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Last-Mile Delivery Best Practices: 6 Tips

Exploring the impact of the pandemic on last-mile delivery, emphasizing the importance of providing an exceptional last-mile delivery experience.

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The food and beverage sector has changed dramatically as a result of the pandemic and last-mile delivery. Some restaurants have had to close due to a lack of dine-in customers, while others have turned to online delivery until dine-in is available again. Some firms have abandoned their physical locations in favour of online alternatives for the first time.

Customers are linking your company’s reputation with the delivery experience they receive, as home delivery has become the standard. But, if you’re new to house delivery (also known as last mile delivery), how can you know whether you’re doing it correctly?

According to a 2020 McKinsey Global Survey, “companies have advanced the digitalization of their customer and supply-chain contacts, as well as their internal operations, by three to four years.” This is particularly true for companies who deliver to customers’ homes.

In this blog post, we look at how businesses create exceptional last mile delivery experiences for their consumers. How do you step up your home delivery game, especially if you’ve never done it before?

We’ll look at the following topics in this article:

  • What is the definition of last-mile delivery and how does it work?
  • Best practices for last-mile delivery for your business
  • How to make your team’s last-mile delivery methods more efficient

Table of Contents

  • What is Last-Mile Delivery?
  • Best practice tips for last-mile delivery for your business
  • How to make your team’s last-mile delivery methods more efficient
  • EasyRoutes last-mile delivery route planner

What is Last-Mile Delivery?

The act of conveying a product from the nearest hub or warehouse to its final destination, which can include both businesses and private households, is known as last mile delivery. Typically, businesses with a big fleet of delivery vehicles deal with this issue as an enterprise concern.

With the surge in demand for home delivery and the democratization of software, small business owners and operators may now not only manage this historically enterprise challenge, but but do it profitably – especially in the food and beverage industry.

So, in order to attain the greatest results, here are some best practices for your firm to follow.

Best practice tips for last-mile delivery for your business

More than just establishing a path is required for a good delivery experience. If that were the case, everyone would be adept at delivering goods to customers’ doorsteps. On the other side, companies who excel at distribution enjoy improved sales and happier customers.

#1 Make a detailed plan for each step of your fulfillment process

To keep the clients pleased, it all starts with proper planning. Everything from how you accept orders to how your warehouse is set up to how your routes are planned out and dispatched has an impact on how efficiently you can deliver products to clients.

It will help you retain high customer satisfaction ratings if clients receive their products on time. Making sure your fulfillment process is free of obstacles is a crucial step toward achieving that aim. The most successful companies have a system in place that allows them to collect orders promptly and prepare them for delivery.

Lay out your packages in the order they will be loaded into your delivery van, for example, according to your scheduled routes. As a result, if you’re traveling to points A, B, and C in that order, when packing, make sure the delivery for Point A is closest to the door, as your driver will be accessing it first. If you do this, your driver will always have the next box in the vehicle on the most accessible delivery path. This eliminates the need for your drivers to spend time on the road sifting through a few orders to identify the proper one.

A delivery management system like EasyRoutes might help you save time and money in this situation. Instead of doing it yourself, you can delegate tasks such as making packing lists and different delivery routes to EasyRoutes.

Another technique to help you fulfill orders faster is to print shipping labels after you’ve planned your routes. The labels will be printed in the correct order as a result of this.

When deliveries are organized efficiently, time, fuel, and driver salaries are all saved.

#2 Increase efficiency by optimizing your routes

As part of a small business, your team is always thinking about the bottom line.
As a result, cost-cutting is vital wherever possible. One of the simplest methods for home delivery companies to save money is to stop for extra kilometers. Increased fuel usage and delivery delays are frequently the result of these extra miles.

Using route planning software, you can verify that your drivers are following the most direct route feasible, saving money and time.

According to a Mapillary research, the costs of extra miles driven and wasted time total roughly $6 billion. According to the analysis, $2.5 billion is wasted on wasteful salaries, and $611 million is wasted on additional kilometers due to map errors alone.

Even before they get on the road, your drivers will realize the time savings. Manual route planning with pen and paper, physical maps, or online tools like Google Maps might take a long time. Especially if you have a large number of drivers and are continuously devising new routes.

When it comes to finding the optimum route, routing software can assist eliminate human mistake by taking into account aspects like traffic, road construction, vehicle size, and more.

#3 Find the right vehicles to fulfill your company’s requirements

Depending on the size of your delivery operation, you should look for the most efficient vehicles to fulfill your needs. Finding the correct cars can help you save money on gas while also reducing the amount of time it takes your drivers to complete their routes.

