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Mobile technology and the last mile of the supply chain

Published date: 20/04/2018 11:02

Mobile technology, as well as the likes of Big Data and autonomous logistics, is becoming more commonplace in the supply chain. From the warehouse to the shop floor, it allows for real-time updates from staff and more accurate insights into performance levels. One area where it still needs further implementation, however, is in that all-important area of logistics; the last mile.

As any consumer will be able to attest, there are few things more infuriating than having a delivery to your house rescheduled or missed, resulting in products being sent back to depots and requiring rebooking. Missed deliveries are often due to factors as simple as the driver missing a deadline due to traffic or the consumer’s address proving difficult to locate, though this doesn’t make it any easier for the end consumer. We need to start taking extra steps to ensure that deliveries aren’t missed moving forward, and mobile technology is a key element of that.

With any missed delivery, there are always two sides that lose out. Firstly, the consumer. Customer satisfaction takes a hit, and it causes unnecessary hassle to have to rebook and organise for a time that suits them. Additionally, there is an expense that lands at the feet of the distributor. The product in question normally ends up back at their depot, following which they will need to process the return and reschedule delivery at another cost. Such scenarios are also detrimental to the brand, as customers turn away from such purchases if deliveries are consistently missed. In short, missed deliveries serve no involved party well.

Using mobile technology increasingly in our work is one of the most sure-fire ways to help mitigate this moving forward. We need to push the likes of nominated neighbours and other backup delivery options, as well as apps associated with the last mile delivery. They allow us to provide more information to both brands and consumers while products are with carriers to minimise failure, and they allow users to manage their deliveries and make amendments, such as the option to pick up elsewhere.

Encouraging the rise in use of such apps, both from the consumer and distributor involved, is key to cutting down on missed deliveries and maximise first time success. At Westcoast Retail, we integrate various apps into our services and are working with delivery companies to improve their usability and really prove their value to consumers. Once we have further investment from our side and increasing adoption from the consumers, mobile technology will help us further improve the success of the last mile.



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