Last-mile delivery for manufacturers: how an ERP system can help
The importance of ecommerce and last-mile delivery for manufacturers in 2023 cannot be understated.
With the rise of Amazon, next-day delivery, and the ability to track orders through the entire fulfilment process, customer expectations have been fundamentally transformed.
Now it is commonplace for customers to expect automated updates on the status of their order, receive accurate delivery times and be able to view their package in real-time.
And why wouldn’t they? Accurate, up-to-date information allows them to anticipate deliveries, plan subsequent actions and improve relationships with their own respective buyers.
Manufacturers now need to step up to these expectations or risk losing out to more ambitious and organised competitors that use new technologies to put the power back into their customers’ hands.
To do this, you’ll need to tackle a chronic order-fulfilment challenge for many modern manufacturers: last-mile delivery.
What is last-mile delivery for manufacturers?
Last-mile delivery comes at the very end of the order-fulfilment process and is when the product is moved from the shelves to a delivery van, and finally into the hands of the customer.
Numerous pitfalls can occur at this stage, from items lost in transit to traffic delays or poor prioritisation from drivers – all of which can affect relationships with your customers.
Thankfully modern ERP systems such as Epicor Kinetic have a range of features that improve visibility during this phase, giving you control and allowing you accurately state when orders will arrive with the customer.
Here are just a few of the areas that your new ERP system can be harnessed to improve last-mile delivery for your business.
How an ERP system can improve last-mile delivery capabilities
Last-mile delivery services are made possible by technologies such as mobile devices, ERP software and real-time data.
But what benefits can you and your customers expect from investing in an ERP system?
Real-time updates for customers
By putting mobile devices into the hands of your delivery staff that are in turn connected to your centralised ERP system, customers can begin to benefit from improved order tracking.
The ability to see where an item is in real-time, along with the understanding of when an item is due to arrive in their hands, allows buyers to estimate arrival times with greater confidence and accuracy.
In turn, better accuracy of forecasts improves relationships between suppliers and customers at all ends of the chain.
Customers are more likely to choose your services and stick with them if they can rely on you to deliver when you say – and this is chiefly done by giving them the ability to see the last-mile delivery phase in real-time.
Improving last-mile deliveries with data analytics
By giving your delivery staff modern technologies that allow them to update their progress in real-time, you can begin to collect data on all areas of the final delivery phase and improve processes going forward.
Data relating to delivery times, delays and driver routes arms you with information needed to improve current processes and make positive changes.
For example, data analytics can reveal flaws in driver prioritisation, traffic hotspots to be avoided or the accuracy of your current forecasting.
Understanding you long an order really takes to get from your warehouse to a specific part of the country can allow you to alter forecasts and improve accuracy.
The knock-on effect of improving the reliability of your last-mile delivery process is faster overall delivery times.
Modern ERP systems harness artificial intelligence that can analyse data to improve delivery routes, prioritise delivery based on urgency and respond in real-time to changing customer demands.
By investing in technologies that refine last-mile delivery processes, you can not improve customer relationships with better accuracy and visibility but also make delivery times faster with better routes and improved prioritisation, boosting your bottom line.
There is nothing more delightful to a customer than a product that arrives on time and in excellent condition, and improving your last-mile delivery service is fundamental to achieving this.
Companies that can achieve this are likely to benefit from returning business and increased sales.
Are you looking to improve the last-mile delivery capabilities within your business? Our expert consultants can take you through how Epicor Kinetic ERP can help. Just follow the link here to start the conversation.