Consumer requirements have changed. Today, most shoppers want their orders to arrive at their doorsteps on the same day or even the same hour, whether it is a hot meal kit, fresh food, groceries, clothes, or furniture.
According to a report by Temando, 80% of shoppers surveyed want same-day shipping and 61% want their packages even faster (for example, within one to three hours of placing an order). According to another study (by Oracle Retail), 13% of shoppers never shop at a retailer again if a delivery was not on time.
So, running a faster and more efficient home delivery operation is critical for your business to be sustainable and grow.
But, how can you make that happen? We discuss five strategies below and the way to implement them.
1. Reduce Communication with Drivers en Route
What if you had to pick up a call, while engrossed in some important work? Won’t it mess up your momentum and concentration? The same happens to your drivers.
The more your drivers need to communicate (whether it’s through a call or text) with you, while en route, the more sluggish and distracted they will be. And, distracted driving won’t be good for them too. According to the CDC, around nine people are killed each day due to distracted driving. And, each year, more than 300,000 accidents which are caused by texting while driving lead to severe injuries, according to another report.
However, there might be times when you need to communicate a sudden change or update to your drivers. For example, when a customer reschedules his or her delivery time or amends the delivery destination. So, it’s important to have a system in place to communicate seamlessly, without affecting your operation and drivers too much.
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2. Plan Accurate Routes
Before dispatching your delivery vehicles, your drivers need the best routes that cover all the stopovers in the least amount of time, with the least amount of hindrance, and in the most cost-effective way.
This is easier said than done. You need to analyze historical details, such as which route takes more time to cover, the average time taken per stop, and weather data, to create a route that will be more efficient and frictionless.
The manual route planning process, using pen and paper, is time-consuming and can never be accurate. Things could also turn out messy if you need to do vehicle routing and scheduling for multiple stops, drivers, and vehicles.
So, advanced technology solutions are needed to automate your route planning and provide optimized routes for your drivers.
3. Keep the Customers Updated about the Delivery Status
Don’t you hate waiting, especially if you don’t know how long you have to wait? We all do. And, so too do your customers.
You cannot expect your customers to be ready and waiting all the time to receive their deliveries. Yet, if a customer is unavailable when the delivery is being made or is late in accepting the delivery, it will break the chain. This would mean your drivers would either need to make the same delivery again (costing you more time and money) or, if the customer delays accepting the delivery, it will mess up your other delivery timelines too. Can you afford that to happen?
So, you need to always keep your customers in the loop. Try to incorporate methods whereby you can inform customers when the delivery vehicle is in his or her vicinity. In this way, the customers don’t have to wait the whole time to receive their deliveries.
4. Focus on Improving Warehouse Operations
Fixing on-road routing problems alone will not always speed up deliveries. A problem with your warehouse operations could also cause delayed deliveries. For example, thoughtlessly arranged load distribution can slow your drivers down, regardless of how efficient their routes are. Arranging optimal loads is a solution here.
Similarly, in a warehouse setting, there are many moving parts to deliver items. So, make sure your warehouse managers, loaders, and dispatchers work together to understand the drivers’ route in advance.
5. Automate Check-in and Check-out
Paperwork is time-consuming. So, your drivers shouldn’t carry paper logs to record and maintain arrival and departure times. That’s just a time-killer.
The amount of time it takes to check-in may seem tiny for you to even worry about. Yet, if you manage a large number of vehicles and drivers, the minutes really add up. Consider the following: If you have 100 drivers who each visit around 100 locations every day, you’ll save about 55 hours daily by letting your drivers check-in automatically.
If you plan routes manually, you cannot implement automation. So, you need an advanced technology solution that will automate the check-in and check-out process to cut down the driving time and let your drivers make more stops without hassles.
How Can You Implement These Strategies?
One answer: You need technology solutions. You can either opt for multiple technology solutions or go for an all-in-one advanced delivery scheduling software like Route4Me that comes with the following features to help speed up deliveries.
Route4Me comes with Dynamic Route Optimization™ technology that helps plan well-optimized and accurate routes while factoring in multiple constraints (such as traffic, weather, sunrise and sunset times, load, weight, and one-ways) in just 30 seconds. This means your drivers will never get stuck on the road or need to call you up for details and will instead make deliveries faster than ever before.
An advanced route optimizer comes with a GPS tracking feature that helps you monitor your drivers and vehicles on the road in real-time. So, if a driver gets stuck due to unanticipated circumstances, such as a vehicle breakdown, or makes unnecessary stops, you will know about it immediately and can take corrective action to speed up deliveries.
An advanced delivery route planner comes with geofencing technology that helps you set up automatic alerts whenever a driver arrives or departs from a customer location. This means your drivers don’t need to carry paper logs which reduces the time spent at each stop and means they can make more stops.
Route4Me comes with a customer portal that helps your customers track the status of their deliveries on their own. This means your customers will always be available and you don’t need to worry about failed deliveries as you’ll have improved the first-time door opens. This will speed up your entire last mile delivery process.
Customer Alerting and Notifications
Route4Me’s route mapping software also comes with a customer alerting and notifications feature which helps you send notifications through email and SMS to your customer whenever a driver delivering the package for him or her is near the dropoff location. Also, Route4Me comes with a Next Customer Notification feature that automatically notifies customers when they are the next stop to be visited on an active route. These alerts enable customers to prepare for your drivers’ arrival, which will help you avoid delays and stay on schedule.
But, that’s not all. There are many other powerful features offered by Route4Me, such as:
- Reporting and analytics to monitor performance and expenses
- Speed alert to keep a check on aggressive driving
- eSignature for proof-of-delivery
- Pick-up and drop-off optimization to make your pick-up and drop-off route planning process seamless
- Driver breaks that help you reduce driver fatigue and improve productivity
- Re-optimization that helps you re-optimize routes instantly
So, how do you speed up home deliveries? Do you have any questions? Please feel free to leave your comments below.