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Can Situational Awareness Technology Solve the Last Mile?

April 17, 2019

The last mile logistics landscape is littered with complex challenges. Here’s how situational awareness technologies can streamline the supply chain for efficiency and customer satisfaction.

A popular donut sells out before 9 a.m. A brake pad flies off the shelves. Customers want more, now, but that’s easier said than done. Last mile delivery solutions are meant for situations like these, but currently require time-draining, ad hoc coordination across the supply chain. Here’s how implementing the right technologies could provide a better solution for transportation companies and their customers alike.

 

The Challenges of the Last Mile

Out-of-stock situations mean lost revenues in the short-term, and lost customers in the long run. In these situations, customers turn to last mile delivery solutions — but the solutions of yesterday leave much to be desired:

  • Too much manual communication. Customers, suppliers, and drivers are forced to coordinate through multiple phone calls and emails.

  • Time wasted at every step of the process. Making calls and confirmations, tracking delivery status, and managing the process takes up valuable time.

  • A lack of visibility into each stage of the supply chain. Customers must wait for the truck to arrive to know exactly what is onboard and whether it is on time.
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    Technology Brings Solutions for Last Mile Delivery

    Luckily, there’s a better way. With low-cost IoT sensors, plus the powerful capabilities of a situational awareness platform, all parties across the supply chain can participate in a more streamlined operation and overcome last mile delivery challenges. The following IoT capabilities are just a few examples of how last mile delivery technology can benefit the supply chain:

  • Sensors can help determine availability, keep trucks in proper working order, and ensure that cargo remains in acceptable condition.

  • GIS capabilities can help all stakeholders track delivery status, and help truck drivers calculate best routes.

  • RFID tags can quickly ensure that deliveries contain the right inventory.
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    Why the Last Mile Needs Situational Awareness

    Of course, all the information being generated by these IoT technologies needs to be actionable — otherwise, it will only be a burden. To deliver actionability, a situational awareness platform can integrate real-time data with transportation management software and other systems. Giving stakeholders throughout the supply chain the ability to work from a common operational picture, situational awareness platforms can transform last mile delivery with:

  • Real-time integration of relevant data.

  • A common operational picture, to keep all parties on the same page about delivery status.

  • Instant in-platform communication between all parties.

  • Insights into best routing strategies, delivery times, and more.
  • For more information on how situational awareness technology can solve common last mile issues for retailers, suppliers, and truck drivers, download our infographic: Situational Awareness Technology Brings Agility to the Last Mile.