With efficient delivery being the key to consumer satisfaction, it has become imperative to deliver the best services. And, technology can enhance services, or even take over certain tasks. The technologies that enable Digital Transformations can have a big impact on the services delivered and on the customer experience. In this feature, we explore the impact of technology on the delivery processes, how it revolutionised the last mile, the new technological trends, and much more.
The popularity of online shopping has soared over the years. According to Statista figures, in 2019, retail e-commerce sales worldwide amounted to 3.53 trillion US dollars and e-retail revenues are projected to grow to 6.54 trillion US dollars in 2022. Online shopping has become one of the most popular online activities worldwide.
This drastic increase in e-commerce and heavier demands means that delivery companies have to evolve. And, technology innovation holds great importance in doing so.
Technology has indeed brought about a revolution in delivery processes for both the consumers as well as the service provider.
While it has triggered a major shift in consumer expectations and purchasing behaviour of online shoppers with expectations of fast and safe deliveries, it has also played a crucial part in meeting consumer’s needs.
In the wake of the pandemic, technology intervention was the key to meeting consumers’ demand while also maintaining speed, safety, and hygiene in deliveries.
According to Archisman Das, Vice President – Product at Shadowfax Technologies, “Technology has become critical to survival for many businesses that once viewed it as a “niceto-have” distribution channel. Today, taking orders right up to a customer’s doorstep in the safest and fastest time is the only way certain businesses, retailers, restaurants, and others, can remain competitive and satisfy demand”.
Technology intervention has delivery processes optimising and realigning themselves to be in sync with the changing market scenario. And, it was very well seen when companies successfully shifted towards contactless delivery with the help of digital technology during the pandemic.
“Logistics has enhanced the digital technology path by switching the COD (Cash-on-delivery) to an alternate digital payment mode vigorously, thereby ensuring consumers of safety in control and enabling easy returns, exchanges, and faster refunds.”~Archisman Das, Vice President – Product at Shadowfax Technologies
Speaking on how Xpressbees has leveraged technology intervention to enable a smooth and timely supply chain, Amitava Saha, Founder and CEO, XpressBees says, “At XpressBees, we have invested in creating a Unified App, developed internally, that combines the agile backend with a highly intuitive interface. It empowers our feet-on-street with real-time route optimisation, paperless delivery, appdriven customer contact triggers, and feedback capture. All stages of the shipment life cycle are captured and relevant information is made available to concerned stakeholders at the tip of their fingers, enabling a timely and accurate flow of information and dynamic route optimisation.”
The adoption of technology empowers the systems and processes to respond promptly to any suddenly developed situation without any human supervision. Furthermore, it is enhancing the productivity and responsiveness of the operational facilities of an express logistics framework.
Although technology intervention is the only way to bring about a revolution in the delivery processes and keep up with the fuelled rapid expansion of the e-commerce market while delivering customer satisfaction, the investment to build innovation and technology for a seamless delivery process has its set of challenges.
As mentioned by Mr Saha, sourcing the right IT Talent Pool aligned to the needs of the new Delivery Economy, need for tighter Information Security and surveillance owing to numerous points of contact and cloud-based infrastructure and lack of internet bandwidth in tier 2,3 and 4 locations of the country today are some of the challenges faced in incorporating the tech advancements.
Mr Das while pointing out the information gap as the biggest challenge says that technology is the way to yield better delivery processes.
In his words, “The biggest challenge is the information gap between what happens in the real world and what information is available in your systems. Once this gap can be bridged, the impact of technology will increase yielding better Speed of Delivery and Delivery Experience,” said Mr Das.
Technology Trends in Delivery Processes
In keeping up with the ever-changing delivery requirements, the logistics industry has adopted the latest trends in its delivery processes and paced up to the tech developments.
“With the emergence of ‘Delivery’ as a key factor for driving customer satisfaction, it is critical for these companies to provide best of the class delivery experience to drive overall customer satisfaction. By adopting new technologies and transport methods, 3PL companies, and E-commerce providers improve their order delivery efficiency, reduce costs, and provide an exceptional customer experience,” says Mr Das.
Delivery players are using Geospatial data and maps to achieve macro-level visibility into the shipment life cycle. Further, they are also leveraging route optimisation which gives players a competitive advantage in terms of cost and service levels.
Speaking of the technology trends in delivery processes, Mr Saha believes that AI is the next step in the journey towards achieving predictive logistics.
“We have invested in Artificial Intelligence and predictive analytics to handle demand fluctuations during the year and drive optimum performance of vehicles & shipment processing technologies.”~Amitava Saha, Founder and CEO, XpressBees
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