No, it’s not your imagination. Customer expectation for instant gratification has reached epic proportions and continues to rise! Gourmet meals cooked to order are delivered on-demand to busy professionals in towns all over the world. College kids with late night hankerings for fresh-baked cookies satisfy their cravings thanks to the 90-minute delivery promise of their favorite treats! And when bad weather strikes, any number of online retailers will gladly deliver a pair of new boots to your door within just a day or two.
In today’s marketplace, there’s a good chance your customers are shopping daily for the goods and services they need using mobile devices which allow for immediate order placement. As a smaller outfit without the warehousing, shipping or routing resources of an Amazon type outfit, you may be wondering how you can possibly remain competitive. Perhaps, like many companies, you’ve gotten this far manually managing your delivery routes. And by now, you’ve probably realized that even under the best circumstances and with the most talented dispatchers and planners, not every detail can be accounted for. Last minute requests come up. Delays happen. It simply isn’t possible to predict every variable that affects timely delivery. And as your business grows, so does the demand. No matter how you slice it, premier last mile delivery presents unique challenges, especially if you’re adding to your fleet, increasing your territory and in general taking on more orders.
So, how do you balance customer needs (and wants) with the costs and resources necessary to meet them?
There’s no doubt that speeding up your supply chain when and where possible is going to benefit your business. The on-demand economy is booming and your customers will expect you to be a part of it. But the true value of offering such services and exactly how you incorporate them is unique to your business — a determination that must be carefully weighed. To figure it out, you must consider how disruption to route planning, inefficient use of resources and high costs could ultimately impact your bottom line. Most companies can’t afford to guarantee premium delivery on every order. But most can improve their supply chain enough to accommodate some such requests.
With Mixed-Demand, It Doesn’t Need to be All or Nothing!
Even taking the inherent challenges into account, you can still up your company’s last mile delivery game! Begin thinking in terms of a Mixed-Demand approach and the possibilities—and solutions—will become clearer. In a nutshell, Mixed-Demand allows you to:
- Incorporate a blend of planned orders with on-the-fly orders
- Build in flexibility for unexpected events and on-demand services
- Know accurate cost implications of each delivery service option
- Maintain transparency at all times in the supply chain
With these targets in mind, there will still be times when converting new customers takes heroic delivery efforts on your part. By the same token, there will be other times when clients will decide that paying extra to receive a product faster simply isn’t worth it. As long as the variables (cost, delivery time, etc.) remain transparent, you will be poised to provide a great customer experience while maintaining sanity among your team members.
Adding a solid route planning software solution, like WorkWave Route Manager, will help you craft an excellent Mixed-Demand model and boost your business’s last mile delivery performance. It will give you 360 visibility (in real time) into exactly what’s going on with your orders, deliveries and more—something that just isn’t possible with manual processes in place. WorkWave Route Manager software is specifically designed to meet the needs of route managers/planners, operations professionals, dispatchers and more with features that improve planning and allow professionals to accommodate last minute requests without disrupting the entire flow of their supply chain. It truly does take the pain out of route planning, creating flexible and driver-friendly route plans in minutes. All of this leads to happier customers and more efficient internal operations.
So, whether you’re running a big business or small, delivering auto parts or fresh bread, a Mixed-Demand approach can work for you! Don’t get left behind. Don’t get frustrated. Get more information on a route planning solution that can work for you.
Read how you can start meeting customer demands in our recent whitepaper: “Mixed-Demand: Meeting Same-Day Expectations Profitably in the Last Mile”.