More companies are focusing on the importance of last-mile delivery to their overall business, giving logistics a seat at the table in the C-suite and the boardroom, according to data from software-as-a-service (SaaS) company DispatchTrack, which recently released its list of six trends that will redefine last-mile delivery in 2023.
“Post-pandemic economic realities and pressing issues, like climate change, are driving forces in business today and pushing accountability to the highest levels of leadership,” Satish Natarajan, DispatchTrack co-founder and CEO, said in a press release. “As a result, the C-suite is taking a much closer look at all aspects of their operations, with a new focus on how delivery directly impacts customer satisfaction, profits, and corporate social responsibility. With that in mind, there are some significant shifts on the horizon that will impact the logistics market, particularly the last mile, as we look to 2023 and beyond.”
Those shifts include a laser focus on last-mile accuracy, increased IT spending, and accelerated sustainability initiatives. According to DispatchTrack, the six last-mile trends to watch in 2023 are:
The C-suite and boardroom are taking a keen, and direct, interest in last mile delivery. Heads of logistics will increasingly report to the CEO as fulfillment joins sales and marketing among the most critical aspects of running a successful business. Not only will they report to the top, logistics professionals will also have a seat at the table and more involvement in the business strategy from the start. Consumers today expect next-day, or even same-day, delivery with total visibility, which makes ensuring a superior customer experience a priority and integral to building loyalty, gaining a competitive advantage, and growing market share.
Companies will re-evaluate their delivery tech stacks with an eye toward optimization and sustainability. As economic headwinds accelerate, supply chain organizations are facing growing pressure to do more with less, especially those grappling with staff reductions. Companies will re-evaluate their current delivery stacks and look toward best-in-class software that can both optimize all aspects of last mile operations to maximize cost-efficiency and scale dynamically as demand grows. Optimization is also key to a superior delivery experience, which will become even more integral to customer loyalty and market growth.
B2B customers will expect a more B2C-like experience. Businesses, much like consumers, are looking for greater certainty and transparency when it comes to delivery. Whether it's regular stock or perishables needed in restaurants and grocery stores, businesses are moving toward just-in-time ordering to control inventory and contain expenses as they contend with inflation, increasing costs, and labor shortages. Organizations serving the B2B market must be prepared to meet precise delivery time demands and guarantee that products will arrive exactly when their customers expect them.
Sustainability actions are stronger than words. There’s been a lot of buzz around sustainability and companies are taking it seriously. But many companies have gotten by with greenwashing rather than making true, actionable commitments to environmental change. It's unrealistic for businesses to be 100% sustainable from day one. What's important is making progressive improvements year over year in a way that is attainable through strategic business plans, such as reducing miles driven, decreasing trucks on the road, or adding electric or semi-electric vehicles to the fleet.
There will be a focus on perfecting the last mile with an emphasis on accuracy. Delivering orders within a promised two-hour window doesn't happen by accident or good luck. To ensure that deliveries make it to the right place at the right time, logistics leaders will employ more sophisticated routing engines that leverage artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to drive greater accuracy, making delivery promises a reality.
Optimization becomes mission critical. PwC's Digital Trends in Supply Chain Survey 2022 found that increased efficiency (63%) and managing or reducing costs (59%) ranked as the top two priorities for supply chain professionals over the next 12 to 18 months. In the current volatile market, successful businesses will find solutions that help delivery operations run more efficiently—despite the size of the fleet or number of drivers—while reducing costs and providing the best possible customer service. We’ll see an emphasis on trimming waste and finding new efficiencies across the board.