Last-Mile Delivery: Overcoming the Challenges in India’s Diverse Geographical Landscape

Sanket Goyal

Last-mile delivery refers to the final stage of the delivery process, where goods are transported from a distribution centre or local hub to the end customer’s doorstep. The significance of last-mile delivery lies in its impact on customer satisfaction, operational efficiency, and overall supply chain performance.

Given the importance of last-mile delivery for a logistics company in India, businesses are increasingly investing in technologies, such as route optimization software, real-time tracking systems, and delivery drones or autonomous vehicles, to improve efficiency and meet customer expectations. By focusing on the last mile, companies can create a competitive advantage, enhance customer experiences, and drive overall supply chain success.  

The blog ahead discusses the challenges involved in last-mile delivery and how to deal with them. 

How Does Last-Mile Delivery Work?

Last-Mile Delivery is the last stage in the process and businesses need to make sure that this crucial stage is completed as quickly and efficiently as possible because it is the most important one in the delivery process. This is done to meet rising customer demand for express shipment, particularly in the e-commerce, FMCG, and retail sectors.

Challenges Involved in Last-Mile Delivery

1. The last-mile delivery’s estimation of arrival times is unpredictable

Most of the customers claim that having good customer service increases their likelihood of making further purchases. Customers need constant updates on the location and approximate arrival of their packages. Delivery delays reduce client loyalty, hamper the financial line, and negatively impact the brand image. The estimated time of arrival (ETA) of a product might be affected by warehouse congestion, poor road and traffic conditions, and improper routing.   

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A shipping company in India should associate itself with an established shipping aggregator like NimbusPost. With the power of automation, NimbusPost provides its users with timely deliveries and end-to-end tracking service thereby decreasing the RTO and increasing customer satisfaction.    

2. Poor route planning and optimization

A crucial factor in last-mile delivery that contributes to time and money savings is route planning. When done incorrectly, delivery is delayed and expenses increase. Many last-mile drivers take four to ten minutes or longer to locate the correct drop-off location. Furthermore, faulty mapping has been an issue for the majority of drivers resulting in increasing expenditures.  

Designing a route manually may take hours or even days. Due to their ability to calculate effective routes in just a matter of time, AI-powered route optimization systems are becoming more and more popular among businesses. 

3. Transport Volatility

The unpredicted port unloading or detention times, customs holdups, highway closures, accidents, bad weather, and more may all derail even the most meticulous last-mile delivery plans. A simple flat tire may have a snowball effect on a tight timetable when every second counts. It is simple to reroute traffic as well as to track and navigate dynamically using real-time data. This greatly aids logistic providers in determining when to implement a contingency plan.    

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4. Exploding expenses for last-mile deliveries

More than half of transportation expenses, which are always growing, are related to last-mile delivery. Transportation is a costly industry, and with rising fuel expenses and fleet management expenditures, last-mile delivery can become more expensive.

A logistics company in India must inculcate these steps into their regular practices to run their businesses smoothly. Customer satisfaction is an important aspect for any business to survive in the long run and it is immensely impacted by how last-mile delivery is done.

How to Overcome These Challenges?

1. Route optimization

Shipping and logistics involve routes, through which a product is delivered to multiple locations. Since these routes handle a lot of traffic, they need constant optimization and monitoring which can eliminate the chances of congestion and potential security breaches. 

2. Utilise auto dispatching

Auto dispatching, also known as automated dispatching, is a process in transportation and logistics management where the assignment of delivery tasks or jobs to drivers or vehicles is automated. It eliminates the manual effort and potential errors associated with manual dispatching, while also enabling better visibility and control over the dispatching process.

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3. Request delivery proof from drivers

According to market research, 56% of customers wanted the delivery procedure to be more transparent. A signature from the recipient or a picture of the parcel left at the door with a date and time stamp serves as proof of delivery, which is evidence that shows an item has been delivered.

4. Make more focused use of reporting

Reporting enables you to spot potential areas for development as well as bottlenecks and weaknesses before they become bigger problems. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, last-mile delivery is an essential link in the supply chain, and it must be prioritized to guarantee client loyalty and satisfaction. The last mile, however, presents several difficulties, including backed-up traffic, missed deliveries, poor transparency, and erratic demand.   

Fortunately, technological advancements like real-time tracking, route optimization, delivery drones, and autonomous vehicles provide several ways to get over these obstacles and expedite last-mile delivery.

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