Last mile delivery services impact numerous KPIs. Maybe your furniture sales are soaring. Maybe your online review ratings are falling. Maybe your costs are spiraling out of control. Or maybe KPIs are fine but you’re wondering how to raise the bar.
This is a point where companies who sell furniture, mattresses, fitness equipment, and other big or bulky merchandise take a hard look at whether to outsource to a last mile delivery company for this mission-critical arm of the operation. Here are six ways you know it’s time.
1 - Running out of warehouse space
With company growth, warehouse space can become a limiting factor. If your existing warehouse configuration lacks capacity for product volume, how do you expand? The flow of products in and out of the warehouse has an impact on space requirements, too. Do you have enough visibility to fine-tune product movement? Do you simply need more space?
If you’re reaching into new geographies, you may also need new warehouse locations to ensure efficiency. As a last mile delivery partner, FIDELITONE offers a national infrastructure of warehouses already in place and fully equipped to support last mile delivery services. This infrastructure is backed by expertise in inventory management and delivery scheduling to maximize efficiency. It is often more efficient to tap into an existing infrastructure than to build your own.
2 - Lacking resources
Recruiting, hiring, training, and retaining qualified delivery teams is a major headache across the country. Not to mention, if you need to purchase or lease new delivery trucks, vehicles are in short supply and high prices are expected to continue (CBS News). Are you hitting a wall with building capacity—or spending too much time trying to build it?
Are you able to manage the ups and downs of private fleet demands? Both trucks and teams are critical. When business surges, it can be challenging to scale quickly and effectively to rising delivery volume. Many companies are struggling to respond to employee absences or staffing shortages, too.
FIDELITONE does the “heavy lifting” by providing highly trained delivery teams, along with the trucks and operational support necessary to support your customers’ needs in this service-sensitive industry. Expertise in fine-tuning processes, routes, and staffing patterns may make a difference, too. It did for one furniture retailer, who was able to achieve more with less (see the case study).
3 - Lacking technology
The White Paper, Last Mile Delivery for Furniture Retailers: Obstacles & Opportunities, reported that “46% of industry executives say that their delivery technology either needs improvement or needs immediate and significant improvement.” One way to access last mile delivery technologies is to use a proven partner who already has them in place. Time to ramp up can be minimal, and a range of integrations can further drive efficiencies.
The top tech priority identified by furniture retailers? Customer self-scheduling and tracking technology that puts customers in control. Every aspect of last mile delivery visibility is technology-dependent, too. It begins with integration of data sources and systems.
4 - High rate of damage claims
There’s nothing more disappointing to a customer than receiving damaged furniture. Unfortunately, with many steps in the flow of goods, damage happens. A high delivery success rate with low returns advances customer loyalty and helps control costs. If damaged merchandise makes it all the way to customer’s home, you’re probably losing money resolving the problem.
As a last mile delivery company, FIDELITONE has refined the processes and services that mitigate damage. Expert furniture techs offer furniture assembly, installation, deluxing and repair. Proactive inspection and attention to detail before merchandise is loaded on the delivery truck can vastly reduce damage claims. Talk to FIDELITONE about cost-saving in-home repair options, too.
5 - Customers aren’t happy
Earning customer loyalty comes from meeting expectations. According to FreightWaves, the “single most important metric for measuring the efficiency of final-mile delivery is on-time deliveries.” They add, “Customers care first and foremost about getting what they ordered on time. If a shipper or retailer fails in this respect (via its final-mile service provider), it really hurts its chances of earning repeat business from that particular customer.”
The last mile delivery white paper concludes that “the ability to unbox, fully inspect, and deluxe furniture is critical to building the brand relationship” with customers. In addition, self-scheduling tools like those offer by FIDELITONE empower customers, keeping them in control, and advancing satisfaction.
6 - Costs are too high
Furniture retailers and others often absorb large delivery costs to make the sales. Being able to tamp down costs helps increase profit margins. “Last mile accounts for 28% of total shipping costs on average, a disproportionate figure relative to its proportion of the total length of the journey from manufacturing to delivery to end consumer,” according to FreightWaves.
If you are operating a private fleet, you know the capital investment required in purchasing and equipping delivery trucks as well as the cost and time required to stay in compliance with DOT regulations. Dealing with volume changes and staffing issues can whittle away profit margins and put customer loyalty at risk.
If you are analyzing fuel dollars, number of drivers per truck, number of stops per truck, average time in home, and other last mile delivery metrics, you appreciate cost control as its own kind of Rubik’s Cube. Take a look at how you can achieve cost savings with last mile technology through route optimization for last mile delivery, faster turnaround on delivery processing, efficient scheduling to reduce labor costs, and more.
Challenges with private fleets
Running a private fleet for last mile delivery poses challenges that draw you away from other operational priorities. Capital expenses, staffing, liability, and the overhead cost of managing the entire delivery operation are significant.
Value of a last mile delivery partner
If one or more of these six signals is giving you heartburn, you may find value in outsourcing to a qualified last mile delivery company. FIDELITONE offers problem-solving expertise and full complement of resources to optimize your business performance. Our last mile delivery experts allow you to concentrate on your core business while we safeguard your brand reputation and drive customer loyalty. Learn more about last mile delivery services available, and contact us any time. We’re here to help.