New Articles

Navigating The Last Mile: Capacity Planning in Today’s Supply Chains

locus last-mile delivery locus report

Navigating The Last Mile: Capacity Planning in Today’s Supply Chains

79% of respondents surveyed consider last mile delivery as very or extremely important in providing a competitive edge.

OH – FRAYT, the last mile on-demand delivery and logistics platform, today announced, has released a new report titled, “Navigating the Last Mile: Capacity Planning in Today’s Supply Chains.” The report is based on a survey of 95 supply chain professionals who are directly involved in last- and middle-mile operations. The report provides valuable insights into the challenges, strategies, and trends shaping the future of last mile delivery.

As the global retail landscape continues to evolve, last mile delivery has emerged as a critical element of the customer experience. The rapid expansion of e-commerce and the “Amazon Effect” has heightened consumer expectations for fast, efficient delivery. Businesses that meet these expectations are gaining a competitive edge, and the last mile has become a key point of differentiation.

The report highlights the differing interpretations of “last mile,” which range from order placement to delivery, dispatch to delivery, and pickup to delivery. This variation suggests a need for businesses to consider expanding their definition of last mile to enhance operational efficiency. A more comprehensive view could reveal opportunities for improvement that might otherwise be overlooked.

The survey also underscores the importance of innovation, technology and customization in last mile delivery. Businesses are investing in new technologies and offering personalized delivery options to meet the evolving needs of their customers. Options such as specific delivery windows or locations are becoming increasingly popular as businesses strive to provide a standout delivery experience.

“The last mile is often the final touchpoint between a business and its customers, leaving a lasting impression,” said Jim Waters, Vice President, Marketing at FRAYT. “The findings of our report underscore the vital role of last mile delivery in today’s shipping and delivery landscape. As businesses continue to navigate this complex and rapidly changing environment, we are committed to providing them with the tools they need to thrill customers.”

FRAYT’s report, “Navigating the Last Mile: Capacity Planning in Today’s Supply Chains,” is now available for download on the company’s website.


FRAYT is a last mile on-demand delivery and logistics technology company that offers businesses professional, reliable on-demand shipping through an intuitive web platform, API and mobile app. The company has over 13,000 drivers in over 50 markets across the United States, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. For more information, please visit



Route Optimization Key to Unlocking Efficiencies and Cost Savings in the Last-Mile

Last mile delivery is the final and often the most crucial stage in the logistics process, as it involves the transportation of goods directly to the end customer. This practice is highly challenging due to the need for quick delivery times and the increasing demand for same-day and next-day delivery options. Look at the ‘Amazon effect’ and the stress it has placed on shippers to provide speedy delivery to consumers.

To meet these time demands, route optimization has become a critical component of last mile delivery operations. From e-commerce to food delivery, the last mile of delivery can make or break a company’s reputation. This is where route optimization comes into play, revolutionizing the way delivery operations are managed.

One of the biggest challenges faced today is the unpredictability of traffic and road conditions. Route optimization software uses real-time traffic data to provide accurate and up-to-date information about traffic conditions, enabling delivery companies to adjust their routes in real-time to avoid traffic congestion and delays. This can significantly reduce delivery times, improve on-time delivery rates, and ultimately improve customer satisfaction.\

By leveraging more efficient routes, delivery companies and shippers can reduce fuel costs, increase delivery speed, and improve customer satisfaction.

Three Key Benefits of Route Optimization in Last Mile Delivery

1. Strategic Route Planning

Companies that specialize in delivering goods and services on a regular basis must optimize their routes to ensure that their fleet capacity is used efficiently while meeting the service level agreements (SLAs) of repeat customers. To achieve this goal, static route planning based on historical delivery data can be a valuable tool.

Static route planning involves creating a fixed schedule of delivery routes that are optimized based on historical delivery data. This data includes information such as delivery frequency, package size, delivery location, and delivery time. By analyzing this data, companies can identify the most efficient delivery routes and schedules to maximize fleet capacity and reduce delivery time.

The use of historical delivery data allows companies to predict the volume of orders and deliveries that will be required in the future, which helps them plan and allocate resources accordingly. This approach also enables companies to identify areas where they can optimize their delivery routes and reduce unnecessary driving, fuel consumption, and carbon emissions.

2. Dynamic Route Optimization

Unlike static route planning, which involves creating fixed schedules of delivery routes, dynamic route optimization involves creating optimized routes in real-time based on changing circumstances.

Dynamic route optimization allows companies to identify the best route/driver/vehicle combination for each delivery, based on factors such as delivery location, package size, and delivery time. By analyzing this data, companies can identify the most efficient and cost-effective route, driver, and vehicle combination for each delivery. This in turn, reduces delivery time and cost.

Dynamic route optimization also allows companies to respond quickly to changing circumstances, such as traffic congestion or unexpected delays. By adjusting delivery routes and schedules in real-time, companies can ensure that non-recurring one-time orders are delivered on time and at the lowest possible cost.

Dynamic route optimization helps companies improve their customer service by providing more accurate delivery estimates and real-time updates on delivery status. By using advanced analytics and machine learning algorithms, companies can predict delivery times and provide customers with accurate information about when their packages will arrive. Identifying the best route/driver/vehicle combination in real-time makes way for a reduction in delivery time and cost, improvement of customer service, and an edge against competition.

3. On Demand Optimization

To efficiently handle unexpected orders, businesses should invest in a powerful on-demand optimization tool that can quickly and accurately re-route drivers to meet new delivery requirements. This is where AI-based route optimization tools come into play.

