Last Mile Delivery Frequently Asked Questions

Last Mile Delivery Frequently Asked Questions

Last mile delivery is one of the most discussed topics in shipping and logistics. In a relatively short period of time, it has become a key factor in being able to deliver the experience that customers have come to expect, and it has also become a pain point for those trying to keep down product costs.

But what exactly is last mile delivery and what should you know about it? Today, the experts in delivery management software at GetSwift are here to explain the booming business of last mile delivery. Read our post and then contact someone from the GetSwift team to learn more about how we can help.

What Is Last Mile Delivery?

Last mile delivery refers to the final step in the delivery of a product to the consumer. Think of it as the last leg in a long journey that includes multiple layovers. In the logistics world, people have learned how to master shipping products in bulk from one destination to another and they do it efficiently on a daily basis. But delivering individual items to a customer’s doorstep within 24 hours or less of ordering can pose quite a challenge.

The world hasn’t always had to deal with the challenges of last mile delivery, so why are we all of a sudden hearing about it? The answer lies within the explosion of e-commerce and increasing consumer demand for speedy delivery. The expectation of two-day, overnight, or in some areas even same-day delivery, can be attributed to e-comm giant Amazon. This, combined with local companies now trying to compete, have made last mile delivery a very real expectation for just about any business.

Why Is Last Mile Delivery Such A Challenge Compared To Traditional Delivery?

Last mile delivery poses many challenges that come with needing to get a product from point A to point B in an incredibly short period of time. Think about the last time you had to make multiple stops across town and how long that took. Now imagine that you have to deliver hundreds of individual orders, covering dozens of neighborhoods and all areas of town. In urban areas the challenge is navigating busy streets, traffic lights and, well…traffic. In rural areas, the challenge is how to make the long trek from house to house in the most efficient manner.

If the physical challenge of delivering to specific locations wasn’t enough of a problem, consider all of the drivers that are needed to make it happen. Virtually overnight, commerce has dictated the need for an army of delivery drivers ready to fulfill every order. Trying to keep up with this expectation is tough enough to spell doom for some businesses.

Why Is Last Mile Delivery a Challenge For Many Businesses?

If you own a business, you know that shipping costs can make or break you. The amount you have to pay to get your product to its destination is often one of the biggest contributors in determining the cost of your product. How many times have you had to raise the cost of goods because of an increase in gas prices? The smallest shift in shipping costs can eat into your profit margin if you don’t take action and make adjustments.

Last mile delivery is a challenge for many businesses because it usually requires you to build inefficiencies into your system — in other words, ship small quantities and make multiple stops. This type of model can increase your shipping costs exponentially. So why do it?

You do it because if you don’t, you’ll lose customers.

What Can You Do To Drive Down Cost?

Amazon has attempted to tackle the problem by installing lockers in set locations where customers can come to pick up their goods. This might be a good option for a giant like Amazon, but it probably won’t work for everyone else. The answer that will work for many businesses lies in the very thing that created this challenge in the first place — technology.

Your biggest ally for competing in the world of last mile delivery is delivery management software. Enlisting help from this kind of tool can optimize your dispatching, routing, and delivery processes. The only way to become more competitive when you are building inefficiency into your process is to find other ways to reduce costs. You can do this by relying on software to plan the shortest routes, dispatch drivers that are closest to the next delivery and providing a great customer experience overall.

If you’re ready to learn more about how your business can compete when it comes to last mile delivery, contact GetSwift. Our delivery management software will give you the edge you need to support a thriving business. Give us a call or visit our website to learn about our 30-day free trial!

GetSwift’s Last-Mile Software Helps Culinary Care Deliver Free Meals to Chicago Cancer Patients, Prepare for National Rollout

GetSwift’s Last-Mile Software Helps Culinary Care Deliver Free Meals to Chicago Cancer Patients, Prepare for National Rollout

Courtney White (right) Founded Nonprofit Culinary Care After Her Father’s Death

Courtney White founded Culinary Care in 2013 as a tribute to her late father. The mission was to bring cheer to other cancer patients in the form of high-quality meals delivered to Chicago hospitals. In short order, Culinary Care was delivering thousands of meals a year around the city, and she needed a software platform to keep ensure patients were never left hungry on account of a delivery mishap.

