Last-mile delivery is complex. It’s a challenge that shippers and carriers worldwide are battling every day. Will my deliveries reach my customers on time? How do I know which route is the shortest and the fastest for my deliveries? How do I manage my fleet? How can I keep track of all my deliveries?
The solution to all these queries and various other challenges associated with last-mile delivery is quite straightforward: make a strategic investment in a robust last-mile delivery technology solution.
However, the million-dollar question is how do you take the next step? How do you buy a last-mile delivery technology that best fits your needs and requirements? It’s a pressing concern that weighs heavily on the minds of many industry leaders.
Buy vs Build
Before companies dive into implementing last-mile delivery technology for their business, they must carefully consider whether building their own or purchasing existing technology makes the most sense.
Shippers and carriers can choose to build a last-mile delivery technology if they have the financial resources and technical expertise to do so. Creating something from the ground up also needs time. Additionally, the process does not end once the in-house last-mile delivery technology is implemented. The IT teams responsible for these systems must ensure that they are regularly updated and maintained.
For many companies, however, building software is not part of their core competencies, and existing solutions in the market make more financial and operational sense. Purchasing last-mile technology nearly always guarantees faster deployment times and reduced capital expenditure. Further, companies that specialize in last-mile technology development are more likely to customize solutions and adapt to changing technologies more quickly
Key Considerations for Choosing the Right Last-Mile Delivery Technology
Once shippers and carriers decide that they want to invest in buying a last-mile delivery technology, they must consider the following factors before making their selection:
Scalability: The last-mile delivery technology must be flexible enough to adjust to the business needs of the shippers and carriers. An adaptive last-mile delivery technology will ensure that companies can not only smoothly handle their current volume of deliveries but also easily scale up when there’s an increase in delivery volumes.
Integration capabilities: Can your last-mile delivery technology effortlessly sync up with your existing systems? Consider how well the last-mile delivery technology can integrate with your existing systems, such as order management, inventory management, and customer relationship management (CRM) platforms. Seamless integration can streamline operations and is the key to improved efficiency.
Customization options: Evaluate whether the technology can be configured according to your business goals and specific requirements. For example, as a shipper, you may need a white-label last-mile delivery service. Or maybe you need tech that is specifically built for efficient big & bulky last-mile deliveries.
Real-time tracking and visibility: Tracking and visibility are one of the most important components of any last-mile delivery technology. Look for features like the ability to monitor driver locations, estimated arrival times, and notifications for customers. Such features enhance transparency and improve customer satisfaction. They help shippers and carriers in identifying gaps in deliveries and taking proactive measures to fill them.
Route optimization and planning: Check if the technology offers advanced algorithms for route optimization and planning. Efficient routing can help reduce delivery time, and fuel costs, and improve overall productivity.
Driver management tools: Consider whether the technology provides tools for managing and optimizing driver assignments, scheduling, and performance tracking. These features can help streamline driver operations and improve productivity.
Analytics and reporting: Last-mile delivery technology must act as a repository of all the data involved in making deliveries. It should have in-built analytics and reporting capabilities. It should provide insights into delivery performance, metrics, and trends. This data can help identify areas for improvement and inform strategic decision-making.
Customer support and training: Customer support is critical when buying a last-mile delivery technology. The technology providers must provide adequate support to set up the system and once this has been done, they must resolve any technical issues that happen. Shippers and carriers should make sure their staff receives thorough training to handle future challenges effectively.
Cost and ROI: When selecting a last-mile delivery technology, companies must carefully assess the associated costs. These expenses typically are upfront payments, subscription fees, and potentially renewal charges as well. Shippers and carriers must calculate the potential return on investment (ROI) of the technology.
Future-proofing: Technologies get outdated and quickly become obsolete. When investing in any last-mile delivery technology assess the technology provider’s commitment towards regular updates and innovation. An up-to-date last-mile delivery technology is the first step towards greater efficiency, seamless operations, and enhanced consumer experience.
The last-mile delivery market is brimming with technology that can help improve delivery operations. Shippers and carriers need to comprehensively evaluate the most suitable last-mile delivery technology to enhance their operations and meet their customers’ expectations.
About the Author
Jorge Lopera has over 15 years of global logistics experience in senior roles encompassing customer growth, product management, and strategy. As Vice President, LATAM & Industry, Jorge is responsible for FarEye’s expansion into the LATAM region, overseeing commercial and operational activities including sales, account management, and channel & ecosystem partners. Jorge serves as FarEye’s industry expert, contributing to major publications and supporting analyst relations.