The Last Mile Economy: What is your last mile costing you?

 

The Last Mile Economy: What is your last mile costing you? 

June 5, 2018

Failed deliveries are costing businesses up to £780 million a year. The last mile is a neglected and costly problem; one that retail and delivery companies need to take seriously if they want to stay afloat. “If it was called ‘the last brand mile’ instead, I’m sure companies would invest more into it,” said Mark Choueke, CEO of Rebeltech, at PostTag’s first roundtable.

This roundtable was brought together to discuss the last mile in depth: its problems, the causes, solutions and the future. A gathering of representatives from every corner of the delivery and logistics industry, offering the opportunity to hear differing aspects and opinions.

Opening the floor was Adam Leyland, Editor of The Grocer, “what is the biggest challenge with the last mile?”

The Highlights

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Consumer Expectations vs Reality

“What has changed is the consumer’s intolerance for failure.” Nick Cullen, Logistics Industry Exec

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One of the major challenges in the delivery world, according to Robert Redmile, MD at Dixons Carphone is “the expectation of customers and what it does to our margins.” He adds, “people expect freezer deliveries for free because they got something delivered from Amazon for free.” According to James Doyle, Logistics at M&S, “this puts even more pressure on delivery logistics.”

Communication was raised a number of times as the cause of unrealistic consumer expectations, with Garth Shephard, VC and investor, stating “there’s a very wide spectrum of consumer experience. Some (brands) are good at being informative to the customer, some don’t pay attention.”


Offering a solution of sorts was Nick Cullen, Logistics Industry Exec. He said: “The last mile delivery hasn’t changed too much. What has changed is the consumer intolerance for failure. We need to understand the consumer has much more power.”

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The Drivers Are Your Shop Window

“Who has actually done surveys with their drivers?” - Elmar Toine, Chairman of Postea Inc

Drivers are the face of a brand. They interact with the consumer face to face and as Sahil Sachdev, Head of Brand Experience at Quiqup said, “drivers can create an amazing experience as they are the brand ambassadors.” With this in mind, keeping drivers motivated to do a good job becomes a lot more important. When asked how he keeps his drivers’ performances up, Seb Roberts, CEO of Gophr replied, “don’t ask them to do something they’re unable to do and they’ll arrive happy.”

Though some around the table questioned if the drivers are actually happy. Elmar Toine, Chairman of Postea Inc challenged, “you’re giving me stats but I don’t believe them. Who has actually done surveys with their drivers?”. According to Seb Roberts, “if you don’t overload them and don’t limit your options with driver availability there will be more successful deliveries and happier drivers.”

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A Bright Future For The Last Mile

“We all know there have got to be new solutions.” - Adam Leyland, The Grocer

Looking towards the future and progression of the last mile, Adam Leyland described this industry as one that’s done “an extraordinary job, but it’s been expensive.” Adding that “consumer demands are only going to increase. We can’t just say that 98% is good enough - we all know there have got to be new solutions and new ways of doing things.”

Do you agree? Do you disagree? We’re looking for all voices within the last mile to join our consortium. If you’re interested, contact paul@posttag.co.uk.

 
Stu Lewin