The Challenges of The Last Mile & how technology can help
The last mile accounts for about 41% of total supply chain costs. That figure is expected to increase over the coming years as the ecommerce market continues to grow and both B2B and B2C businesses rely increasingly on deliveries. Businesses are increasingly turning to technical solutions to streamline logistics and increase efficiency throughout the supply chain.
Today, demand for freight deliveries is higher than ever before, but consumers have come to expect rapid delivery times. This means warehouses are sending out deliveries more frequently instead of batching them. There are more trucks on the road, with smaller loads. Shipping delays caused by weather issues, traffic congestion, and even issues like protests holding up major roads interfere with the ability of trucks to get to their destination. Lost or misdirected packages cost precious man-hours to track down. Late deliveries cost stores money, damage their brands, and can cause a cascading effect throughout the rest of the supply chain.
Technology can greatly improve the efficiency of last-mile logistics. The industrial Internet of Things arms warehouses, shipping companies and retailers with access to more information so that they can use the resources they have more effectively. IoT solutions can augment:
Using the Industrial Internet of Things, retailers and suppliers can have a constant awareness of stock levels, placing orders when stocks are low. Everyone involved in the supply chain can keep track of where packages are at any time, and also monitor the location of vehicles and drivers. This means it's possible to keep track of schedules, reroute deliveries if necessary, and manage driver schedules to ensure that they're not spending too many hours on the road each week.
Real-time tracking means businesses can make adjustments to their deliveries and be forewarned of delays. This makes it easier to cope with supply chain issues should they arise. Real-time updates facilitate faster and more accurate decision-making. End-to-end visibility means it's possible to track each and every product as it makes the journey through the supply chain, reducing waste, loss, and delays.
There are many other areas that supply chain technology can help with. Implementing these solutions need not be expensive either. Using NFC tags, QR codes, and commonly available tablet devices or smartphones, everyone involved with a supply chain can be kept informed of stock levels, shipments, and schedules.
At Semvar, we offer software engineering services for last-mile logistics and build solutions for the Industrial Internet of Things. Our bespoke solutions cater to the needs of individual businesses and help managers stay one step ahead of any potential disruptions that may occur. From handling "collect at store" pickups for consumers to small package deliveries or large shipments for major retailers and hospitality, IoT systems reduce confusion, cut costs and can make the whole logistics chain, including the last mile, much more efficient.