To get more insight into these challenges and business drivers, Bringg asked logistics and transportation leaders where they are focusing the last mile operations today and their key priorities and challenges for 2022 and beyond. What are the key takeaways?
Connectivity is the missing link for managing last-mile delivery at scale.
As logistics networks expand, logistics providers can no longer afford a fragmented, disconnected last mile. Shipper onboarding and integration top the list of last-mile operational pain points for all respondents (44%), followed by visibility into outsourced delivery partners (44%) and carrier and driver management (41%). More than half of providers (54%) believed that business analytics across all carriers would provide them with a competitive advantage. Improving integrations and delivery performance with external carriers will rely on a strong, connected last mile ecosystem that can deliver accurate, real-time data across all resources and systems.
Local last mile and returns services set to become a competitive edge
68% of respondents either already offer same-day delivery or will do in 2022, which will differentiate between providers who offer same-day and those who do not. Returns as a capability is also growing, with 34% of logistics providers offering returns capabilities already and a further 30% planning to offer them within 12 months. Moreover, 27% of logistics providers said that offering returns and pickup services is one of their top strategies for increasing business through last-mile operations. This number jumps to one in three among North American logistics companies. With returns volumes and the subsequent cost to shippers growing, offering returns services will become increasingly important as a differentiator for logistics and transportation providers.
Real-time visibility and automation a focus for logistics providers in 2022
Logistics providers prioritize visibility and automation across delivery operations and stakeholders to enable greater delivery experiences for end customers and the efficiency to operate more profitably at scale. 87% are already using technology for real-time visibility, or plan to by 2024, while 90% say they will be live with automated dispatching and routing within the next two years. The top blocker to greater last mile profitability among respondents was overwhelmed customer service support (26%), which can be mitigated by offering automated self-scheduling capabilities and providing consignees and shippers with real-time visibility into order status and location.
More efficiency needed to increase profitability at scale
As logistics providers continue to scale their operations, the rising costs of managing high delivery volumes is an acknowledged concern. 38% struggle with driver retention and 40% are significantly raising driver wages to meet this challenge. However, logistics providers need to focus on achieving greater efficiency with existing resources by digitizing and automating their delivery operations to remain competitive and reduce delivery costs.
Better delivery experiences will drive last-mile revenue growth.
Shippers are increasingly looking to deliver five-star customer experiences, and logistics providers recognize this, with a clear focus on growing profitability through better delivery experiences for consignees. The top strategies for driving business are shortening delivery windows (47), offering faster deliveries through automated dispatch and routing (45%), and providing real-time tracking (42%).
Logistics providers struggle with managing multiple carriers.
While adding more headcount and more carriers was a short-term solution to scaling capacity, logistics, and delivery providers now need to look for a long-term solution that prioritizes efficiency. For example, 41% of providers say managing multiple carriers is a top pain point, and 18% claim it is the top blocker to more profitable last-mile delivery. This number grows to 25% for North American companies. These advanced technologies will help companies get smarter about managing contracted fleets, adding efficiency that supports greater driver retention while supporting delivery of higher delivery volumes at speed.
Looking at how companies plan to meet sustainability plans in the short term (over the next 6-12 months), the #1 plan is to batch orders for greater density (43%), reducing mileage and carbon emissions. Other plans include increasing vehicle efficiency with automated routing (42%) and digitized paperless delivery experience (40%).