On-demand optimization tools use real-time data from the field, such as GPS tracking, traffic updates, and delivery information, to make the best possible decisions for each new order. By analyzing this data, the tool can quickly identify the most efficient route for each driver, taking into account factors such as traffic, weather conditions, and delivery urgency.

The solution can also greatly refine response time to unexpected orders, ensuring that last-minute deliveries are made on time and at the lowest possible cost. Dynamically re-routing drivers lets the tool minimize driving distances and time, reducing fuel consumption, and vehicle wear and tear.

Exceptional Adaptability is Possible through Advanced Technology

The success of any delivery strategy depends largely on considering the unique circumstances and challenges presented by the delivery location and type.

For example, when delivering to customers along a busy highway during peak traffic, an optimization solution should prioritize delivering to the farthest location first and work its way back against the traffic. This approach can help to minimize the time spent in traffic and reduce the risk of delays. Conversely, when delivering to suburban areas where the delivery locations tend to be more spread out, it may be more efficient to focus on the shortest distance between stops in order to save on fuel and minimize travel time.

By carefully considering the specifics of each delivery scenario, businesses can develop effective strategies that maximize efficiency and ensure timely, reliable delivery to their customers.

While route optimization technology is not new, its adoption has been relatively slow. Thankfully, there is a growing realization among businesses that route optimization can significantly fill the well known gaps in the field.

The hope for those in the supply chain space is that by using this technology, the industry will drastically improve their overall productivity. As the last mile delivery market continues to grow, route optimization will become increasingly important for companies looking to gain a competitive advantage.

Gururaj (Guru) Rao is the Chief Executive Officer of nuVizz, a leading network-based last mile delivery management & route optimization SaaS platform with a mission to connect all transportation from the First Mile to the Last Mile, and enable businesses to orchestrate the movements using state of the art AI and ML Technology. The nuVizz platform hosts more than 2000 companies, 35000+ active drivers & supports more than 50 million transactions.

locus last-mile delivery locus report

Why Enterprises Must Prioritize an End-to-End View of Last-Mile Operations to Remain Competitive

Amidst a massive surge in online purchases and heightened consumer expectations, last-mile logistics operations have been thrust into the spotlight for company executives like never before. Organizations across the world have finally taken note of just how critical this function is in enabling enterprise-wide success and – on the flip side – how detrimental it can be to bottom line results if mishandled. 

In an ever-evolving and hyper-competitive e-commerce landscape, Last-Mile – the last leg of fulfillment to reach a customer’s doorstep – has also become the face of the modern customer experience and a way for retail brands and the CEP and 3PL providers delivering their packages to differentiate themselves from competition, delight customers, and keep them coming back for more. As one of the most complex pieces of the overall logistics puzzle, it’s become another facet that executives are doubling down on to ensure seamless, highly efficient delivery experiences.

But while many are integrating and adopting technology that streamlines last-mile execution, not all have leveraged a 360-degree, comprehensive view of exactly where their company’s weaknesses or opportunities lie. In fact, most are adapting almost blindly in a guessing-game of where to prioritize their resources to bolster their strategies and drive ROI. It’s putting businesses at greater risks none can afford today. 

In order to minimize this friction, companies should take more critical and holistic stock of their current last-mile ecosystem, including several key pillars that enable tangible success today and in the future:

Last-Mile excellence

Undoubtedly the trickiest and most costly portion of the delivery journey, the last-mile has the power to transform logistics operations and improve repeat business rates. Thus, taking a critical look at how this function is running and the major challenges companies continue to face in their delivery processes is key. 

For instance, asking questions like: how confident are we in our ability to handle spikes in demand? Are we constantly combating unpredictability in the Last-Mile that we can’t adapt to? Are we looking to provide speedier deliveries than we’re currently able to handle? 

Companies today that aren’t consistently using optimized or automated delivery route planning strategically are likely to answer yes to the above. They’re often at a severe disadvantage than counterparts that are. And the reality is that any attempt at manual efforts today will be wrought with unnecessary hurdles, human error, and risk, especially in the face of high volumes during the peak seasons. Utilizing dispatch management software, for instance, can help automate every stage of fulfillment with secure applications and seamless integrations. This also allows the applications to communicate with each other and use the same data so that systems are in-sync even (and especially) when real-world constraints throw a wrench into original plans. 

In order to maintain that competitive advantage and keep final-mile logistics running efficiently and effectively, industry players need to take full advantage of the technology at their fingertips, including advanced analytics, machine learning, AI, and more, or they’ll lose out. 

Exceptional customer experiences

Because Last-Mile fulfillment deals with customers directly, it’s vital in shaping their view of the entire purchasing experience. For many, it dictates whether they’ll purchase from a brand again. 

It’s incredibly important to evaluate whether customers are actually satisfied with the updates they receive on their order status and the timeliness of their deliveries. If the feedback is consistently negative, and a company identifies major gaps in this area, it’s only a matter of time before it catches up with them. 

An efficient last-mile system can help manage, track, and schedule deliveries, and emerging tech like AI and ML can anticipate needs and constantly adapt to changing environments in real-time. Additionally, implementing a customized slot-based delivery system into current operations and displaying multiple delivery slots will lead to a more convenient delivery experience for customers and more directly satisfy their desires. By prioritizing real-time tracking and a high level of transparency, businesses can drive greater value and less friction for customers. 

An empowered workforce 

As labor issues continue to plague the logistics sector, organizations must understand that drivers are at an all-time premium and will have no issue jumping ship to work with an enterprise where they feel set up for success and long-term growth. And while customer experiences are high-priority, without engaged, productive, and capable talent to make those deliveries – the customer experience aspect will undoubtedly suffer. 

