last mile technology

The Future of Last Mile Delivery Technology

As technology evolves, it is essential for businesses to either keep up or run the risk of ‘falling behind’ – of course for last mile delivery services, the story is no different.

Delivery services are evolving fast. As customer expectations progress rapidly, support from last mile delivery technology to deliver an enhanced level of service, for less, is a priority.

How Tech Is Already Supporting Last Mile Delivery?

At Crown SDS, we’ve implemented a significant investment programme to ensure we can continue to deliver an exceptional service in last mile delivery, as demand for increased flexibility and more effective communications grows. Last mile delivery technology such as dynamic route optimisation is already helping us to:

  • Drive business efficiency
  • Keep pace with complex challenges found in distribution
  • Meet growing demand for convenience 

Technology is at the very heart of our courier service, so implementing the future of last mile delivery technology is critical in offering the best level of service and efficient deliveries. That is why so many retailers and distributors are now searching for courier services who are steadily introducing these new technologies.

In this article, we take a look at what the future of B2B courier services may look like led by technology advances in machine learning and smart logistics.

Drone Delivery

Already used by the likes of Amazon and Google, drone deliveries are known to significantly reduce fuel costs and the need for labour involved. Using drones as a delivery service can improve delivery times, which can be beneficial to businesses and consumers searching for a same-day courier service.

However, utilising technology in this way is not without significant risk. Drone deliveries are unable to offer the same protection as manned deliveries, in terms of physical property and data privacy. There is always a risk of theft, either of the drone and/or the items being delivered and similarly equipment that is as high-tech as drones are prone to malfunction. 

And whilst drones can be said to reduce the cost of fuel and labour, they could force delivery prices to rise exponentially, since these devices are not cheap for organisations to invest in. They also have a very low battery life and are better suited to short delivery distances and not nationwide delivery routes.

Delivery Robots

Courier services in Milton Keynes have been operating for a long time, but recently, many may have witnessed the ultra-modern delivery robots roaming around the town blending in amongst the crowds; whilst delivering fast-food, groceries and other essentials in a B2C aspect.

With 10 cameras, ultrasound sensors, radar, and GPS, the Milton Keynes delivery robots are able to freely navigate, cross the road and even avoid obstacles on its path. Robots feature theft prevention methods, with the cameras acting as surveillance in the event of interference, tracking for if the robots become missing and a deterrent alarm which sounds out a loud siren if tampering is sensored.

But whilst they can be useful for running small errands, robots are unable to carry consignments of any significant size or weight, unlike a courier service which can cater to deliveries with a wide range of vehicle sizes and two-man delivery service. And with a maximum speed of 4 mph, are inadequate for time-critical delivery, particularly over longer distances.

Driverless Deliveries

With the progression of artificial intelligence (AI), longer and mundane tasks can be taken care of whilst cutting down on energy use and reducing the occurrence of human error.

The first self-driving vehicle without human controls (steering wheel, pedals and mirrors) has recently been granted permission to test on roads in Texas, United States. Also referred to as R2, the driverless vehicle has been designed and created by Nuro. 

The autonomous vehicle truly is the first of its kind. Whilst the Nuro R2 is smaller than a car, it becomes much safer on the roads than a typical car. The temperature-controlled departments are ideal for delivering perishable foods or medicine.

For now, the R2 can only exceed a maximum speed of 25mph, so it does have a long way to go before same-day deliveries of any distance could be within its scope. And besides its current unsuitability for timely deliveries, driverless deliveries pose a number of other issues. Often, businesses require bespoke solutions or specific collection and delivery instructions to be carried out. Only through utilising a bespoke courier service using trained and professional drivers, could businesses benefit from this. 

Using Innovation To Support and Not Replace Personnel

Whilst these automated technologies may have their benefits , the reality is, technology has a long way to go and the human touch is more important than ever in our industry. Consumers still require the need for human interaction and both our drivers and control teams are the heart of our same day service.

Our last mile courier service focuses on maintaining a combination of the latest innovative technologies with the exceptional customer service we can deliver through the knowledge and experience of our people.

Providing our customers with a secure online login area allows us to offer the utmost flexibility and data privacy when it comes to booking, tracking and managing their consignments. 

And in response to an ever-increasing demand for faster and better information, we’ve implemented dynamic text and email notifications. This provides customers with an instant update as to the location and estimated delivery time for their consignment, reducing the hassle for customers in having to chase a collection or delivery.

The speed and efficiency demanded from same day delivery, whether ad hoc or regular routes, is increasing. We’ve invested in optimised route planning software which has enabled us to schedule our fleet in the most effective way, eliminating unnecessary mileage and factoring in imminent traffic issues to reduce response times. 

We’ve even taken steps to significantly reduce our paper trail, by providing better document management options for our customers including bespoke reporting, E-billing, E-POD’s.

In order to manage our fleet of over 800 drivers quickly and efficiently, we’ve designed and developed a driver management Application (App). This has enabled us to achieve faster response times, of just 60 minutes, by locating the closest driver to a collection or delivery point, and allocating a job instantly.

Of course, innovation is always moving and we’re still working hard to remain ahead of the industry in terms of technology and delivering more value for our customers, supporting them to become more competitive.

Talk To Us Today

When it comes to deliveries, efficiency, time and cost savings are of the highest concern, which is why we aim to utilise technology to benefit our customers.

Our courier service is used by large brand names nationwide. We handle supplier collection and deliveries any day of the week, at any time, so you can trust us when we promise your consignment will arrive on time, every time.

Passionate about innovation, we have the capability to develop systems, processes and bespoke reporting to suit the needs of any sector. Our drivers are carefully selected and appropriately trained for the specific requirements of the role, enabling us to meet the bespoke needs of businesses with varying demand.

If you’d like to find out more about our courier service, please get in touch with us.

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