Automation for Key Areas of Last Mile Delivery Process

Logistics Tech Outlook | Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Fremont, CA Last-mile technology will have to grow in tandem with parcel delivery, particularly in terms of automation. Otherwise, gains in efficiency and efficiencies elsewhere in the delivery chain could be cancelled out by wasteful, slow manual labor on the final leg of the journey. The way businesses deal with the entire parcel delivery chain is rapidly changing thanks to automation. Businesses of all sizes are deploying Internet of Things (IoT) devices to automate warehouse monitoring, RFID chips for automated transportation tracking, and sophisticated new warehouse management systems (WMS) with the ability to eliminate manual planning labor.

Businesses should invest in automation for the final mile of the parcel delivery process in the following areas to get the most out of technological advancements:

Invoicing and driver settlements

One of the reasons that last-mile prices soar so quickly is that labor is costly. Logistics businesses must compensate the truck and van drivers (also known as carriers) who transport their products from the distribution center to the customer's door. This may seem self-evident, but what's often overlooked is how the time and effort required to process those payments can lead their prices to skyrocket. This method not only necessitates a lot of human labor, but it's also prone to errors. There is a 5-6 percent error rate in freight invoicing, and driver and carrier settlement is likely equivalent. However, if a business can automate the collection of delivery data from SSDs, then it may easily automate the settlement process based on their various payment conditions.

Routing and dispatching

By definition, the last mile is inefficient. Even if a driver only has a few stops on the route, the number of possible permutations for those stops grows exponentially and becomes unmanageable rapidly. Then there's traffic, as well as how varied vehicle types, loads, and drivers affect drive time, customer tiers and delivery preferences, and so on. Simply put, if logistics providers route their deliveries by hand, they'll end up wasting endless hours trying to figure out which routes are the most efficient in terms of time, distance, and cost. With automation, on the other hand, companies can quickly compute efficient routes and send drivers for those routes. This not only reduces human effort and helps to cut expenses, but it also enhances warehousing performance.

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