Companies should constantly assess the health and wellness of their drivers to ensure continuity. How important is it for your drivers to sustain optimal levels of productivity?

Do they have all of the tools they need to succeed on routes and have greater predictability in their day-to-day execution? Is there a feedback loop in place for open, candid communication that ensures their voices are heard if they’re unsatisfied or need more? 

At the end of the day, most drivers just want to feel like they can do their best work under what has become incredibly stressful conditions. Without taking account of the onboarding processes in place, the resources and solutions that eliminate resented unknowns, and the incentives from employers to do a job well-done, last-mile operations will struggle to excel. 

Upholding sustainable promises 

A recent report from MIT indicates that 23% of brands face pressure from investors to improve their end-to-end supply chain sustainability. Not only are brands facing pressure from investors, customers are also seeking out companies committed to sustainable business practices and the environment. This function is no longer a “nice-to-have” today; it’s business-critical to remain competitive and profitable. 

Enterprises must therefore prioritize sustainability across the entire fulfillment chain. From a technology standpoint, this includes factoring in carbon emissions when planning daily routes and using the right tools to optimize those routes and reduce the number of miles driven, ensure optimal load capacity, and minimize reattempts or failed deliveries that contribute significantly to carbon emissions. 

From an operational standpoint, companies should also consider utilizing micro-fulfillment centers and bring them closer to consumers, as well as parcel lockers that reduce carbon emissions. They should also invest in EVs, and other tactics that save on greenhouse gas emissions and reduce a businesses’ overall carbon footprint.

Above all, sustainability should be a top strategic pillar for every organization today and be seen as a win-win-win for organizations, customers, and the general public.  

Harnessing the power of advanced analytics

With the help of advanced analytics and deep intelligence, brands, retailers, CEPs, and 3PLs have the opportunity to leverage these technologies to become more efficient and make better informed decisions across the board. AI and ML have the power to transform final mile operations and give leaders that coveted 360-degree, end-to-end view of their logistics practices. 

Prioritizing such visibility can streamline Last-Mile operations, increase customer satisfaction, contribute to sustainability efforts, and allow leaders to make better decisions for the long term health of their business by leveraging large volumes of on-ground data.

Achieving this sort of visibility however, particularly in the Last-Mile operations, is undoubtedly no easy feat. Nonetheless, it has the power to revolutionize all facets of a business, giving an upper hand to those who take this challenge, helping them to achieve a competitive edge, become profitable, and enable delightful consumer experiences at scale.  

Author Bio

Nishith is the CEO and founder of Locus and drives business strategy and innovation at the company. He is responsible for business expansion across geographies and heads operations globally. Prior to founding Locus, he worked with Amazon, building algorithms to counter credit card fraud. He also co-founded PinChat, a location-based conversation platform.

Nishith holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics and a Master’s in Economics from BITS Pilani. He is a published author in the field of experimental physics and has patents in Machine Learning.

How Route Optimization Benefits the Pharmaceutical Industry?

How Route Optimization Benefits the Pharmaceutical Industry?

The timely transportation of lifesaving drugs is detrimental to the pharmaceutical industry’s success. Pharma companies work on clinical trials and advanced research that requires drug delivery and storage options. Even the slightest mistake during the logistics process may seriously delay the delivery and impact both Pharma companies and their customers. On top of that, pharmaceutical companies are currently struggling with the logistics process. As the most crucial element, Last-mile delivery services are impacted due to a multitude of factors. It seems that the most efficient solution to this problem is route optimization. Here is how route optimization benefits the pharmaceutical industry and potentially may solve all major issues.

Last-mile delivery services complexities and problems

There is an array of global logistics issues for the Pharma industry. The most common ones include the following:

  • supplying cold-chain Pharma products;
  • non-refrigerated supplies;
  • safety guidelines for geographically varying distribution;
  • truck capacity limitations;
  • the global shortage of drivers;
  • increased needs for special storage requirements;
  • complex emergency security measures;
  • the change in temperature;
  • no visibility over the logistics processes;
  • difficulties regarding sudden On-Demand deliveries;
  • unpredictable traffic jams;

These are just some of the issues that happen during the last mile delivery services. With that in mind, here is how route optimization may contribute to Pharma companies and solve these issues on a global scale.

Plan flexible delivery schedules

When delivering drugs to Pharma companies and various establishments, one of the most valued resources is time. Shipment must be delivered without delays because that creates a lack of trust. Any issues with the delivery usually happen because there is no flexibility in planning the traditional routes.

Some Pharma companies, like nursing homes, require emergency deliveries, which is where flexible route planning comes into place. It is essential to prioritize and always deliver shipments with higher priority first.

Deliveries of pharma shipments involve many costs due to various shipment needs. As mentioned, some shipments require refrigerated trucks, special storage units, temperature control, and increased driver awareness. On top of that, commercial warehousing costs also come into place. Failure to accommodate these conditions might lead to discarding medical supplies worth a lot of money.

End-to-end technology plays an essential role here because it allows full visibility of the route planning process. That is the best approach to avoid these problematic situations due to non-flexible route planning. With the right technology system in place, you will have real-time status on all vehicles, allowing more control over fleet management and operations.

Route optimization reduces wasteful transportation costs

Over 80% of different types of drugs and 90% of vaccines require temperature-controlled storage during the delivery process. Many costs are involved in maintaining such a complex shipment delivery. Last-mile delivery managers and drivers hold a great responsibility for delivering these products.

