Optimizing the Last Mile with automated logistics

people in an office talking infront of laptops

Many shippers are working on optimizing internal logistics processes—tendering, freight rate management, order placement, time management and reporting—so that all runs smoothly thanks to automated, fully integrated workflows. But what happens after the truck leaves the yard? There is often a lot of manual work involved in optimizing last mile delivery that opens up further potential for shippers, which can result in lower costs and better customer service outcomes.

Reduced processing costs for shippers and carriers

The digital supply chain usually ends in the carrier's dispatch office. That’s where shipping documents are printed and handed to the driver in paper form. He is prompted to send regular status messages by phone or SMS, and to report delays—all of which require enormous discipline. Additionally, some freight carriers use Telematics systems, but these only show the processes of the individual carrier and do not ensure communication with the shipper.

A mobile order management system can facilitate simpler and more efficient processes. The drivers are linked via mobile technology and thus extend the supply chain all the way into the cab of the truck. This ensures that manual processes, such as telephone calls, e-mails, and printing and scanning of paper documents, can not only be digitized, but also automated. Processing times can be greatly reduced or even completely eliminated. Overall, the process costs can be reduced by up to 95% for the shipper and by up to 70% for the carrier.

 Manual logistics processes Automated logistics processes

Location queryCalls between customer, shipper, carrier and driverShipper’s dispatcher can view location online and immediately provide the customer with informationStatus reportPhone calls between customer, shipper, carrier and driver to request status information; manually update status messages arriving by telephone or SMSDriver issues status messages via mobile terminal, status messages are automatically updated in the ERP systemShipping papersPrinting, paper-bound processing, scanning, shipping, assignment to data setDigital shipping papers are available in the system in real timePaymentPaper-based exchange of loading equipment (packing slip) delays payment by three to four weeksDigital documents for ex-change of loading equipment facilitate immediate paymentDamage documentationExpensive, frequently no documentation at all, high rate of queries, possible disputesTransparency due to photographic documentation, low query rates

Comparison of manual logistics processes and logistics processes digitized using a mobile order management system

Reliable measurement of key indicators when optimizing last mile processes

In addition to reliable support for the transportation process, automated systems also improve the database for reporting. A manual process documentation, such as status messages by SMS, always leads to inaccuracies. Was the truck really late or was the text just delayed? With a mobile order management system, however, all relevant data is measured in real time. These factors allow shippers to reliably benchmark key figures, such as carrier punctuality or delivery performance for individual customers.

For more information on how to use a mobile order management system to optimize your logistics processes, please download "Digitalizing the supply chain with mobile order management," our guide on optimizing last mile delivery.

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