“I was manually putting everything into Google spreadsheets,” Ms. White says. “All of the scheduled deliveries were being pushing into Google Calendar invitations and I realized it just wasn’t working. I was at wits end.”

She explored other options, including Uber’s scheduling platform. But Uber required that she use their drivers rather than her own – something that would not work because Culinary Care relies heavily on staff who also add a personal touch to deliveries.

“Finally, I found that GetSwift managed everything I did manually – from scheduling to phone numbers,” Ms. White says. GetSwift’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform allows her to communicate directly with drivers, reducing the chance of late meal deliveries and dramatically increasing the amount of volume Culinary Care can accommodate.

Looking ahead, the next step is to take Culinary Care to more cities. Ms. White says she regularly gets requests from all over the country from people interested in bringing Culinary Care to feed cancer patients in their cities. “We have a map of the requests and our goal over the next five years is to expand and grow Culinary Care nationwide,” she says.

Culinary Care served 2,800 meals across Chicago in 2018. This year, the nonprofit is on track to delivering between 3,000 and 3,500 meals and the goal is to reach 100,000 meals served by 2023, Culinary Care’s 10th anniversary.

“We are excited about the chance to help Culinary Care thrive in Chicago and expand to other cities,” says Joel Macdonald, Founder and President of GetSwift. “It’s a wonderful cause and our platform is perfectly suited to help Culinary Care reach scale.”

One reason Culinary Care has caught so much attention: It focuses purely on cancer patients, who are more challenging to feed than most. The reason is that cancer treatments including chemotherapy tend to stifle appetites and even change the experience of taste. That requires Culinary Care to seek out the most appealing meals from local restaurants that donate food.

“We are the only organization nationwide that serves only cancer patients,” Ms. White says. “They’re a unique client because they’re often not actually hungry and we need to make the experience special.”

She added that there are plenty of organizations delivering to cancer patients, but it’s rarely more than 20% that goes to cancer patients. The pure focus on cancer patients appears to be more challenging, but Ms. White’s personal experience guided her in that direction.

She learned all about the challenge of feeding cancer patients from her father. During the last months of his life, friends and neighbors brought meals that she shared with her father and family that helped bring them to together and give them one less worry.

 “We pay close attention to the emotional element of a dish,” Ms. White says. “GetSwift lets me focus on the most important things we do.”

Interested in conquering the chaos of delivery? GetSwift can help you start improving your delivery operation in hours. Get in touch.

Challenges of Growing a Courier Business

Challenges of Growing a Courier Business

If you’ve always thought of starting your own business, now is a better time than ever. With the increase in demand for next-day and even same-day delivery of nearly everything, there’s a very real need for couriers that can deliver these goods. While starting any business can be quite challenging, a courier service can be one of the more simple ones to start, requiring a relatively small amount of capital. There are also several tools available that can help you along the way to optimize your business and improve efficiency. For instance, route planning and delivery management software can make all the difference if you want to have a growing, profitable business.

If you’re thinking of starting your own courier business or have one already, there are many opportunities out there. However, there are also several obstacles you could face along the way. The delivery management experts at GetSwift are here to help you identify some of the common challenges of growing a delivery business and how to overcome them. Read our blog to learn more!

Finding Loyal Customers

It goes without saying that without customers, you would have no business. So what is the best approach for finding, and more importantly, keeping loyal customers? Today’s savvy customers expect on-going communication regarding their order. This includes order confirmation, real-time delivery status, and even follow-up. In addition, they want to be able to communicate with the people they are doing business with. It is important to give them a way to contact you for order changes, questions, and feedback.

But how do you support the customer-business relationship without paying for a small army of customer service representatives? The answer is delivery management software. At GetSwift, we’ve developed easy-to-use software that can make interacting with your customers simple, and with little time requirement. It includes features such as order confirmation, real-time tracking, proof of delivery, and service feedback to ensure your customers are informed and provided information throughout the entire order process. Investing in this kind of technology will surely give your business an advantage over your competition when it comes to establishing a loyal customer base.