If we compare that type of delivery with common goods, we can notice a difference in the price of delivery. Transportation trucks for the pharma industry require controlled room temperature systems, refrigerants, insulated containers, thermal blanketing, and various devices for monitoring temperature. That is why traveling from the storage to the customer needs to happen fast. Otherwise, the companies will lose money on failed shipments and discarded medical products.

Sudden on-demand deliveries benefit from cost-efficient route planning with route optimization software. The system will auto-adjust routes in an emergency and ensure timely delivery to reduce wasteful transportation costs. Furthermore, it also tracks transportation costs, giving you full visibility of your expenses.

Workload distribution is essentials

Another common issue in the pharma industry is uneven workload distribution between multiple trucks. When an urgent delivery happens, a truck must be quickly packed and sent to the delivery address. In case of a poor planning process, the truck will go half empty, while others might be overpacked. This will seriously affect transportation expenses due to fuel costs and potential maintenance issues with trucks.

Furthermore, when planning delivery routes for the entire fleet, the lack of visibility in the workload distribution process might cause additional expenses. All trucks must have proper workload distribution to ensure timely delivery to all locations.

Another reason for this issue is the shortage of experienced delivery staff. Whether we are talking about the drivers or delivery planning managers, this represents a serious issue in logistics. Limited driver capacity must have an unlimited number of requests.

Moreover, not all trucks are suitable for deliveries that require temperature control. If all trucks with the temperature-control system are on delivery, other shipments will have to wait until a truck is free. Routine optimization software can solve these complexities because it ensures even workload distribution. It automatically assigns work and calculates the routes based on driver shortage, traffic conditions, outside temperature, truck capacity, various risk zones, and so on.

The system provides optimized routes in such a way that they do not involve additional costs or any human error. Furthermore, if the plan of the route changes, the system quickly recalculates the next best route.

Route optimization benefits the pharmaceutical industry in many ways

The entire pharma industry depends on the transportation and distribution processes. Advanced technology for route optimization benefits the pharmaceutical industry and ensures on-time urgent deliveries. Furthermore, it reduces unnecessary labor, fuel, and visibility costs and maintains the quality of the last-mile delivery services. The entire future of the pharma industry dramatically depends on route planning and route optimization software.

Author bio

Lester Martens is a professional blogger and content creator for Bright Futures Treatment Center. He has a huge passion for researching advanced system technologies and project management. Lester aims to help both small and large businesses to ensure the quality of service.

e-Commerce: Last mile delivery india profit 8fig amazon logistics

Protecting Your Cargo from Costly Last Mile Delivery Mishaps

E-commerce hasn’t slowed down since the boom experienced at the onset of the pandemic. Statista predicts online shopping to grow 56% over the next four years, and Insider Intelligence believes it will make up 22.3% of total retail sales worldwide by 2023 — now just around the corner.

The growth in online shopping has had a huge impact on customer shipping expectations. From the moment they check out to the second they see the product on their front doorstep, customers expect a fast and seamless purchase journey. With  75% of online shoppers concerned about their orders being stolen off their front doorstep this holiday season, you need to ensure your shipping process is streamlined and painless. Last mile delivery is the final step in assuring that efficient experience. 

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always go according to plan. According to Loqate, 8% of first-time deliveries fail in the U.S., and 68% of businesses say a failed or late delivery is a “significant cost” to their operation because they then must pay to redeliver the product, or offer the customer a refund or discount. 

This can happen for a variety of reasons. Many shippers struggle to overcome crowded streets or ports, lack tools to track shipments or communicate with other stakeholders, and face snags they can’t anticipate because they don’t have enough visibility into supply chain workflows.

Last mile delivery is becoming more complex and dynamic with increasing customer demands. If shippers are unable to provide tangible solutions, disgruntled businesses will turn to other options. Shippers need to effectively protect cargo, ensure a seamless delivery process and save money during last mile delivery, which accounts for 53% of total shipping costs. Let’s take a look at some ways your business can successfully mitigate costly last mile delivery mishaps. 

Invest in technology 

Technology is the key to improving supply chain management and avoiding problems during last mile delivery. It helps shippers increase efficiency and effectively thwart off any potential issues by providing greater visibility. 

Real-time delivery tracking is a game changer when it comes to protecting your cargo. It allows customers to see precisely where their delivery is at any point within the logistics process, putting them in the driver’s seat. DispatchTrack says 90% of customers want the ability to track their order, but only 66% of customers were able to do so. 

While giving the customers greater insight, technology integrates all management systems so you can quickly spot any issues that might be going on with a delivery. DispatchTrack found that six in 10 consumers are unlikely to purchase from a retailer again when a previous order misses the scheduled delivery window, so having greater visibility into deliveries gives you the opportunity to get ahead of the problem and solve it — before the customer ever knows something was wrong. 

Optimize communication capabilities

As supply chain disruptions continue to wreak havoc, you need to be able to communicate with customers the moment an issue arises. 

Technology platforms allow for customizable and automated notifications to tell a customer when a package is out for delivery. This lets the customer plan accordingly, cutting down one of the most costly and persistent issues: missed deliveries. 

If the delivery needs a signature and the customer isn’t home, that package is sent on the costly journey back to the shipper. Loqate says 63% of consumers have dealt with a missed delivery, and failed deliveries cost U.S. businesses over $193,000 last year. 

If the customer isn’t home and the package can be left at the front door, it could be damaged by the weather or stolen by porch pirates. Improving communication capabilities is critical to ensuring this doesn’t happen.

