Transportation visibility software is among the technologies required to enhance the last-mile delivery customer experience, says Bart De Muynck, chief industry officer at project44.
Everyone agrees that the supply chain has become more complex, but perhaps it’s De Muynck who has the most apt descriptive for it: crazier. “I think everyone's seen over the last few years that supply chain as a whole has become a lot crazier.” Regardless of terminology, last-mile delivery is affected by what’s going on in supply chain.
Not only has last-mile delivery become more complex, it has become much more costly to manage. And that can’t be done manually, he says. “Companies have started to realize they can't do it in a manual fashion. You can't manually serve the customer. You can't handle volumes by doing things manually.”
To quote De Muynck: “The delivery experience is the customer experience. It's all in the quality of the delivery.” You can’t afford to mess that up, because the customer will migrate to someone else. Having greater visibility into the process is key to success.
“I think what we've seen the last few years is that visibility has become a lot more important to knowing where an order is,’ De Muynck says. “That's become standard.”
He says visibility plays into many areas beyond tracking information. In pre-purchase, a customer needs confidence that a product is in stock and will be delivered on time. Visibility is key in post-purchase as well, he says. Twenty to 30 percent of products are returned. Visibility technology is indispensable from beginning to end, he says.
Companies need a firm business strategy behind planned technology investment, De Muynck says. That way they can pick the right technology and the right partners. “Don’t forget, it’s not just a technology play. We still have people and processes, and organizational and process changes have to be made.”
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