediction pertaining to wanning marginal costs of conducting business as the collaborative economy expands.
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Compiled by BLOG.SCGLogistics
Reference and picture credits: supllychaindive.com, bangkokbiznews.com