On top of that, you need to make communication with logistics experts easily available and accessible. DispatchTrack found that half of consumers blame negative delivery experiences on poor communication. For customers and businesses alike, having ready access to a team of experts can mean the difference between a long, complex logistics experience and a smooth shipping process. 

Find reliable logistics partners 

With online shopping orders only growing, you must be able to distribute the increasing shipping workload that comes with it. 

The Customized Logistics and Delivery Association (CLDA) and the Transportation Intermediaries Association emphasize the need for third-party logistics (3PLs) and last mile delivery fleets to work closer together so you give customers a “seamless delivery experience on the scale of Amazon.” Collaboration allows critical needs to be quickly solved in the first, middle and last mile of supply chains. Penske and NTT Data found that 71% of shippers say using 3PLs has also contributed to improving their customer service.

Many fleets in the last mile sector belong to the CLDA, which has a “Find a Delivery Partner” service on its website that shippers and 3PLs can use to find last mile partners for delivery needs across the country. Utilizing a reliable logistics partner to deal with those short last mile deliveries allows you to focus on other important operations to scale your business.

It’s imperative that last mile delivery is a smooth, efficient experience for the customer, and mitigates any costly issues on your end. Investing in technology for greater visibility on shipments, improving communication capabilities and outsourcing reliable logistics partners will help you save money during last mile delivery and keep customers happy throughout the holiday shopping rush.


THE FINAL FRONTIER: Tips For Last-Mile Logistics Success

Last-mile delivery (also known as final mile) is the area of transportation management that focuses on getting packages through the last leg of the shipping journey in the supply chain: from a transportation hub to its final destination. That final delivery destination is most often a personal residence, although sometimes it can be a commercial business.

Why is Last-Mile Delivery So Important? 

Last-mile logistics has become a popular area of interest for e-commerce businesses due to the growing demand for integrated omnichannel fulfillment and the on-demand culture of online shopping. The speed and efficiency of an e-commerce brand’s shipping is a key differentiator. Businesses are now required to get products to doorsteps as fast as possible to stay competitive. 

Here are the top four ways to improve your last-mile delivery capabilities. 


There are many differences between freight providers. Very simply, they can be divided into two categories:

  • asset-based freight carriers (FedEx, UPS) who own all their equipment and infrastructure and are responsible for packages from end-to-end. 
  • non-asset-based carriers (DHL, Pitney Bowes) who do not own all the infrastructure to get packages all the way to the end-customer; they hand packages off to USPS or other regional carriers to finish the “last mile.”

How these providers handle the last mile comes with significant benefits and drawbacks. The three main perks of asset-based carriers include:

  1. Price and quality consistency. By managing the entire shipping journey, asset-based carriers have more reliable service which leads to higher levels of customer satisfaction.
  2. Greater transparency in tracking. With an asset-based carrier, there will be no hand-offs (except for UPS SurePost and FedEx SmartPost), so the tracking is all under one company.
  3. Multiple services offered. Asset-based carriers are more likely to provide multiple types of services, like drop shipping, intermodal freight, and integration with a 3PL.
  4. Increased speed. Since asset-based carriers may “handoff” their packages to another provider, their processes can increase the speed at which they are delivered.

Some benefits of working with non-asset-based providers include: 

  1. Lower overall costs. Generally speaking, non-asset-based carriers won’t need to charge you extra to pay for the overhead costs of infrastructure and gear. They don’t have as much and in turn their base transportation fees may be a bit leaner.
  2. Specialized services. Some offer services that other, larger carriers may not, including but not limited to white glove delivery, bulky items, alcohol and firearms, or custom delivery solutions.


Knowing the ins and outs of the service you choose will help you better understand how your shipments are getting to customers.

For example, there are some exceptions to the division of asset-based carriers. Both UPS and FedEx have services—SurePost and SmartPost respectively—that use USPS for some or all their last mile of delivery. This needs to be considered if you want the continuity of a single carrier taking your package the entire shipping journey. 

The two factors that should determine the shipping service you choose are your product type and your customer needs.

  • Product type will drive the weight and dimensions of your packaging, which are key factors in shipping costs. 
  • Customer needs will determine shipping service needs in the following ways: where customers are located (rural areas will require special service types), speed of delivery (will your customers expect a delivery immediately?). 

Other aspects of shipping that you’ll want to consider include Saturday service, special handling, or signature required. 


That last mile is all about your customers. And what do customers want the most? They want to know where their order is and when it will arrive. Here are a few ways to enhance your customer’s experience:  

  • Shipment tracking. Work with a carrier that excels at tracking. There will be anomalies, but they should be rare. Some third-party companies can set up automated emails to go real-time to your customer when their package hits certain milestones, such as Order Fulfilled, Shipment En Route, or Shipment Out for Delivery, etc.  
  • Give accurate predictions. By tracking the average delivery transit time of your carrier throughout the year, you can give your customers better predictions for their delivery window. For example, as e-commerce volume has skyrocketed, shipping carriers have struggled to keep up with demand. 
  • Simplify your shipping options. No matter the shipping service you use (overnight, two-day, ground, etc.) or the strategy you employ to incentivize buyers to smash that “Order” button (free shipping, expedited shipping, etc.), the number one factor in keeping your customers satisfied at checkout is clear communication. The same goes for returns—make them super easy to execute. 
  • Make it personal. If you can focus on improving delighting your customers with a memorable unboxing experience (quality fulfillment, branded packaging, cool inserts, and Instagram-worthy flair) then they may forgive any shipping delays. It’s no guarantee but depending on your audience it could work for some. 

