some things to take into consideration when you are drafting an “last mile” strategy:
The road and the territory It is important to gain a clear comprehension of the road conditions and time necessary for delivery. Also, consider seasonality and how the rainy reason will impact your distribution. Not all roads are passable during rainy seasons and your method of transport, e.g. 4 wheel-drive, can also change. The infrastructure of the road and seasonality could also affect the design of your network, e.g. creating routes.
Growth of service delivery points In a wide range of African markets, there are plans to aggressively expand and improve the size of healthcare facilities. It is crucial to know what effect this will have on the pipeline or supply chain.
Distribution centres (DCs) and cross docking cross docking Africa distribution distances are usually large and DCs can be limited. Overnight routes and driver per diems can add cost and lower the efficiency of trucks. Consider the need for more DCs as well as the role that cross docking can play in streamlining distribution and in reducing cost final mile delivery.
Demand planning – Tanzania is moving from a push system (demand determined at Central level) to an pull system (demand set at hospital level). Health workers at health facilities are accountable for providing demand requirements (or R&R forms). Common issues are delays in filling out forms and the lack of capacity or ability to fill out forms. It is crucial to find and recognize bottlenecks. Consider what can be done to make the process easier, e.g. restrict the pull to specific Stock Keeping Units, and assist in reducing the workload of health professionals, e.g. establish regional demand coordinators.
Ordering cycle Check the order process (or frequency) as well as order groups If any. Analyze unplanned purchases and volume per drop for every section, e.g. health facilities versus dispensaries.
Scheduling Ad hoc delivery should be evaluated particularly in the “last mile” level. Make sure that a documented schedule is in place.
Process of deliveryCalculate how long the delivery process takes (time) and read the written guidelines for delivery. For instance In Tanzania all goods received in villages must be inspected through an official from the Village Health Committee. This is a useful system to make sure checks and balances are in place, however it can create delays due the committee members not being present.
Use the right vehicles A Landcruiser is widely used but not always the best vehicle for the task. Many African countries have poor infrastructure but Landcruisers with their the high cost of capital aren’t always needed. Read my previous article regarding this issue.
Incentives for distribution Examine ways in which rewarding employees can improve efficiency. The incentives could be focused on the time it takes for truck turns around or loading, as well as dispatching.
The use of 3rd party distributors 3rd party distributors (3PLs) could play an important role in the distribution. Local operators enable you to tap into a lower cost structure, and also offer greater flexibility.
Fourth third party logistical (4PL) or transport agents – A 4PL is defined as an organization that gathers the resources, capacities and expertise of its own organization as well as other organizations to develop supply chain solutions. In Africa the health institutions tend to be unable to meet the demands of capability to identify and manage third party distributors. 4PLs or agents have the potential to play a crucial role here , and can help to reduce the workload for health workers. Local operators or 4PLs are also in a better position to negotiate better rates for transportation and also manage their schedules.
A reliable courier service can increase your company’s success and aid in keeping customers. We all know what it is to get customers, and how much do to retain them. When we invest in our company to increase our market share, we tend to overlook one aspect of the customers ‘ experience the delivery. that of delivery.
A lot of businesses offer an online element of their offerings to enable customers to book and pay for their goods. The next step is to complete of that order and then the delivery of it.
Often the fulfillment aspect is carried out in-house and the delivery part is contracted to the postal service, the parcel courier, or the same-day courier. The client rarely complains when their items are delivered via a same-day courier, but most complain when they receive received a delivery from an individual courier.
Because companies are focused only on the cost of transportation They fail to take into account the overall impact of what happens when they attempt to reduce costs – the consumer goes elsewhere.
I recently conducted a survey of business professionals on twitter, 77% indicated that their most annoying thing was not being in to collect a parcel and then having to drive away from town to collect the parcel.
This is the scenario,
If a potential customer discovers your company,
You can place an order online.
Send the goods
When they get home, they find they’ve not received their package.
Then, they drive 20 miles to pick up the parcel
Then they drive 20 miles back home.
They’re happy with the package, but that does not quite cover the way they feel about having take it to the post office to pick it up. An enjoyable shopping experience has been tinged by the delivery.
The mail service is also employed to great effect in this way, and at the least in the case above, they aren’t required to drive from town to collect their package, they can visit the local sorting office. The disadvantage for the person taking delivery of the package is that they are restricted to working times, or to the working hours of the courier.
The cost of acquiring a customer is the biggest part of the marketing budget. If you choose the right courier service you can retain and grow your business. Take the time to do an investigation, and in turn this will yield huge benefits to your business and keep your clients loyal.