Last-mile deliveries under C-suite scrutiny

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by Emily Atkins

As costs rise and sustainability matters more to consumers, deliveries are catching senior execs’ attention.

Six trends are expected to influence how companies manage last-mile deliveries in 2023 and beyond. These include increasing attention from the C-suite; a focus on technology; sustainability; serving B2B customers like consumers; accuracy; and optimization.

“Post-pandemic economic realities and pressing issues, like climate change, are driving forces in business today and pushing accountability to the highest levels of leadership,” said Satish Natarajan, DispatchTrack co-founder and CEO in releasing the predictions.

“As a result, the C-suite is taking a much closer look at all aspects of their operations, with a new focus on how delivery directly impacts customer satisfaction, profits, and corporate social responsibility. With that in mind, there are some significant shifts on the horizon that will impact the logistics market, particularly the last mile, as we look to 2023 and beyond.”

The DispatchTrack CEO offered the following predictions.

The C-suite and boardroom are taking a keen, and direct, interest in last-mile delivery. Heads of logistics will increasingly report to the CEO as fulfillment joins sales and marketing among the most critical aspects of running a successful business. Not only will they report to the top, logistics professionals will also have a seat at the table and more involvement in the business strategy from the start.

Companies will re-evaluate their delivery technology with an eye to optimization and sustainability. As economic headwinds accelerate, supply chain organizations are facing growing pressure to do more with less, especially those grappling with staff reductions. They will seek out best-in-class software that can maximize cost-efficiency and scale up as demand grows.

B2B customers will expect a more B2C-like experience. Businesses, much like consumers, are looking for greater certainty and transparency when it comes to delivery. Organizations serving the B2B market must be prepared to meet precise delivery time demands and guarantee that products will arrive exactly when their customers expect them.

There’s been a lot of buzz around sustainability and companies are taking it seriously. Companies are looking to make incremental improvements year over year through actions such as reducing miles driven, decreasing trucks on the road, or adding electric or semi-electric vehicles to the fleet.

There will be a focus on perfecting the last mile, with an emphasis on accuracy. Delivering orders within a promised two-hour window doesn’t happen by accident or good luck, Natarajan said. To ensure that deliveries make it to the right place at the right time, logistics leaders will employ more sophisticated routing engines that leverage artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to drive greater accuracy, making delivery promises a reality.

Optimization becomes mission critical. PwC’s Digital Trends in Supply Chain Survey 2022 found that increased efficiency (63 percent) and managing or reducing costs (59 percent) ranked as the top two priorities for supply chain professionals over the next 12 to 18 months. In the current volatile market, successful businesses will find solutions that help delivery operations run more efficiently – despite the size of the fleet or number of drivers – while reducing costs and providing the best possible customer service.

We’ll see an emphasis on trimming waste and finding new efficiencies across the board, Natarajan said.