With the festivals waiting right around the corner most brands in India, like every other year, will experience the highest sales of the year during September to December. Increased economic activity would simply mean a huge volume inflow to all the logistics company. The surge is even more high spiked in case of express delivery companies lifting major chunk of their load from the e-commerce companies. Be it a 3PL, Parcel delivery Service or a local transporter; every logistics providers has got one good month to reinforce their end to end delivery network. While line haul connections (movement of load from city of origin to destination city) are required to be shored up a little, last mile calls for a special attention. In the times of volume surges, last mile delivery network is generally the first to chock up if special attention is not being paid to it.
Looking at last mile from an express delivery company’s standpoint, there are multiple levers which need to be calibrated so as to have an untroubled season. First of all, demand has to be forecasted so that delivering capabilities can be beefed up accordingly. A lot of extra delivery resources are required to be on-boarded and trained as per the demand projections. Volume holding capacity of the network of branches is to be re-evaluated so that temporary arrangements for holding the load can be made in time if required. All under the roof processes of load in-warding, scanning, sorting, out-scanning, route planning etc. are to be reworked so as to avoid any potential bottleneck in the whole delivery chain. Data and inventory management needs to be reworked because with high volume there is a greater risk of mis-management of these two prime variables of the entire delivery equation.
Doing all this will not ensure a successful season, it is only the preparation for a successful season. To materialize this success, every single stakeholder in the entire delivery network need to push really hard on every single day of high demand for the coming few months. It is possible to drive such strong motivation at every level of organization but it sounds like a plan with no back-up.
So, why not give technology a change. Now a days, there are solutions available in the market which can digitalize the entire last mile delivery operations. One can completely eliminate paper out of the every leg of their delivery operations alongside having real time data transparency about their delivery performance. Route planning can be automated, delivery resources can be tracked over a map, end customers can be better engaged with delivery time prediction and live shipment tracking, Vendors attendance and payouts can be reconciled in seconds, and delivery data can be processed and represented in forms of nice pie-charts and graphs so that it is easier to point out deviations and corrective measures can be taken in time. Without spending a lot over research and development, one can now have the ability to be agile by binding his entire delivery network with one single string.
From middle management point of view, it is always easier to plan, reinforce and execute when the relevant numbers are nicely stacked in front of your eyes. Numbers come handy to bypass the error of manual judgement or the pull of opinion righteousness. From top management point of view, it is an amazing strength to be able to monitor, evaluate, control and influence the delivery performance across the country by using one single laptop and nothing else. Such is the power of technology. Such is the power of QDMS.
Seasonal spikes are a recurring phenomenon in logistics. When it comes to spikes and surges, companies with agile supply chain network will be able to make the most out of these seasonal opportunities. Investing on technology today will have great dividends in future. Set up a strong foundation of data driven supply chain and have a happy Diwali.