Posted by Guru Rao

How do give your last-mile delivery operation a mind of its own? We’re the first to admit that the fully autonomous supply chain is many years away from realization.

However, the self-correcting supply chain, especially at the last mile, is already central to customer satisfaction. Modern consumers are used to being spoiled by Amazon and other powerhouse retail players. They’re accustomed to consistent delivery and excellent service, regardless of how chaotic operational circumstances become at the last mile (customers won’t excuse inclement weather, last-minute route disruptions, late supplier shipments, etc.).

In order for retailers and their carrier networks to deliver on those expectations, they need complete visibility and control over last-mile operations. This requires versatile, customizable delivery dashboards that can aptly communicate critical information and display updates that guide supply chain stakeholders’ decisions.

Visibility starts with intelligence gathering

“Analytics tell a consistent story across the supply chain; dashboards present it from each stakeholder’s point of view.

Just as a human worker makes decisions based on information he or she collects over time, delivery dashboards communicate real-time recommendations based on analysis of various forms of delivery data. A delivery management solution’s underlying IT infrastructure ingests data and parses it much in the same manner that we process our surroundings.

Some of the key intelligence sources include transportation management systems (TMS), digital inventories, customer relationship management (CRM) software and geo-locational data such as where current trucks are, traffic patterns and weather conditions. Once this data has been aggregated, normalized and analyzed, findings must then be communicated in an intuitive format – distilled down to clear, actionable insights that human stakeholders can use to make smarter real-time decisions.

And of course, not every supply chain stakeholder will need access to the same types of information. This is where dashboard customizability really comes into play. Underlying analytics tell a consistent story across the entire supply chain; delivery dashboards ensure that the data presented is optimized for each stakeholder’s unique point of view.

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Take control of last-mile operations

Once information is intuitively presented to each stakeholder, those individuals will have everything they need to make smarter decisions. In other words, visibility yields greater control.

However, you’ll need more than just the ability to verify that everything is going well. You’ll also need to know when operations are at risk (for instance, if a delivery is on pace to arrive late). In these situations, customized dashboards can prescribe specific actions to certain stakeholders in a highly orchestrated manner. This includes automatically updating the customer with new ETAs if that becomes necessary.

All stakeholders will thereby know exactly what actions are within their control to take in order to optimize operations.

Like we said, it’s not quite an autonomous supply chain; but it is a thoughtful one with self-correcting capabilities. And that’s a big step in the right direction.

Delivery Dashboards: Pathways To Last-Mile Visibility And Control