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Are There No Perfect Deliveries?

by Aristides Smith  01/30/2018

Today's company leaders expect more perfection in product delivery efforts than ever before. Many retailers expect logistics professionals to do more with less: more shipments and more flexibility with fewer drivers and less notice. Deliveries can’t be too early because there's no space for extra inventory; however, they can’t be too late, either, as empty shelf space is a serious concern for sales and customer satisfaction. With stringent retailer requirements, tight delivery windows, and strict inventory demands, is there any way for shippers to achieve perfect deliveries?

Problems with a perfect delivery

Unfortunately, it's not always possible to deliver on customer expectations. Business leaders want a plethora of options, including quick delivery, but they don't necessarily want to pay for them. For example, they may demand tight delivery windows that do not account for partial loads or delays that can stand in the way before drivers ever reach their locations. Furthermore, driver shortages and regulations make it difficult for even the best-managed shippers to deliver individual trucks to every location — even if they want to.

The Amazon effect is also playing a role. Sporadic and unpredictable consumer purchasing patterns can often leave retailers scrambling to fulfill orders they don’t have on hand. This can cause a ripple effect throughout the entire supply chain from manufacturers generating rush orders to shippers creating workarounds for quicker deliveries. Similar to the way end consumers have come to expect quick turnarounds from retailers, many retailers have also taken on a want-it-now, need-it-now mentality.

Improving delivery performance

This urgency means that improving delivery performance is an ongoing process. First and foremost, it's necessary to address the structural inefficiencies causing initial problems. While time, traffic, and distance are more obvious factors logistics professionals must overcome, some critical issues with delivery include a lack of transparency, poor management, and poor processes, communication, and collaboration integration throughout the supply chain.

Embracing technology is one of the key solutions to improving and enhancing delivery performance. The right supply chain software can offer visibility throughout various stages and processes, enabling quicker, smarter decision-making. The right technology can offer real-time information, helping supply chain experts predict patterns, therefore, enabling them to create delivery strategies to best suit their needs. For instance, retailers can improve demand planning while shippers incorporate routing optimization. Using artificial intelligence and automation to gain insights and streamline operations can also substantially impact the way many handle their logistics concerns.

While perfect deliveries are still uncommon, there is an increasing number of options for improving operations. New technology is disrupting the ways in which logistics experts can deliver goods and meet goals — and the time to embrace it is now.

If you're ready to start transforming your process to ensure better delivery times, contact the experts at Next Generation Logistics, Inc. to learn more about how we can help.