Last Mile Distribution faces versatile challenges. Especially in local distribution companies often suffer from time losses due to traffic jams. More vehicles are needed to hold time constraints and fix express delivery windows to ensure agreed service levels.
This creates a costly bottleneck and a source of customer enquiries which strains your customer service. Not fulfilled KPIs may lead to potential financial losses due to penalties or time defined delivery not payed due to not achieved proof-of-deliveries (time stamps).
Traffic jams cannot be resolved completely but the way to distribute can. In the old-world, dispatchers instruct their drivers to pick up and deliver certain goods somewhere in a specific area. The new world offers potent software solutions to enable Live Distribution. The concept of Live Distribution is based on live traffic data, dispatch instructions and dynamic routing. Every location of deliveries, pick-ups, vehicles is known as well as basic shipment information as weight, pieces, measurements and dangerous goods information. With these information, optimized load factors can be realized. Plus, the concept provides the chance to switch pick-up instruction between vehicles. This way, another vehicle can be sent if the original one will not make in time or uses too much time of one of the most important resources in logistics: time.
Retailers and logistics service providers, benefit of new-world distribution in many areas. For example, with real-time traffic information, continuously updated ETAs can be shared with the recipients as well as with other participants in the transportation chain. Optimized schedules, more efficient ramp utilization as well as personnel usage is the result.
Autonomous mobility – Next Level Live Distribution
New transportation utilities, like drones, robots and cargo-bikes, lay the foundation for next level distribution. Together with Live Distribution and the ability of autonomous maneuvers, these utilities can enable 24/7 distribution services which react to any given traffic and demand situation. With sophisticated forecast possibilities of potentially, upcoming demands, you enable your organization to even become pro-active and even increase the potential of Live Distribution.
Until we see autonomous driving vehicles on our streets for other types of usage than field testing, it might take a little while, but we already see organizations considering and implementing comparable solutions on their own sites and campuses. Besides new vehicles, new and enhanced AI software supports these concepts.
Tactical planning to avoid capacity bottlenecks at an early stage
Situational route planning is the task to react to the current transport order rout traffic situation and to find an optimal routing for this order under given real time traffic situations. An essential lever for efficient use of resources already starts one step earlier. As part of tactical route planning, it is possible to consider the transport capacity requirements for the upcoming weeks and bypass potential peaks by rescheduling pick-up or delivery dates well in advance – always under consideration of the optimal route determination and planning relevant restrictions. We are currently meeting this requirementas part of our Transport Management implementation projects. Our solutions not only consider future sales or purchasing orders but also are able to forecast transportation demand patterns combining historical order data and information from demand planning. This provides a solid planning basis for operational route planning, while at the same time makes efficient use of resources over the entire planning process and avoiding enhanced transport cost due to e.g. spot orders.
Who can assist to identify your potential?
The selection of the best solution – that should fulfill compliance requirements, offer the most synergies and enable you to sustainably develop your business – is difficult and distracts you from your core activities. CAMELOT Management Consultants provide decades of experience in logistics and supply chain management, deep knowledge across many industries, IT solutions and highly adaptive methods.
We would like to thank Sebastian Scherer for his contribution to this article.