Another important delivery metric you shouldn’t look past is your carrier’s claims ratio. Before signing a contract with a carrier, it’s important to know how often they deal with claims. These are filed by end-customers when their package is lost, stolen, mishandled, or broken. If your carrier’s claims ratio above 1%, that’s a red flag and you should look elsewhere for shipping service. If you frequently ship LTL, claims come into play more often than other types of freight shipping.


The last-mile delivery service you choose will determine how your customer receive your products. This is a huge factor in customer service and satisfaction. Here are the major considerations when deciding on the last-mile service you choose: 

Customer Service – Who will hand your package off to the customer? Some last-mile delivery options include crowdsourced services like Postmates and Uber. How will it affect your brand if that delivery person is rude? You entrust a lot with the last-mile carriers, make sure it’s the right fit for your brand. 

Branded Boxes – What’s your number one priority for your customer’s experience. Do you want brand recognition on each doorstep? Or are you okay blending in with the other brown boxes? If you outsource last-mile delivery to a company like Amazon, your products will be fulfilled in Amazon branded packaging. If this is a deal-breaker for you, there are other options that will allow you to customize your packaging. 

Consider your fulfillment strategy when choosing your last-mile delivery service. If direct-to-consumer is your main fulfillment strategy, you’ll need to get your last-mile strategy straight as it will really affect your customers. With retail and B2B fulfillment, there is less of a need to focus on the last mile.

Author’s Bio

Brian Tu, chief revenue officer at DCL Logistics, brings more than 20 years of sales and operations experience and now leads DCL’s sales, marketing, IT, and client service areas. He joined DCL from the digital media industry, most recently from Medium, where he ran their revenue operations business.

DCL Logistics provides hassle-free fulfillment for high-growth brands. Their 40 years of operational expertise make them the top provider for household name brands such as GoPro, Magic Spoon, Therabody, Cisco, and many others. Their full suite of fulfillment services allows brands to scale without sacrificing flexibility, quality, or customer satisfaction. Learn more at


Dispatch Delivers Route Efficiency Resources to Its Independent Last-Mile Drivers 

Dispatch saves its drivers time through route optimization

Leading B2B industrial last-mile delivery company Dispatch is proving valuable to its network of independent drivers with route optimization software and an easy-to-use platform, which reduces delivery time for drivers and customers.

Dispatch optimizes logistics for industrial industries that benefit from keeping workers focused, including HVAC, building products, electrical, paint, plumbing and industrial machinery. Using the Dispatch Marketplace pre-approved independent contractor drivers can use route optimization that helps drivers deliver faster, using fewer miles, while sitting in less traffic. The platform also provides transparency for B2B customers by providing ETAs and photo proof of order delivery.

Currently available in about 60 U.S. cities, Dispatch saves industrial businesses money by providing an on-demand, last-mile delivery solution that simplifies day-to-operations, manages fleets and gains end-to-end visibility through routing, tracking and managing deliveries via tech solutions like Dispatch Marketplace, Connect and API. With many Dispatch clients now opting to use the company’s expanding network of drivers as their outsourced fleet, the company also solves last-mile challenges for companies that have done away with their delivery vehicles – often resulting in fuel, emissions and maintenance reductions.

The last-mile is recognized as an expensive challenge, especially with next-day, same-day and on-demand delivery expectations growing in both B2C and B2B models. Last-mile delivery accounts for up to 50 percent of total delivery costs across all modes of transportation, according to a recent study by Deloitte. Lots of drivers will be needed to meet last-mile delivery needs since the global market is projected to increase to more than $268 billion by 2028, according to a ReAnIn report.

Replacing traditional courier services by offering on-demand deliveries with real time updates and dynamic ETAs since 2016, Dispatch empowers businesses by simplifying last-mile deliveries for businesses. The company can deliver job site materials in as few as 90 minutes, using its unique platform that both its B2B customers and network of drivers utilize.


Rise of the Machines: Two Factors Driving Automation

Today I want to talk a little about automation. I’ve talked earlier about the future of work, and there are some obvious trends like remote work and digital transformation. But automation is a significantly growing field, especially in retail markets. Trends in the industry respond to market pressures that affect the supply of and demand for labor. When human labor is cheap, automation will be used less. When human labor is scarce or expensive, automation will be used more. Today, I want to focus on two key market pressures that are driving demand for more automation.

First, declining birth rates are signaling potential labor shortages in the future. According to the CDC, in 2020, the total fertility rate (TFR) for the U.S. dropped to 1637.5 births per 1000 women, a decline of 4% compared to 2019. While some might blame the pandemic for the decrease, the 2020 number follows a downward trend that started in the 1970s. With fertility below the replacement rate of 2100 births per 1000 women, the U.S. labor force may be starting to decline. With an aging population and fewer workers, companies will likely be forced to increase automation or increase pay to attract and retain employees.

Second, rising labor costs are already encouraging companies to experiment with more automation. Depending on which pundit you ask, you will get very different answers as to why labor costs are rising now, but whatever the reason, businesses are grappling with higher personnel costs. As an article in Forbes recently noted, “The law of supply and demand says this scarcity makes existing workers more valuable, letting them insist on higher pay and better conditions.” As a result, some companies are turning to automation.  Fast-food chains are experimenting with automated fry cooks. The drive-thru is also poised to see more automation. Other experiments include cashier-less grocery stores and last-mile delivery.

