Seasoned golf fans may remember the story of the 1999 Open at Carnoustie. A French player, mostly unknown to all of the United States, played 71 magnificent holes of golf and approached the final tee with what was thought to be an otherwise unbeatable lead. That man was Jean Van de Velds, and anyone familiar with this story would know that in his last hole at Carnoustie, shot a triple-bogey. This would result in a three-way playoff where he’d lose to Paul Lawrie.
There’s something to learn from Jean Van de Velds’ story. Playing your best for nearly all of a tournament isn’t enough. You have to perform at your best the entire way through. The same can be said for businesses struggling with their order fulfillment. Even if you manage to exceed a customer’s expectations in every other regard, if you fail them in the last mile of delivery, you may find yourself with one less loyal customer.
For those less versed in order fulfillment, last mile delivery describes the final phase of the fulfillment process. This is when a product moves from the fulfillment center or hubs it was being warehoused at to its final point of sale, or the customer. Sounds simple, right? Except last mile delivery has become a crucial issue for businesses operating in the retail space.
Believe it or not, there was a time where last mile delivery ceased to exist. Long before the days of Amazon’s domination in this space, customers would order something from a retail store and would know nothing about the details of how it’d arrive to them. However, times have certainly changed. Largely in part due to Amazon, both B2B and B2C consumers expect unrealistic shipping and fulfillment times from any company they decide to do business with. Some people have even come to expect their products to be delivered within an hour depending on their location.
In order to keep up with the ever-changing demands of customers, last mile delivery today involves sophisticated inventory management systems that work to bring backorders down to zero. These systems require warehousing space spread throughout the country to reduce the distance between product and customer. These systems, coupled with additional delivery options, are meant to be able to accommodate to every preference that a customer may have. In addition, with the help of these systems, customers are better able to track their orders, ensure the quality of shipment, and even work with their carriers to schedule a working delivery time when necessary.
There’s no need to ever feel like Jean Van de Velde when it comes to order fulfillment. Avoid having your customers flock to your competition as they’re able to deliver their products at a more accelerated rate. For more information regarding last mile delivery and how to improve your order fulfillment strategies, be sure to check out the infographic featured alongside this post. Courtesy of WAREHOWZ.