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  • Writer's pictureYasser Allam

The Impact of Technology on Last-Mile Grocery Delivery

Updated: Oct 5, 2021

Last-mile logistics is slowly being impacted by evolving consumer delivery behavior. In the recent past especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a shift from retail shopping to online grocery shopping. There is a growing demand for same-day grocery delivery and innovative online stores are ripping big from the growing customer base. More online retail stores are focusing on customer satisfaction.

Due to increased demands, Groceries are adopting emerging technologies to handle last-mile logistics. In this article, we are going to look at how the adoption of last-mile route optimization is impacting the logistics of grocery stores and what to look out for when automating route planning.

What do customers prefer in last-mile grocery delivery?

One of the fastest-growing sectors is online grocery. For the online delivery business to be successful, two factors should be considered, time and efficiency. It is not easy to deliver fresh groceries to the right customer on time.

Several unpredictable factors are at play such as last-minute customer requests, sudden traffic on the road, specific delivery time frames among others. These unforeseeable factors can disrupt daily route planning.

Small-scale grocery stores can spend hours manually planning delivery routes only for their plan to be changed for the entire day.

Challenges that e-groceries face:

Grocery stores that make home deliveries face the most challenges such as high operation and delivery costs, poor inventory management, changing buyer behavior, and the perishable state of goods. These logistical challenges affect the back-end delivery fulfillment and the last-mile distribution of orders.

Backend fulfillment denotes the picking and devising an order while last-mile distribution denotes decisions involved in the process of delivery and deadlines.

During transport, they face vehicle routing problems with time windows (VRPTW) or vehicle routing problems (VRP). This is because reliability and time have taken, affect route planning outcomes and customer experience.

During reception, some solutions are employed. If a customer is not at the point of delivery the package can be dropped at the security guard's place or neighbors. Attendance can also be confirmed through calling. These solutions have their demerits like time wasted, security for the packages, box size issues, and the condition of the storage.

How innovation and technology solve e-grocery delivery problems.

Route Optimization Software

Grocery delivery consumes time and increases costs. Cutting costs and delivering faster is at the top agenda of online groceries. AI-based automated route planners like Norma helps groceries to meet these demands, it can improve the operation efficiency of your business by quickly planning and scheduling your routes.

Businesses achieve a lot by automating their delivery processes and cut costs, improve delivery processes, improve customer experience, earn more revenue and minimize carbon footprint by optimizing routes.

What to look out for in route planning software?

  • Delivering on-time: The software needs to auto-dispatch according to delivery SLAs or requested future delivery time windows. On-time delivery is the most important business rule to the routing software.

  • Intelligent allocation capabilities: This feature is important for fleet route optimization. It assists fleet managers to allocate orders intelligently per their priority.

  • Superior geocoding capabilities: Delayed deliveries are sometimes caused to incorrect addresses. Geocoding feature changes inaccurate addresses to accurate geographic coordinates. This capability ensures timely deliveries by fleet drivers.

  • Fuel Expenses & Cost Optimization: Route optimization software helps you to save fuel usage by searching for optimal routes. This also reduces operational costs. Offering drivers the optimal route plan that identifies the fastest and shortest routes, the time and distance is reduced leading to low consumption of fuel.

Delivery Management Software.

A tracking system is effective to monitor drivers on the roads. They can do non-productive activities if they are not monitored. Delivery management software like Altair DC enables logistics businesses to command and control the execution of their planned routes live.

The delivery control system has a live dashboard that offers real-time snapshots of the status of deliveries. If your customers disagree that delivery has not been done and your driver has confirmed a delivery but lost the confirmation slip, the multi-stop planner has an electronic proof of delivery feature with a signature that will instantly settle the dispute.

What to look out for in delivery management software.

  • Real-time tracking. Monitoring drivers is important to prevent delayed deliveries. A real-time tracking feature enables delivery managers to figure out what is causing delayed deliveries. This feature allows delivery managers to inform customers and adjust routes instantly.

  • Proof of delivery. The electronic proof of delivery feature is essential during the Covid 19 pandemic since it promotes zero human contact. Drivers can verify deliveries quickly by taking pictures of the delivered product.

  • Prediction of delays. The algorithm immediately predicts possible delays or delivery problems due to traffic, incorrect locations, order changes or other unexpected anomalies.

How can Norma and Altair DC help groceries to improve their delivery operations?

Norma is an AI-based route optimization and auto-dispatch software that automates your last-mile delivery by choosing the best route for your fleet. It enables faster and accurate route optimization saving on time spent to make manual routes. It enables you to meet delivery deadlines, improve on customer experience and also generate more profit by cutting on operational costs.

Using a delivery control system like Altair DC enables you to monitor your fleet on transit and also make real-time changes to routes when encountered with delays like traffic jams. It enables you to review automatically generated routes that come from Norma and collect information for better decision-making.

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