Adding to your financial burden by purchasing larger, superfluous vehicles is the last thing you need. It may result in lost space and increased fuel expenses. Consider purchasing a huge refrigerated truck. It’s wonderful, because it allows you room to grow, but consider whether you’re currently using all of that space. If the answer is no, you can usually get by with something smaller for the time being.

Larger delivery vehicles may waste a little more time on the road due to the detours they must take to fit under bridges, through tiny streets, or locate parking.

It’s also worth mentioning that the inverse is true. If your drivers’ trucks are too small for your current operation, they must return to the warehouse to reload before completing all of their deliveries. This is a waste of both gasoline and time.

These problems can be avoided if your trucks are set up to suit your delivery requirements.

#4 Improve your drivers’ efficiency by training them

Consider teaching your employees how to drive in a more eco-friendly manner. Reduce or restrict idling time, drive at a slower speed, and work to stay to a timetable are all examples of this.
EasyRoutes helps drivers be more efficient.

Incentives for drivers with the lowest miles per gallon, the safest driving records, or the most precise deliveries for a certain time period, such as a quarter, are some practical approaches to implement these improvements.

Keeping your drivers pleased by employing effective driving techniques can improve morale and increase profits.

#5 Be in charge of the entire process from beginning to end

Some companies outsource their last-mile delivery services to third-party companies. It makes sense because it might relieve you of a lot of stress. It may, however, highlight some weaknesses and blind spots in you and your business.

You have no visibility into where your products are or when they will arrive at their destination once they leave your facility when a third company oversees your deliveries, for example. This implies that if a customer is dissatisfied with a late or missing order, they will contact you – and you will be unable to answer. Everyone is irritated by this.

Consider taking full control of your last-mile delivery needs from beginning to end. This will allow you to avoid inefficiencies and ensure that this expensive procedure is handled by someone who genuinely cares about your business.

#6 Communication with drivers and consumers via technology

The best last-mile delivery services for your home maintain contact with both their drivers and their customers.

Maintaining open lines of contact with your drivers will help you resolve any difficulties that arise while they’re on the road. If there are any disagreements or miscommunications about delivery details, having a channel of communication with the dispatcher is crucial. It gives your drivers the assurance that they are not alone and that they can count on you for assistance.

Customers will be happier if you keep in touch with them, and you will receive fewer phone calls asking where their orders are. In this case, customer notifications come in handy.

How to make your team’s last-mile delivery methods more efficient

Without going too technical, route planning software exists to handle the Vehicle Routing Problem (VRP), which is the capacity to plan and optimize routes based on time or distance while considering a range of limitations. It quickly becomes hard, which is why we use computers and algorithms to solve the VRP and maximize our last-mile delivery.

Algorithms, on the other hand, are not all created equal. Some algorithms take a long time to complete but yield outstanding results. On the other hand, other algorithms analyze data quickly but produce sub-optimal outcomes. It all relies on your company’s top priorities.

The most essential message here is that route planning software is critical for last-mile delivery optimization. If you don’t have it, you can wind up wasting a lot of time and experiencing a lot of headaches.

You should utilize route planning software before delivering orders to ensure that you or your drivers are using the most efficient route. Both time and money will be saved as a result of this. Your deliveries will be faster and more efficient thanks to route planning software. You’ll have more time to focus on other elements of your business as a result.

EasyRoutes last-mile delivery route planner

Are you looking for a smart way to plan your route? EasyRoutes has been selected as a Shopify Staff Pick twice. It has a good reputation, is well-supported, and provides free trials and plans for companies of various sizes.

Visit Roundtrip.ai for additional information. EasyRoutes is also available to download from the Shopify App Store by clicking the button below:

Get EasyRoutes on the Shopify App Store

About Roundtrip

Roundtrip's mission is to equip every business with the software tools they need to deliver products to their customers in a delightful way. Thousands of worldwide choose EasyRoutes to power their local deliveries across dozens of product categories, from meal kits and groceries to coffee, cupcakes, kibble, and so much more. Our easy-to-use route planning and delivery optimization app is certified Built for Shopify, a two-time Shopify staff pick, and the top rated local delivery app on the Shopify App Store.

"I was surprised to find EasyRoutes so easy to incorporate into my business. I didn’t skip a beat from switching over from Google Maps to this more advanced program that gave me everything that I needed and more for myself and my customers. It’s hard to imagine a better logistics company than EasyRoutes because everything is there."
Drink Juice Co.
Juice delivery in Canada 🇨🇦
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