By Leigh Moody, UK Managing Director at SOTI.
In today’s increasingly competitive retail landscape, delivery times are becoming a crucial differentiator between brands and often a key factor for consumers when selecting a retailer to purchase a product from.
Consumers continue to seek instant gratification when making online purchases and ecommerce giants such as Amazon are driving increased expectations in terms of delivery times.
According to research by Deloitte, the wide majority (83%) of shoppers consider fast shipping to mean delivery within two days or less. As a result, people are no longer happy to wait days or weeks for their goods and next day delivery is now considered a standard, rather than a luxury.
With major disruptions to the UK’s roads, including adverse weather conditions, roadworks and even pesky potholes, logistics companies are now under more pressure to ensure customer demands are met. Last year the Beast from the East, which was deemed the most testing weather experienced in the UK for years, threw the country into complete chaos. Poor driving conditions prompted online supermarkets to cancel tens of thousands of orders and saw profits slump as a result.
It is safe to say that the British weather is getting harder to predict. This February saw temperatures peak at 21oC in London, England sparking a rush in for goods usually associated with summer. In fact, Asda saw sales of swimwear by its clothing brand, George, were up 19%, sunglasses up 27% and shorts up 150% year-on-year. Conversely periods of freak weather may prompt consumers to postpone certain purchases until later in the year.
Transportation and logistics businesses must ensure that they have an effective business mobility strategy in place across their entire supply chain in order to keep up with these increasingly challenging peaks and troughs in consumer demand.
Delivering visibility across the supply chain
Mobile devices and apps, when used in transportation and logistics, hold the key to visibility across the supply chain and help businesses keep up with peak demand. They achieve this by providing access to real-time asset visibility on everything from drivers, to vehicles and their cargo. Improved visibility from pickup to delivery is crucial for effective supply chain management and essential for reacting quickly to changing road and weather conditions.
By integrating an effective business mobility strategy across all devices and backend systems, organisations can improve efficiency, accuracy and timeliness across the delivery process. An effective mobile device strategy will provide insight, from confirmation scans of material being received at the hub or arriving at the depot, through to the state of mobile devices out in the field.
The ability to monitor and gain insight into devices used by drivers can also help companies protect their workers by locking down and limiting functionality of mobile devices based on vehicle speed. This could effectively limit the risk of distracted drivers and reduce potential accidents as a result.
Driving better customer experience
With customer expectations continuing to grow at a rapid pace, it is important to ensure that items are delivered on time, without delay. Real-time data enables accurate delivery times and provides a comprehensive overview of delays. Having access to these real-time updates and accurate information makes everyone happier: the shipper, the carrier and, most importantly, the customer, who now demands online tracking access to see their parcel’s whereabouts in real-time.
If organisations do not leverage an integrated mobile approach to improve the visibility, management, and support of their business-critical mobility, they run the risk of limiting their ability to swiftly respond to issues, which could directly lead to losses in revenue. By implementing an effective mobility strategy, transportation and logistics businesses can ensure consumer needs are met by having end-to-end supply chain visibility. With access to real-time insights, brands can minimise driver downtime and improve overall customer service as a result. Failure to do so could have a serious impact across the entire supply chain, and customers will be quick to turn their back.