Mobile technology and the last mile of the supply chain


Mobile technology is becoming more commonplace in the supply chain. Alongside the likes of Big Data and autonomous logistics, its potential to improve our services is clear. Whether it be in the warehouse or on the shop floor, it allows for real-time updates from staff and more accurate insights into performance levels. There is one area where it still needs further implementation, however, and that is in the last mile.

Missed deliveries and having to organise returns of products back to depots is undoubtedly one of the most infuriating things for a consumer. Often due to factors as simple as bad traffic or a driver being unable to find a consumer’s address doesn’t make it any easier, wasting both time and resource for those involved. Mobile technology is a key piece of tech that we need to take more seriously to ensure this area of our work is improved.

With every delivery missed both the consumer and the distributor lose out. Customer satisfaction takes a hit, not only due to the initial annoyance at the fact their purchase hasn’t arrived on time, though also because of the unnecessary hassle it takes to rebook and organise for a time that suits the buyer. There is also the expense that lands at the feet of the distributor. In most case, the purchased item ends up back at their depot, after which there is the additional cost of processing the return and rescheduling another delivery. There is also the impact on brand reputation when deliveries are missed, resulting in a service in which no parties involved come out well.

Mobile technology is a tech that can help us improve our service over the last mile if implemented properly. The likes of nominated neighbours and various other backup delivery options, as well as apps associated with the last mile delivery, can help us provide a more efficient and accurate service. The ability to provide more information to both brands and consumers while the products are with carriers mean we can minimise failure, allowing users to manage their deliveries and amend elements such as where to drop off while they’re en route.

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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