several parallel roller belts with packages

Christmas Shopping 2020: A Last Mile Delivery Race

For the logistics industry, Christmas 2020 will be a challenging race for the last mile.

December 08 2020Sandip Dalvi

Preparing for Christmas is a stressful time for people - besides planning Christmas dinner with the family, gifts have to be found. But this year, shopping is being influenced due to the current corona situation: a limited number of people are allowed into the shops, hence there are endless queues seen in front of the shops. With the increasing range of online retailers, a pleasant alternative is created for many. Everything the family needs can now be found online and according to the shopping trends in the last few years e-commerce companies offer heavy discounts during the Christmas season.

Older woman on a front door holding two packages, in the foreground is a christmas tree

However, the development of online shopping is confronting retailers with new challenges and the transport companies face the pressure of delivering the ordered products on time and at the right destination. But what does that mean for transport companies and for logistics in times like the run-up to Christmas?

Due to this surge in online shopping logistics companies face a huge rush for the Last-Mile Delivery in Germany. The last mile refers to the effort made by the transport and logistic companies to deliver the online ordered products from the distribution hub or parcel stations to the end customer.

What can transport companies do to optimize their last mile?

Challenges faced by logistics companies during and around Christmas time: 

Currently, logistics companies are facing a shortage of workforce to fulfil the huge volume of parcel delivery that has risen from the increasing number of e-commerce orders. To address this challenge the logistics companies and e-commerce retailers like Amazon and eBay have started giving part-time job offers to temporary workers in their distribution centers, sorting hubs and last mile delivery areas. Roles are mainly related to driver helpers, warehouse supervisors, and sorting and packaging agents. This hastened hiring leads to challenges related to inexperienced labour that perform their designated roles with a lower quality of work.

One of the major areas that suffers is the product packaging. In order to cope with the growing volume of orders and to maintain the speed of delivery the workers compromise on the quality of the packaging. This results in 1 out of 6 packages that are returned due to poor packaging. IT systems are the backbone of smooth and precise package and parcel movement and high volume of parcel orders heavily depends on the uninterrupted IT systems, for example order and address management systems, driver and fleet manager’s tools, on road routing, scanning and labelling applications. If the IT system breaks down it puts additional pressure on the logistics team. The Christmas rush takes a toll on the IT infrastructures of many logistics operations teams and they must suffer the consequences of these failed IT systems

Solutions to be prepared for the Christmas rush

parcel service employee in a transporter tip on a tablet

Route optimization based on road analytics support carriers to do real-time traffic analysis, track traffic congestion and save time and fuel. Road analytics should be built on historical delivery data, road traffic incident data and road network management systems. This enables corrective measures like moderating driver behaviour, lowering anxiety level of drivers, reducing emissions, and increasing the last-mile delivery speed. Along with increased speed, an accurate estimated time of arrival (ETA) also takes high precedence. Logistics companies are using digital tools and software applications to calculate an ETA to proactively notify customers and thus gaining consumers’ trust. This level of supply chain transparency enables the e-commerce companies to get an increase in positive customer feedback. 

To summarize, as people prepare for Christmas, logistics companies are trying to step up their operations for achieving the last mile delivery with their innovative ideas and smart solutions. With technology advancements and digitalization, logisticians are winning over challenges imposed by the peak season and making parcel deliveries on time with better quality-related services. It, however, goes without saying that the coronavirus pandemic ‘2020-Christmas peak season’ will truly test the strategies of the logistics industry. 

How T-Systems can help optimize your last mile?

To optimize last mile processes in terms of time and location, T-Systems can help logistics companies with “PaketChef”, an integrated solution to optimize routes dynamically, improve driver navigation and pro-actively inform consumers. This can ultimately help in managing resources efficiently and achieving  sustainablility through route planning, sequence optimization, volume forecasts, and employee capacity utilization. T-System’s patented cloud-based solution LCMM (Low Carbon Mobility Management), designed to control and monitor logistics fleets, has shown significant benefits to global customers especially in last mile delivery operations. This solution helps fleet operators with individual driver behaviour analysis and vehicles positions to optimally control their fleets. For individual drivers help develop an environmentally friendly driving style.  

T-Systems also provides support with consulting services from the idea to the implementation for the parcel collection and distribution logistics domain; especially on the first and last mile. By helping you with software requirement definition and system integration through to maintenance and operation.

We look forward to your project!

We would be happy to provide you with the right experts and to answer your questions about planning, implementation, and maintenance for your digitalization plans. Get in touch!

About the author
Sandip Dalvi – Industry Marketing Experte für Travel, Transport & Logistics

Sandip Dalvi

Industry Marketing Expert for Travel, Transportation & Logistics vertical, T-Systems International GmbH

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