Increasingly, companies are attempting to solve their final mile problems, or even create final mile programs whole cloth, with plug-and-play software solutions. But it isn’t that easy. Using out-of-the-box or internally developed technology alone to provide real-time data, it’s just one piece of the complex puzzle that is optimizing the final mile.
Can You Buy Your Way to Success?
Large retailers are increasing their investment in their final mile operations. Walmart is getting smarter about its final mile delivery for greater efficiency–fulfilling orders from individual stores rather than fulfillment centers. Shopify struggled so much with final mile execution it bought out an entire final mile company, Delivrr.
These developments show an increasingly prevalent institutional understanding that the final mile is a market differentiator. When buyers consider products virtually equal, they often opt for the one with the fastest and most reliable delivery.
Studies have shown that customers value certainty and communication when it comes to deliveries. Retailers with robust final mile programs give their customers the easy order experience, strong communication, and reliable delivery they seek. In short, the final mile is a crucial element for customer retention and growth.
Smaller retailers who don’t have the funds to buy an entire final mile operation are turning to technology to provide the transparency and reliability their customers crave—investing in apps or other tech platforms that mimic the services of a full-scale final mile company. But software alone isn’t enough. Only full-scale final mile delivery providers have the power to use delivery technology to its full potential, and also provide smooth operations with a human touch. Technology is great, but people matter.
Beyond Technology and Money: People, Experience, and Expertise Matter Most
Companies that opt for a pure software solution lose out on a holistic final mile approach and the benefits that come with it. In many cases, they create more problems for themselves by “half way” investing in something so vitally important, like final mile. Here are the advantages retailers can’t get by just relying on a software solution:
Professional drivers, in your location, at scale. We’re still some years away from tech-powered self-driving vehicles. Until then, successful recruitment, support, and administrative services (payouts, tracking, etc.) are essential to secure drivers when you need them, where you need them. Yet driving is just one aspect of this role. You need the driver-human element: people who are trained to represent your brand and your standards.
Responsive inventory management. Supply chain issues have wreaked havoc on managing inventory. Because of this, retailers need the flexibility to move existing inventory to meet demand more efficiently. A final mile operation needs to be responsive to internal operational needs, helping retailers move inventory where it’s needed–quickly. And, in doing so, help contain inventory costs by optimizing the goods already on hand. In an environment of rising interest rates and inflation, getting the most from your inventory investment means being able to respond quickly.
Data analysts. Premier final mile solutions employ experienced data professionals to offer insights about how retailers’ can make the most of their final mile logistics. While technology is the foundation, experience and expertise means knowing how to interpret data and put findings into action. That’s something that numbers and charts alone can’t do for you.
Local, regional and national experts. Having administrators on location to coordinate with warehouses and troubleshoot elevates the quality of service your customers receive. Local experts can handle questions and respond quickly to changing circumstances—facilitating a seamless final mile experience.
Technology is Powerful, But It Isn’t A Silver Bullet
Not every business has the resources of a multinational business to acquire an entire final mile company. Nor do they have the expertise to source new hires, run operations, and craft creative solutions if they attempted to create their own final mile delivery service.
Alternatively, seeking solo technology solutions may seem tempting, and many may promise easy success, executing a seamless final mile experience isn’t simply about investing in new software or adjusting a few internal processes. It’s difficult to create even a minimally acceptable final mile experience going this route. Thankfully, an affordable full-scale final mile solution is closer than you may think.
Before you spend money on technology that could be a very expensive long-term investment–diverting capital that could be spent elsewhere and have a better ROI–talk to an experienced logistics partner for comprehensive services at a competitive cost.
The Holistic Benefits of a Final Mile Partner
Most final mile partners already have an easily integratable and expertly managed software solution that gives you what you really want, the data. As a final mile delivery partner, USPack has the technology to provide our clients with end-to-end final mile solutions. Our Adaptive Delivery Driven Intelligence (ADDI) portal provides our clients with complete transparency through data capture and self-serve analytics. Clients can simply log onto the portal to view real time data on round trips, orders, and routed driver ETAs. It’s a final mile command center.
But most importantly, when comparing out of-the-box software vs. partnering with a final mile service partner, we also provide all five essential teams that go into successful final mile operations for logistics with a human touch. Our team of experienced business analysts optimize clients’ final mile operations, turning raw data into action plans to cut costs and increase customer satisfaction. USPack customer success managers learn the specifics of their customer’s business and their goals. Our network of local, regional, and national operations staff ensure the greatest possible service and efficiency for all deliveries. And, importantly, we offer sustainable independent driver sourcing in this tight labor market.
Technology is powerful and necessary when it comes to the final mile, but without the right people, experience, and expertise, operations can fall short. USPack provides final mile services that combine technology and a human touch for smooth operations, cost efficiency, and customer satisfaction.