Retail automation, therefore, seems poised for growth, but automation likely will not be a good fit for every job. Peanut the robot, for example, demonstrates that automation cannot effectively replace wait staff yet, but you may have noticed an increase in self-checkout lines in many stores. Kiosk ordering at restaurants has also been rising in popularity over the last few years, and as noted above, fast-food restaurants are experimenting with highly automated systems. In many cases, automation has the advantage of driving down operating costs. Robotic systems, for example, may have high capital costs, but they do not tire or want health benefits like human workers. Therefore, robotic systems can reduce long-term costs and save companies money.

All of these automation systems build on technology trends that have been growing for years: voice recognition, touchscreen interfaces, online shopping, and robotics, to name a few. Companies investing in these spaces will likely do well once retail automation really takes off. Some may worry that automation will eliminate jobs, but that likely will not become a serious problem. Throughout history, automation has eliminated some jobs while creating others.  I recommend worrying less about the jobs that automation will eliminate and instead focusing on what new kinds of jobs will be enabled by the new technologies.


Louis Lehot is an emerging growth company, venture capital, and M&A lawyer at Foley & Lardner in Silicon Valley. Louis spends his time providing entrepreneurs, innovative companies, and investors with practical and commercial legal strategies and solutions at all stages of growth, from the garage to global.



For a supply chain to truly function well it needs to be flexible, operating under a ‘bend but don’t break’ principle that allows it to scale to needs and to be maneuverable enough to escape blockages and delays along the route. Much like a muscle, however, this is fairly unlikely to simply come naturally. It takes preparation, training, and stretching to build a muscle into something with the capacity and flexibility to go through rigorous moments of endurance or sprinting. 

This analogy begins a follow-up report on the Supply Chain USA Virtual Summit 2020 by Alex Hadwick, editor-in-chief for Supply Chains with Reuters Events, which presented the online event in partnership with ABBYY, a digital intelligence company.

Hadwick discovered that numerous experts from across the supply chain space agreed that critical lessons must be learned from the disruption of 2020 as well as broader industry trends.

“Visibility now underpins the capacity of a supply chain to react to change, strengthens its ability to provide strong customer service, and allows more flexible supply chains and the introduction of automation,” Hadwick writes.

“By building a strong and systemic approach to the view over the supply chain then we can begin to train to become more effective in handling the new environment. That environment is changing rapidly and e-commerce growth is causing supply chains to move faster, but they have to balance the demands with sustainability goals, both of which require the right reporting capabilities in order to succeed.”

Catch-up mode

Interestingly, among the notions presented at the summit was that while the global pandemic ushered in new, strengthened e-commerce normal, the industry is still catching up to global demand. 

“Even before COVID, we’ve had significant disruption over the last few years that I think is going to continue to change the way we do business for the future,” mentioned summit participant Robert Sanchez, Chairman & CEO of Ryder System. “It’s the three suspects that you all probably know: e-commerce, driven by Amazon; it’s asset sharing, driven by Uber; and it’s the next generation vehicle – the electric and autonomous vehicle, that is really driven by, I would say, Tesla.”

The silver lining may be that industry players now have their radars up for disruption. The days of, say, a Crown Books pooh-poohing a threat by an upstart like Amazon may be as over as … well, Crown Books.

As Ravi Dosanjh, head of Strategic Programs at Intel said to bring us full circle to Hadwick’s opening: “The muscles we build in supply chains during the numerous disruptions come into play now, and I think it sounds obvious, but you need to enable the right muscle, the right capability at the right time. That’s something that doesn’t happen by accident.” 

Ed Barriball, a partner with McKinsey & Company, continued the flex fest by first noting, “You need to bring together a mosaic of data,” from external providers, and from within that is merged “to start to get an idea of who I’m actually buying from, or my suppliers are buying from. 

“Once you have all that information, understand where your vulnerabilities and risks are in the supply chain. And for a lot of folks, I think that’s a new muscle to be working.” 

Visibility is key 

Another area of agreement among the experts, according to Hadwick’s report, was the need to institute real-time visibility in the supply chain.

“I think it’s critical when you think about supply chain visibility technology, that it’s providing visibility across all nodes. That enables network collaboration and exception management,” said Dave Belter, VP & GM of Global Transportation Management, Ryder System.

However, more must be done, added Russell Felker, CTO of GlobalTranz: “I feel like in some ways, we’re at the point that electronic medical record systems or electronic health record systems were at toward the end of the 1990s and into the early 2000s, where they were standing up all these things to capture data, but had no formality of how they talk to each other.

“Both of your doctors might have a way of keeping your data electronically, and they had no way to get it to each other, and so they would print it and fax it. We’re kind of at that point where we have these systems that exist and that capture pieces of information, but they don’t have a clear method of handing information off, maintaining chain of custody, and maintaining that visibility [and] the sanctity of the information, as it traverses.” 

That is why Belter finds it critical that supply chain visibility technology must be provided “across all nodes. That enables network collaboration and exception management.”

Taking a hard look at your entire move through the supply chain will uncover areas for improvement—and ultimately greater market share, according to the experts.

“Where we see a significant demand is around what’s called process mining and discovery, where you actually analyze event logs from various disparate systems of record and visualize process behaviors as they occur,” said Andrew Pery, a process intelligence expert at ABBYY.

Such examinations can help you identify areas where, for instance, more automation would be beneficial or risks and potential legal entanglements can be avoided, Pery noted.

Which brings us to the last mile

 “The last mile is the most complex piece of the puzzle in the supply chain—because it’s the end part, everything has to work upstream for that delivery to go perfect,” said summit participant Erik Caldwell, president of the Last Mile at XPO Logistics.

