The Food and Beverage (F&B) industry has seen some major shifts during and post the pandemic. Home delivery became the norm and last-mile delivery became extremely critical. So what exactly is last-mile delivery? Last-mile delivery is the last step in the process of getting a product from a seller to the final consumer. It involves several aspects of operations such as warehousing, transportation, and distribution to end customers.
Last-mile delivery has flourished in the F&B industry more than any other sector. After the pandemic hit in 2020, the demand for takeouts and home delivery increased from 14% to 68%. The comfort and convenience which last-mile delivery brought with it during the lockdown has turned into an undying habit now, which indicates that the demand for it is going to remain into the foreseeable future.
In the initial phase of the lockdown, the primary focus was on safe and secure delivery of food. This led to an ad-hoc innovation of ideas being put into practice on ‘Safe delivery of everything.’ As convenience and personal safety took predominance during those times, an increasing trend has been observed in online F&B orders with most operators offering delivery within 30 minutes or less. This means many more businesses and competitors have to adopt the last-mile delivery module. With the shift towards faster, quicker, and more efficient delivery, there are bound to be various challenges that businesses will need to overcome in order to attract customers and gain a competitive edge. In this article, we will highlight some best practices for your F&B business in order to get the best results.
Last mile delivery - Best practices
1. Planning Every Step In Advance - Planning every step of the last-mile delivery operations can set a robust foundation for your business to accomplish a successful execution. Only then will you be able to meet customer expectations and beat the competition in the market.
The rise of timely and same-day delivery has become the new normal. People now want detailed real-time visibility of their package at every touchpoint in the transit process; they prefer contactless deliveries and want a customized delivery experience with instant updates and notifications.
2. Strategic Outsourcing - Multi-tasking is impressive but not ideal when it comes to handling a business with large order volumes. Managing too many things at the same time can get tricky, as assigning orders, managing the fleet, attending to customer requests etc. can lead to large overheads and distract businesses from their core objective.
Ideally, collaboration with third-party last-mile delivery partners to assist in managing the scale of delivery orders is the most efficient. The logistics and transportation team can coordinate with the delivery partners and deliver a quality customer experience to your buyers. By outsourcing your entire delivery operations to third-party delivery partners, you can focus on the operations and growth of the business itself.
3.Train Your Drivers To Deliver Quality - Your workforce are the face of your brand - they represent the quality of your service as a whole. Hence, from fleet managers to delivery drivers, the workforce needs to be trained to deliver the desired results and stick to the plan.
They can help you cut costs and save delivery time if they quickly adapt to the new technologies and optimize their work. Some strategic ways to put these changes into effect quickly is to incentivize drivers to help keep them motivated, ensuring efficient driving practices while increasing their morale.
4. Optimizing Delivery Routes For Efficiency - As part of a growing business, your team must always be mindful of upcoming challenges. That’s why it’s important to lower the costs and save for impending possibilities wherever possible. One of the simplest ways to cut costs in last-mile delivery is to stop driving extra miles. These extra miles often lead to more fuel consumption, delays in final delivery, and an unhappy customer.
By utilizing route planning software, you can ensure that your drivers are taking the quickest route reducing fuel expenses and delivery time.
5. Top-notch Customer Management - The increasing competition has pushed retailers to be extremely active in enhancing the last-mile delivery service to attract the audience to their brand. Even the slightest discrepancies in the delivery experience or lack of quality during the delivery can result in the loss of a customer to the competitor.
Advanced software helps last-mile delivery operations to provide their customers with real-time notifications with an expected time of arrival too. This elevates the customer delivery experience significantly. How? By reducing customers’ anxiety and increasing their feeling of control and empowerment over the delivery process.
All in all, while dine-in is getting back on track in the UAE post-pandemic, businesses are now more interested in the unique and authentic experiences that last-mile delivery brings to their clientele in order to maintain customer loyalty.
In terms of delivery options, there are several innovative solutions available and these will continue to witness an upward growth trajectory in the long term; owing to rapid technological transformation, widespread internet penetration, and the permanent shift in consumer behaviors such as convenience, ease, and safety.
Ribbon can devise the best suited process for your F&B businesses in order to optimize your last mile delivery process based on the business’ requirements.