Handling Growth

As your business grows, it can become more and more difficult to manage all of the moving parts. If you hire additional drivers, you’ll need to make sure you have a reliable and effective method of communicating orders and expectations. Managing a fleet versus one or two drivers requires the necessary tools to keep everything running smoothly and efficiently. The driver dispatcher features of GetSwift’s delivery management software can help by providing a user-friendly interface to schedule drivers, a way to optimize driving routes and interact with your team via an app that they download on their cell phone. It’s never been easier to manage and communicate with a remote team.

Documentation Management

When you start a business, probably one of the last things on your mind is how you are going to keep track of all the paperwork. When you think about it, you’ll need to keep records for materials purchased, orders placed, employee and customer interactions, regulatory and legal requirements, and so forth. There’s an incredible amount of information that needs to be kept and filed away, and without a system to manage it all, it can quickly get out of control. The best plan of action is to establish a good process from the get-go, utilizing technology to help make it easier and take up less space. Doing so can make your business run smoother and save you dozens of headaches in the future.

Operating Efficiency

Let’s say you’ve started your courier business, you’ve found more than enough loyal customers, and communication with your team is satisfactory. If you aren’t operating efficiently, you could actually be losing money, or at the very least, be leaving money on the table. What sets successful businesses apart from those that struggle and eventually fail is the dedication to optimizing all areas of the business. You might not think it’s that critical if you go two miles out of the way to make a special delivery, but if each driver does that a few times a day, over the course of a year it could add up to thousands of extra dollars that your business loses.

As a business owner, it’s your job to evaluate all areas of your business, analyze the data, and make smart choices that will contribute to your profitability. One tool for doing just such is — you guessed it — Get Swift’s delivery management software. With features that will help you optimize route plans and reduce fuel consumption, you’ll be able to ensure on-time deliveries, possibly reduce the number of delivery vehicles needed, and even provide faster delivery options than your competitors. This not only gives you the advantage of providing better customer service but allows you to do it in a way that is most profitable for your bottom line.

Technology: Your Biggest Ally

Starting a business is hard work and you need all the help you can get to make it succeed. If you’re planning to use basic spreadsheets, emails and phone calls for your tracking and communication, prepare for a difficult road ahead. Investing in GetSwift’s delivery management software can make all the difference between the success and failure of your business. By providing solutions for order tracking, driver dispatching, route optimization, and customer interaction, this technology is what you need to effectively support a growing business. It also includes comprehensive business analytics to identify and resolve problems, improve efficiency, and ultimately exceed your customer’s expectations.

Take the next step toward building your courier business by finding out more about the delivery management software from GetSwift. Keep in mind that there are no contracts, no upfront costs, and no hidden fees. We also offer a free 30-day trial. Give us a call today — we would love to hear from you and help answer any questions you may have!

How Dynamic Scheduling Can Help Your Food Delivery Business

How Dynamic Scheduling Can Help Your Food Delivery Business

If you own a food delivery business, you know how important it is to get it to your customers as quickly as possible. Going a few blocks out of the way and arriving a few minutes late can make the difference between a satisfied customer and an unhappy one. If your business is growing and you have just a few drivers to cover a delivery area, you need to make sure that each and every trip is perfectly planned. Sending a driver out of his way or across town just won’t cut it when you have a growing list of orders to fill and each of them is time-sensitive.

Get an edge on your competition and make your life easier by investing in the dispatching software from GetSwift. With multiple features and a user-friendly interface, it’s the perfect tool for any business — big or small. Keep reading to learn why you should be taking advantage of dynamic driver scheduling.

Save Time and Money

Being able to change orders, rearrange deliveries, and ensure your drivers are taking the best routes are all key in providing the best customer service while staying conscious of your bottom line. While being flexible can earn customer loyalty, it can often create added costs if it makes the order fulfillment process less efficient. Create a win-win situation for your customers and your business by using GetSwifts routing software. It will give you a leg up on fulfilling orders efficiently — including those last-minute order changes — without going miles out of the way.

