Delivery performance can make or break your customer’s experience with your brand. You can have the best customer service and easiest buying process – but if the delivery is late or the item arrives damaged, that’s what your customer will remember. According our most recent survey, Last Mile Delivery Wars, 73% of customers will not return after just one poor delivery experience.
Costs are constantly on the rise, too – so it can be a delicate balancing act between investing in good delivery partners while keeping within tight budget restraints. But this balance between cost, speed, and customer experience can be managed with a few tweaks to your logistics management.
Building A Strong Delivery Network
Creating a fluid logistics network begins much before your trucks get moving. As transportation costs and consumer demands rise, it’s imperative for both logistics teams and supply chain teams to think about how to balance cost, speed, and experience even before they structure their carrier RFPs. [Download our free freight RFP template here.]
Many shippers in Convey’s network use carrier diversification to their advantage. National carriers may have name recognition, but smaller, regional carriers cover smaller geographic areas and can often get shipments delivered faster. They also may deliver at lower cost than the big national carriers.
This is especially true in remote areas, where a regional carrier may have better coverage thanks to their more localized focus. This means faster transit time, and may mean lower-cost next-day and two-day delivery for your customers.
Expanding your carrier mix can also help protect you from fluctuations in the last mile market. Events like business closures, high-volume network congestion during peak season and Amazon Prime Day, or labor strikes can have a huge impact on customer experience. A strong carrier mix can protect you from the dangers of being impacted by a negative event.
Take Advantage of Zone Skipping
Zone skipping (consolidating your parcel or freight loads, shipping them across multiple regions with no stops in between, and injecting them into the local destination of delivery) allows you to take advantage of regional rates and speeds up your shipping times.
That faster shipping is crucial. In our last delivery survey, we found that shoppers valued shipping speed With Amazon Prime offering two-day or faster shipping on almost anything, customers have become less patient about waiting for their orders to arrive. If you’re using a shipping method that requires your shipment to go through sorting in each zone it crosses, it will be difficult or impossible to keep up.
By using zone skipping, you can avoid all of those sorts and speed your shipment to its destination in time to delight your customers.
Ditch the Spreadsheet
The first step in improving your delivery performance is to understand where you are now. However, in a survey conducted jointly with EFT, we found that connecting disparate last mile data was a top concern for supply chain leaders — 66% said this was their toughest challenge. CSCMP and Adelante SCM conducted a survey which found that 67.4% of supply chain managers still use Excel spreadsheets to collect their delivery data.
But this attachment to the old ways of doing things means that it takes longer to grab important information. If a customer calls in a delivery exception, your customer care team has to hunt down tracking and carrier information – and this gets even trickier if they have to get ahold of the carrier to find answers.
A spreadsheet also doesn’t help you standardize the wide variety of data points you collect – such as emails, bar code scans, shipping pages, tracking pages, truck telematics, and mobile device updates. Without being able to see all of these updates in one place and in real-time, you can miss early warning signals that could help you avoid customer problems. [Read more about why silos can cost you customers.]
By switching to a solution that connects all of their disparate data, companies can reduce their response time by up to 77%. When Grove Collaborative made that switch, they were able to resolve more than 110,000 exceptions in a month.
Benchmarking Key Logistics Network Optimization Metrics
Performing a periodic logistics network analysis helps you make adjustments as necessary. Here are a few important metrics to watch:
- Cost per shipment. Different carriers report different data, so you’ll need to compare costs across different service levels and service types to get this number.
- Perfect order percentage. For this one, track the number of deliveries made on the date quoted to the customer, with all items intact.
- Transit time. Measure your delivery days by service level – this metric helps you compare carrier performance so you can improve on-time delivery.
Understanding your key benchmarks and tracking carrier performance in real-time and over time can help you get a holistic understanding of your carrier network’s strengths and follies. It can also help you ensure your carriers are staying true to your standards of delivery. For example, one Convey customer, a high-end DTC furniture brand, used Convey’s data to create dashboards analyzing less-than-truckload (LTL) transit time and on-time percentage and pinpointing pain points within the network. After sharing these dashboards with the carrier, the brand improved its on-time performance by 4.6%. [Read the case study.]
If your delivery performance could use some help, these tools can up your game – all while keeping your costs manageable. By choosing the right mix of tools, you’ll make your customers happy and improve your bottom line.