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Last Mile Delivery

Due to the lockdown, only essential movement is permitted, affecting many retailers and businesses alike. As a result, last mile delivery businesses are emerging, such as Uber, as more businesses become dependent on deliveries or convert in order to retain customers and assist vulnerable parties.

Businesses are looking for solutions to succeed or merely adapt. According to the Hi-Tech Security Solutions news brief, “by 2022 it’s expected that 78% of enterprises will partner with technology service vendors that are capable of orchestrating technology innovations into business use cases that can drive transformation at scale”. Fleet management systems allow for complete management of products and services as they move through the supply chain.

Last Mile Delivery in Response to Lockdown

Geotab has recently conducted an analysis on the impact of the reduction in commercial traffic and deduced that commercial transportation activity to grocery stores has dropped the least. Read More on the impact of COVID-19. 

Last Mile and Fleet Utilization

According to Colin Sutherland, Executive Vice President Sales Marketing – Geotab, “Last Mile is the growth market today. There has been a transfer of people buying products online. Fleet owners and managers need to ensure, from an efficiency perspective, that they are using the correct fuel economy vehicles and correct maintained equipment, for the right delivery duty cycle”. Watch more here.

The reduction in congestion has resulted in trucks are arriving at their delivery destinations faster and earlier than originally planned. Dispatching and routing need to be revised to accommodate this trend. Businesses need to reevaluate where they are seeing their duty cycles, and ensure they are using the right asset for the right job.

Furthermore, fleet owners should regularly inspect that their fleet is being maintained. Asset utilization consists of the health and productivity of your fleet. Assets are being used for longer, inspections should be conducted in order to determine if they require maintenance or are possibly due for upgrade. The Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) can assist in remotely managing your fleet.

The Need for Digitalization

Industry has no alternative but to improve on digital infrastructure, digitalize business processes as well as business models. This is evident in surviving companies that have either ramped up their digitalization or moved their businesses completely online.

Examples include digital fitness brands that offer remote fitness classes to customers, as opposed to brick-and-mortar facilities. They are adapting to the developing types of demand such as home deliveries, fitness and remote working environments.

Digitalization in Transport and Logistics, and The Supply Chain

Digitalization, new technologies and big data enable cooperation between supply chain parties, allow for better supply chain visibility, real-time management of traffic and cargo flows, simplification and the reduction of administrative burden, and allows for a better use of infrastructures and resources, thereby increases efficiency and lowers costs, according to the Digital Transport and Logistics Forum (DTLF).

In order to achieve the above-mentioned benefits, transport must be digitalized. Data should be captured and shared through the supply chain in order to generate added value for business.

No-contact deliveries have pushed operating commercial fleets to optimise their digitalisation in the following ways:

  1. Tracking devices and add-ons such as the IOX Bluetooth can be placed on goods being transported. Beacons embedded with sensors can provide real time information about location (GPS) and conditions (e.g. temperature, light exposure). This assists in maintaining goods whilst the supply chain is operating with minimal staff. Read more on reducing food wastage and loss.
  2. Fleets consisting of light commercial vehicles to heavy duty trucks can be equipped with fleet management devices. These devices report on factors such as location, speed and engine condition. Route optimisation is a common form of digitalization as it assists fleets in optimizing operations considering current limitations such as reduced number of cars on the road, and reducing costs during limited operations. Read more on optimising fleet operations.
  3. Infrastructure such as roads and distribution centres can be equipped with sensors to monitor their use and condition. This allows for better traffic management flow and safer driving conditions.
  4. Freight distribution is supported by various business processes. These business processes are becoming more digitalised, for example inventory management for improved productivity. Data captured and exchanged provides insight into operations and the efficient management thereof.

Redesigning the supply chain

Organisations that have equipped their fleets with telematics systems in order to streamline and digitalise their operations, are at an advantage. These systems will enable fleet managers to digitally optimize routes, process and dispatch orders, and avoid unnecessary contact points as per the current restrictions and safety guidelines of lockdown.

Author: Vishnu Perumalsamy | Managing Director – Geotab Africa

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