Assign Priority on an As-Needed Basis

Wouldn’t it make life easier if once you received an order, you could schedule it for delivery in the order it was received, and without fear of it changing or being canceled? Unfortunately, we do not live in a world of absolutes. Orders change and priorities change. Customers have to come to expect that they can change their order within a reasonable amount of time and can ask for a “rush order” with the expectation that they will get it sooner than everyone else.

If customer satisfaction is a priority for you (and so it should be, because without it, you won’t have a business,) then you need to be able to make order changes on the fly and assign importance as needed. If you’re still using a simple spreadsheet and phone conversations with your drivers every time you want to communicate, you’re probably working harder than you need to and you aren’t being as effective as you could be. The dispatcher software from GetSwift has features that will allow you to assign order priority and automatically schedule a driver based on location, service record or another metric of your choosing. It will even rearrange a driver’s route sequence and then notify your driver via text message.

Improve Your Customer Service Rating

If you have an antiquated system of tracking and scheduling orders, then you’re going to be limited on how many changes can be made, how far in advance they can be made and being able to accept last-minute orders. With our dispatching software, you can easily reassign drivers, communicate changes, and give real-time ETA information to your customers. All of these features help your business run smoothly and will ultimately be reflected in the growth of your business and the satisfaction of your customers.

If you want to grow a successful, thriving business, it’s important to take advantage of dynamic scheduling. You need to be able to make real-time changes and adjustments if you expect to win the loyalty of customers. There are plenty of competitors out there waiting to take your place if you can’t provide the best experience, in the most efficient way. Learn more about all of the many features included in GetSwift’s dispatching software and how they can help your business. Contact GetSwift today!

Fresh, Local, Now: How to Succeed in the Food Delivery Business

Fresh, Local, Now: How to Succeed in the Food Delivery Business

The food industry is changing. Gone are the days when everyone desired a one-stop-shop where they could get their perishable food, dry goods, health and beauty supplies, and automotive parts all under one roof. While the convenience of a mega-mart still has its appeal for time-starved workers and busy families who aren’t able to drive from store to store, there is an ever-growing demand for ways to get food that is produced close to home, fresh, and supports local farmers and economy.

To meet this need, fresh food delivery services have been popping up all over the country. But exactly how do you manage the logistics of a fresh produce or dairy delivery business that requires precise and efficient routing to ensure such finicky products are delivered in the shortest time possible? There’s a new generation of delivery management tools that are helping businesses not only plan the best routes for their deliveries but include customer-service features that today’s savvy consumers have come to expect.

South Mountain Creamery: A Success Story

Almost 20 years ago, South Mountain Creamery, based in Middletown, Maryland, decided to implement home-delivery. With nothing but crude spreadsheets for route planning and delivery management, the business was limited on how many products they could offer and how many customers they could service. In 2008, they partnered with GetSwift to implement their delivery management software, and the rest is history.

Flash forward 18 years and South Mountain Creamery is now delivering products from other local farms in addition to their own. Customers can place orders for meat and eggs to be delivered along with their milk and butter. The success of one business has now spilled over and is helping several others grow and succeed. If this kind of story inspires you, you can read the full article here: South Mountain Creamery Rises to e-commerce challenge with GetSwift’s Delivery Biz Pro.

Delivery Management Solutions

When you’re transporting perishable goods such as dairy products, meat or fresh produce, you know that time is of the essence when it comes to routing and delivery. Investing in a good delivery management software is a must to ensure effective planning and communication. Automatic dispatching can assign drivers to new delivery points based on their current location. Routing software can optimize daily routes to save time and fuel. Software that includes business analytics can help you identify pain points and areas for improvement. Unless you just want to make a few extra dollars delivering to a handful of people that live in your neighborhood, you need the right tools to support and grow a real, thriving business.

Customer Service Solutions

Managing “your side” of the business is only half of the equation. Delivery management software is there to help with customer service needs as well. Today, customers expect to get instant notifications, to be able to place and change orders up until the last minute and to track the location of their deliveries. These features are in the best interest of both the customer and the business. For instance, a customer feels engaged and part of the process when they can track the exact whereabouts of their delivery. A business can use the information gained from the tracking software to troubleshoot problems and use it as a tool to improve overall delivery performance.

