SupplyChainDive recently published an impressive collection of articles that examine the challenges of “Last-Mile Fulfilment.”
Rather than merely posting each article, the editors packaged them into one interactive infographic called “Perfecting the last mile”.
The Importance Of Upstream Visibility In LMF
If I were asked to contribute to this series, I would dedicate a separate section highlighting the importance of upstream visibility in perfecting the last mile. A survey of 100 top logistics IT providers conducted by Inbound Logistics revealed that 72 percent of shippers cited visibility as their most critical challenge.
|Top 100 Logistics IT Providers & Market Research Survey - Inbound Logistics|
The last article of the ‘Perfecting the last mile’ series mentions increased focus on visibility as one of the nine trends in last mile delivery. Many retailers, carriers and logistics providers are now working together and looking to technology to gain real time visibility of the supply chain beyond the last mile - from the time a purchase order gets generated to the final delivery to destination.
Ultimately, end-to-end supply chain visibility will be a requisite of LMF; a core competency that adds value and reduces costs for the retailer, carrier, logistics provider and consumer.
The Link Between Supply Chain Visibility And Customer Satisfaction
This link between supply chain visibility and customer satisfaction reminds me of an article I read in Inbound Logistics several months ago that examines common issues that arise before a shipment arrives at a distribution center. The author writes that problems with inbound operations will disrupt an otherwise’ adequate fulfillment operation,’ and adds:
“A more comprehensive approach to supply chain management—one that includes visibility into the complexities of inventory supply, inbound transportation, order fulfillment, and outbound transportation—can help to provide for a great omni-channel experience, one that encourages customer loyalty and optimizes profitability.”
This modern approach to supply chain management is easy to implement with a cloud based end-to-end real time visibility solution – one that can provide an up-to-the-minute view of the flow of goods from PO to a distribution center.
Even SME’s can bridge operational gaps while also avoiding significant upfront investment or local installation of any software agents.
The challenge is in choosing a visibility solution that wraps around existing systems (as opposed to a ‘one-size fits all’ model) so that the technology improves and optimizes logistics operations.