In today’s world, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who is completely unfamiliar with last-mile logistics. Even if people may not know it by the name ‘last-mile logistics,’ they likely know what it looks like in practice. They order something online and get a tracking number for their package or notifications when their order is out for delivery. When there is a high degree of visibility in last-mile logistics, people are able to easily get answers to questions like:
- Where is my package right now?
- When will it arrive?
- Are there any delays that will affect expected delivery time?
People want the same level of last-mile visibility they get with their Amazon packages on everything they order. This type of experience has become ubiquitous and expected by consumers, but it’s not something that necessarily exists for everyone and everything. Achieving last-mile visibility can be a challenge for businesses – especially when dealing with decentralized, fragmented and sub-contracted logistics extending from 3PL to 4PL, even 5PL.
According to a 2020 report, over half of transportation and logistics companies in North America cited last-mile delivery as being the most inefficient process in the entire supply chain. Last-mile logistics can be very complex and expensive, so many companies turn to 3PLs for help. Working with a 3PL can come with many benefits, such as reduced overhead costs and the ability to ship faster and more efficiently, but it’s not without flaws.
Integration (or lack of it) is a common and critical issue when 3PLs are involved. Successful strategies for improving visibility hinge on integration across applications and information systems, but it’s difficult to achieve the necessary level of transparency when each 3PL has their own system and those systems aren’t always compatible and able to integrate. Or, while they might have visibility solutions in place, the technology may be outdated and unable to provide information like real-time updates or conditional information that may impact product quality. Or, in some cases, a 3PL might even be relying on inefficient manual updates that don’t provide all the information needed to see the full picture.
Strategies to Improve Last-Mile Visibility
What are the integration points with your business? How do you get them connected to serve last-mile delivery and have end-to-end visibility enabled with automated alert and notifications? With Bristlecone’s digital consulting services, we can help design and implement strategies that span a range of platforms and offer digital logistics solutions to help you reach your short and long-term goals. Contact us today to get started.