In today’s fast-paced world, customers’ expectations have drastically evolved. It doesn’t matter what you sell; customer experience and superior quality are what you need to lead in the digital industry. However, a significant part of customer experience depends on shipping time. After all, customers want their orders right away. Amazon has already jumped on the bandwagon by offering same-day delivery to customers. As a result, small businesses also want to compete with the big giants.
Truthfully, meeting customers’ delivery-speed expectations can be challenging, primarily due to customs restrictions. In addition, faster shipping takes a lot of work, and businesses face intense competition. Even though speeding up delivery is challenging, it’s not impossible. It is all about implementing the right strategy and correct work ethic. So, the first and foremost thing is communication. You can open lines of communication with your warehouse, logistics team, and customers.
Likewise, plan for busy seasons and adjust the delivery time when seasonal demand is high. It will improve customer satisfaction, saving additional business costs and valuable time. If your business has been struggling with customer deliveries, see below.
Here we have highlighted eight tips for businesses to accelerate their delivery time.
1. Choose the Right Shipping Company
Sometimes, your third-party shipping company is lagging. It could be due to a high influx of orders or a lack of on-field resources. Due to their incompetence, your business delivery time could be suffering. Hence, you must choose a suitable shipping company. For this, search for a reliable freight forwarding company, depending on where and how quickly you have to deliver orders.
For urgent orders, you can pick a company offering shipping by air. It might seem costly, but every company offers discounts on bulk orders. Besides the delivery time, you must consider security. You can request information about the company’s security policy and see how they process unattended parcels. It will decrease the risk of a parcel going missing. Lastly, find out how reliable is your chosen shipping company.
2. Combine Logistics
It might sound like a no-brainer, but only a few businesses have combined forward and reverse logistics. Reverse logistics comprises all pick-up routes, and forward one has all drop-off routes. Combining these can reduce your travel and planning time massively. If your driver is going to drop off products in a specific area, check if there are any pick-ups from the same location. If so, assign that task to the same driver.
Combining the two logistics could be tricky, but technology makes everything possible. The intelligent software solutions can plan drop-offs and pick-ups simultaneously. They consider every vehicle’s capacity to ensure none of them is overloaded.
3. Optimize Delivery Routes
Another way to accelerate delivery time is by optimizing the delivery routes. It means selecting the fastest and most cost-effective routes possible. However, this can be arduous if your business relies on manual calculations and ordinary mapping software. So, why not integrate route optimization software? It will calculate the routes automatically, helping businesses achieve on-time deliveries.
These intelligent software solutions can calculate routes for hundreds of drivers and thousands of orders in a few seconds. It will make tracking easier since you will know which parcel is getting delayed. Technology has advanced rapidly in the logistics industry, so use the right software to make your team perform their job faster and more efficiently.
4. Keep Up with Customs
Most business owners use international shipping as an excuse for slow delivery times. Living in these modern times where everything is a click away, such excuses give an impression of inefficiencies. After all, customers in other countries still expect you to deliver timely, putting your brand image at stake. You must understand customs and coordinate with them to speed up the international delivery time. Request them to help identify anything about your product that could slow deliveries.
Companies delivering crockery often face delays since their items are fragile and require careful handling. Similarly, businesses shipping high-value items such as sculptures or art pieces face delays due to state regulations. The best way to keep up with customs is that declare your products online before shipping. Your products will come in their records beforehand, expediting international shipping times.
5. Adjust QA in Process
Quality assurance is a crucial component of the delivery process. Quality service officers check every order before dispatch to ensure it meets quality standards. However, any delays by this team can lead to extended delivery times. So, why not incorporate QA early into the process? The QA team will check products before they reach the warehouse. In addition, they can create test cases early within the sprint to reduce product delivery time.
Further, they can perform unit testing in the production factory. It will allow them to detect bugs in the product and inform the product supervisor immediately. Otherwise, it can take much time as the product has completed the development stage. Besides improving productivity, it will shorten delivery times as the QA process would be over before warehousing.
6. Enable Route Modification
Every company plans routes and fixates on them. But what happens when unexpected challenges arise, such as adverse weather conditions? In most instances, the orders get stuck for weeks. Real-time route modification can allow you to change plans. It provides fleet managers with real-time visibility of the routes. It shows where the driver is and if they have deviated from the route.
Further, dispatchers and fleet managers can modify the route if the driver runs late. Drivers will receive the updated plan on their phones right away. At the same time, it allows customers to track their orders. Unlike companies that send messages to inform customers their order is out for delivery, you can stay one step ahead with this live tracking option. Route modification software also notifies customers when their order arrives.
All in all, the live tracking option can significantly minimize customer complaints while increasing satisfaction. It will also reduce the extra work for employees that can slow down workflows.
7. Remove Communication Barriers
Most companies and third-party logistics have a communication gap. Whenever customers reach a business asking for the delivery time, they request shipping companies for the information. Unfortunately, those shipping companies take two working days to get back. It leaves the customer annoyed and frustrated, damaging the business’s reputation. Often these communication gaps make it impossible to amend delivery information.
Therefore, it is time businesses switch to real-time tools for communication across teams. It will put everyone under the same umbrella, making coordinating easy. When the business and fleet manager can communicate with each other, it will improve delivery times throughout the project delivery cycle. In addition, it will massively enhance the experience as customers receive real-time updates on their parcels.
8. Plan for Emergencies
Busy seasons such as Black Friday and Christmas require a planned shipping strategy; luckily, businesses have sufficient time to prepare one. However, some unexpected situations can also cause shipping delays. There could be supply chain disruptions due to global crises such as COVID-19. Otherwise, there can be localized disruptions, such as thunderstorms in the Midwest. Even though these situations are out of your control, you must have an emergency plan ready.
You must develop a logistics strategy to manage such risks and find ways to deal with them. If the weather isn’t suitable, inform customers beforehand to expect delays. That way, everyone placing an order will know they won’t receive it in the next 2-3 working days. Similarly, find alternate solutions to make delivery possible for customers. If orders can’t reach by port, opt for fleet transport. Also, keep exploring options to ensure the business isn’t lagging.
Today’s customers want the satisfaction that comes from leaving a brick-and-mortar store. That means they want a product in hand when leaving the store but from the comfort of their homes. The expectations for speedy deliveries are putting businesses under pressure. They must rethink their shipping strategy and integrate intelligent software solutions to optimize the process. Likewise, businesses must keep communication lines open and remove all barriers to delivery.