December 07, 2022 | Supply Chain Strategy Blogs
The dynamic nature of the logistics industry implies that a one-size-fits-all approach cannot be implemented in the functioning of the supply chain. What fits all irrespective of the kind, size and type of supply chain is – visibility.
In recent times, the pandemic and the Ukraine-Russia war have disrupted global supply chains. They have left enterprises with no choice but to reengineer their supply chains for better visibility and smarter systems to avoid delays and risks from unexpected events.
Enterprises are focusing on last-mile visibility to improve delivery time, enhance customer experience and respond to any unexpected incidents quickly and in real time. End-to-end visibility is an essential component in the optimized functioning of the supply chain.
Complete visibility across the supply chain is now a hygiene requirement for enterprises. Last-mile visibility holds a key position because disruption in last-mile delivery from lack of visibility can adversely impact business operations.
Therefore, last-mile visibility is very important for enterprises. It helps them evaluate and take well-informed decisions during expected as well as unexpected situations.
Some of the common challenges in last mile include:
One of the key challenges in last mile visibility is to maintain transparency throughout the delivery process — from transit to final delivery. With the rapid growth of ecommerce and online transactions, customers and companies want to stay informed throughout the delivery process. Achieving transparency is a challenge with the huge number of stakeholders involved at each step of delivery, but there’s also a scope to improve and emerge stronger and smarter.
Another challenge faced in the last mile is missed schedules and delivery deadlines due to lack of visibility and unexpected situations such as damage to goods or wrong product in transit. Furthermore, there could be instances where companies are unable to resolve issues related to delivery of goods and/or services in transit due to lack of visibility and insights.
Right communication at the right time with stakeholders such as truckers, warehouse managers, store owners and the customer can be a great move toward addressing last mile visibility challenges. An optimized last mile delivery system supported by the latest technology solutions is essential to obtain complete visibility of the supply chain and better manage inventory and fleet operations.
Some of the key features that companies should look out for when choosing a supply chain visibility software include:
In a bid to identify and reduce the risks in supply chain operations, it is imperative to have optimized, real-time, end-to-end supply chain visibility as part of the digital transformation journey.
Key benefits of last-mile delivery are:
Last-mile visibility enables fleet owners and companies to have improved control over their fleet movement across countries and continents. With technology enablement, readily available insights into the delivery journey further make it easier for companies and channel partners to prioritize delivery and accordingly make changes in the schedules as well as plan their inventory and warehouses. The full visibility approach helps optimize the asset and resource management tools and the route access.
A higher level of automation being now a prerequisite for end-to-end supply chain visibility, there are fewer human errors and manual tasks in the entire process. This helps in doing away with the paperwork and related delays and makes the entire process more responsive and intuitive.
Last-mile visibility can play a key role and help companies gain access to real-time information about the package, which in turn can enable them to take immediate action on issues arising enroute the delivery of goods and services. The higher engagement of new-age technologies such as AI, ML and big data can improve asset and resource management, and in turn, lead to higher margins and profitability.
Last-mile visibility is all about creating one unified single source of data that is transparent and real-time, bringing all stakeholders on the same page with one single motive of on-time delivery with the least amount of delay and risk.
In the times to come, supply chains would likely be defined by visibility more than the levels of the process and touchpoints. It would be smarter, AI-led and insightful with purposeful data fetched for a defined, conclusive outcome.