Learn How GetSwift Can Help You!

GetSwift is in the business of supporting enterprises across the country through the use of their delivery management software. Contact us today to learn how we can help you with delivery tracking, routing, and customer service. We’ll be happy to provide an overview of our services and answer any questions you may have. Give us a call today!

The GetSwift App ‘Changed The Game’ For the Drivers At Billiard Factory

The GetSwift App ‘Changed The Game’ For the Drivers At Billiard Factory

Live tracking and proof of delivery have elevated customer service at the game-room furnishings retail company.

 

Billiard Factory IT Director Ken Santoro says GetSwift was the “final piece” to help them perfect delivery.

About a year ago, Billiard Factory, which delivers game-room furniture from 10 stores across Texas, Nevada, and Florida, was running on manual. Prior to starting a delivery, drivers would have to make phone calls to customers to let them know when their deliveries were scheduled to arrive. After the delivery, drivers would have to jot down any problems (like a scratch on a pool table) on a paper receipt that would sit in a truck all day and not be seen be a dispatcher until the following day.

All this manual work led to all sorts of potential for mistakes—before and after delivery. Some drivers would occasionally forget to call (meaning they could show up unannounced with a pool table in-hand) and others weren’t very comfortable talking on the phone. After a delivery, Billiard Factory had very little immediate visibility of any problems or customer complaints.

But Billiard Factory has now conquered these problems with GetSwift’s driver and customer apps. Before a job, a text message gets automatically sent to customers giving them a live tracking link and an ETA, allowing them to plan their day around the delivery. After the job is complete, drivers are automatically asked to fill out proof of delivery in the GetSwift app—with room for photos, a signature, and notes. This data is immediately seen by dispatch.

“Now, we get instantaneous feedback not only with notes but with pictures,” Ken Santoro, the IT Director at Billiard Factory, said. “We can take action on those issues before the driver gets down the street.”

“We get back to the customer before they even have a chance to call us or write a bad review,”  Santoro said.

The big benefits of the app: Visibility and Automation

 Driver Patrick Disney on the GetSwift app

Driver Patrick Disney on the GetSwift app

For one of Billiard Factory’s most senior installers, Patrick Disney, and his colleagues, the app has been a game-changer. Now, with the click of a button saying he is on his way, the customers he serves get a live ETA. He also clicks when he’s at the job (to let dispatch know) and when it’s completed. If you’re counting, that’s only three times that he interacts with the app during an entire delivery.

“It’s a very simple process. I can’t really complain about the little bit that I have to do,” Disney said.

But the biggest benefit he’s seen is how much the automated alerts and live tracking help customers plan their day.

Disney told the story of a customer with a beach house an hour-and-a-half from Houston, where she was at the time. “By getting her that automatically-sent GetSwift text, she was able to drop a few things, head out to the beach early, and meet us at almost the exact same time that we arrived,” he said.

“They love knowing where the drivers are at,” Santoro added. Since using the app, “customer satisfaction is way up.”

While it doesn’t happen often, something can go awry –like a driver makes a mistake or a foosball table arrives damaged—customers end up happy because the problem is immediately addressed.

“While we can see some customers are disappointed that the product came in damaged or there was a scratch, a driver will still get a 5-star review. A lot of that has to do with the driver’s know-how but a lot has to do with transparency,” Santoro said.

Using GetSwift To Elevate Their Game

Now that they have so much more transparency into their delivery operation, Santoro sees endless possibilities.

First, sales reps—who also have access to the GetSwift data—can manage all their sales cycles more effectively. The day after delivery, they can make follow-up calls armed with the photos and notes from the day before. Second, Billiard Factory can start turning installation data into business intelligence: When they know exactly how long each piece of furniture takes to install, they can plan accordingly.

Most importantly, GetSwift has helped Santoro with his #1 IT initiative: wowing customers.

“GetSwift brings transparency to our deliveries and takes our game to the next level. It’s the final piece when it comes to perfecting delivery and wowing our customers,” Santoro said.

To learn more about how GetSwift’s smart delivery platform can elevate your business, Get in touch with us.