One thing that is becoming obvious, according to Tom Galluzzo, founder, and CEO of IAM Robotics, is that there will not be enough flesh-and-blood workers to maintain a flawless last-mile experience. 

“The reality is that it’s going to continue to evolve toward more automation, more force multipliers being used,” Galluzzo says in the summit follow-up report. “Whether that’s warehouse execution systems continuing to get smarter and optimizing the way internal operations are run within supply chain buildings, or actually leveraging robotics to do some of the physical moving material, that’s all going to continue pretty strongly over the next five to 10 years.”

Please sustain me

Hadwick goes on to cover sustainability in the supply chain, which, given the pressures of last-mile, micro-fulfillment, and a customer base that seems to expect goods ordered today yesterday, one helluva challenge. 

Among the ideas presented at the summit that could offer a solution is moving supply chain facilities closer to the customers. As Michael Murphy, executive vice president of Development at industrial real estate developer CenterPoint pointed out, the giant e-commerce facilities are less often feeding stores directly and more often shipping goods to smaller distribution outlets.

“Moving the supply chain closer to the consumer is a huge priority right now for a lot of organizations,” noted IAM Robotics’ Galluzzo. 

In conclusion …

Pery, the process intelligence expert at ABBYY, contributes the summit follow-up’s conclusion: “It’s evident no matter which stage of the supply chain logistics providers serve, having good process workflow and visibility into the specific events, activities, and people involved with each step is critical to successfully completing the last mile and delivering a positive customer experience.”

He and Hadwick before him take deeper dives into each of the sections presented above. If you would like to read their full report (for free!), visit


5 Ways Technology is Changing E-commerce

Above everything else, the modern consumer is after convenience and a good experience when it comes to shopping for items. The busy schedules in an extremely fast-paced world don’t allow much time to spare for shopping. Thankfully, e-commerce has made it as easy as a few clicks. Even better, consumers can now choose anything they want from a worldwide pool of retailers regardless of where they are.

On the other hand, retailers who understand this have come out in big numbers to occupy this space through the opening of e-commerce stores. This is also an opportunity for them to cast their nets wider as well as offer their consumers a more personalized experience.

However, the birth of e-commerce would never have been realized if it weren’t for technology. Even today, technology remains the fuel behind the rising trend of e-commerce. And, as technology advances, so do the offerings to both the consumer and the retailer keep getting better.

Here are 5 ways technology is revolutionizing e-commerce.

1. Different payment options

Safe types of payment methods have always been a concern with online shoppers. Most are wary of sharing sensitive information such as credit card data on websites that they don’t trust. This coupled with the lack of a preferred method of payment has been the number one cause for cart abandonment.

Technology has come a long way to mitigate this by ensuring a secure and easy checkout process for consumers. Today, credit card payment isn’t the only way to pay for goods or services online. Other options such as eWallets, Google pay, Bitcoins among others have come to provide the safe and convenient online shoppers have been looking for.

2. Easier digital files sales

The good thing with e-commerce is that online retailers can sell practically anything, eliminating the need for brick and mortar stores. One of the biggest beneficiaries of e-commerce is people who sell digital files such as Ebooks, music, artwork, online courses, and the like. It’s also worth mentioning that through the use of technology, e-commerce enterprises are also making use of click funnel plugins which enables the selling and delivery of various products online.

Technology has made it possible to showcase their talents and knowledge to a global audience. There is a rise in apps that make it possible to create, package, and upload their work for sale. Even better, technologies such as Dropbox make it possible to upload large files. For those selling multiple files in one purchase, zip files allow them to compress these files into a single one. This is advantageous as it reduces the webspace used. Additionally, it saves consumers a lot of time since they only need to download a single file. However, consumers will need a ZIP decompression tool to unzip files once they have downloaded them. Thankfully, this is readily available across many devices.

3. Chatbots

Now more than ever, there is a need to keep the consumers happy so that they grow to be loyal and repeat customers. One way to do this is through customer support and answering customers’ questions as and when they arise. However, this poses a challenge for e-commerce retailers since their customers are spread throughout the globe. The different time zones are one hurdle these retailers have to deal with.

With the invention of chatbots, however, this is a problem of the past. This technology mimics human interactions, answering customers’ questions around the clock.

4. Social shopping

Besides keeping people entertained, social media is playing an integral part in making purchasing decisions for most people. Scrolling through the major platforms, you are highly likely to meet people asking for recommendations on the best products and stores.

Businesses that understand the power of social media are taking advantage of the big crowds to bring attention to their businesses. For instance, most online businesses are advertising their apps and online stores on social media. On the other hand, major platforms such as Instagram and Facebook have now added features that allow consumers to shop for items within the platforms. If you intend to properly market your products, you have to make sure that your social media posts are optimized to appeal to your target audience visually.

5. Push notifications and apps

One of the biggest headaches for businesses is to be in the consumers’ minds even when they are not shopping. A few years ago, email notifications gave retailers a way to keep close contact with the consumers. Unfortunately, most of these promotion emails ended up in the spam folder most of the time.

Today, the average person spends a lot of time on the smartphone making push notifications hard to go unnoticed. In addition, the presence of apps in these smartphones is a constant reminder that the brand exists.

While doing business virtually can be convenient for both the consumer and retailer, it can be overwhelming as well. However, technology is making e-commerce stores find more efficient solutions. In addition, consumers are getting the service they want thanks to evolving technology. The two parties still stand to gain as more advancement keeps hitting the e-commerce world.