Technology in support of final-mile delivery is advancing at a rapid pace. Mike Powell, chief technology officer with SEKO Logistics, traces its evolution and offers a glimpse into the future.
Technology for optimizing final-mile delivery today consists of “a whole host of things that make up a solution,” Powell says. It’s all about “streamlining the customer experience to make things easier and bring down friction.” And that requires beginning with the actual delivery, then working back from there and setting expectations throughout the journey.
When it comes to service, one might expect that the e-commerce shopper simply wants it fast and cheap. Powell says it’s more complicated than that. Not every order requires two-day service, he notes. The buyer of a mattress, for example, is less concerned about speed of delivery than the quality of a “white-glove” experience, including simultaneous haulaway and the right people on site to do the job.
Final-mile technology consists of more than a single application that can manage orders all the way from factory to the doorstep. In reality, it’s made up of multiple systems that must integrate smoothly to optimize the final-mile delivery experience, including receipt of order, physical delivery, management of exceptions, communication with the customer when necessary, and visibility into that entire process. “It all comes down to optimizing the data to build the best routes, and the most efficient ways of getting product to the consumer,” Powell says.
The customer’s demand for shipment visibility can vary as well, from the promise of a fixed delivery date to wanting to know precisely how far the delivery truck is from the house, he says.
Retail today is evolving, Powell says, and there’s a need to merge e-commerce with traditional store activities in a coherent offering for the demanding consumer.
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