19 June 20247 minute read

How To Improve Last-Mile Delivery Tracking

improve-last-mile-delivery-tracking

Boost your team’s delivery efficiency with Circuit for Teams, which focuses on smarter final-mile delivery for improved customer experiences.

If you’re a retailer or have an e-commerce business, you’ve probably had your fair share of struggles when it comes to last-mile delivery. This critical stage in the delivery process is often where you directly influence your customer’s satisfaction and your business’s reputation. 

From dealing with unpredictable traffic to planning efficient delivery routes, the complexities of last-mile delivery are numerous and varied.

In this article, you’ll find advice to enhance your last-mile delivery tracking. We’ll discuss how you can use advanced tracking solutions, optimize your delivery routes, and make the most of real-time updates. 

Let’s explore how you can improve your delivery management practices to not only meet but exceed customer expectations.

Key takeaways

  • Tracking the final leg of delivery is key for timely, accurate deliveries.
  • Overcoming final-mile challenges like traffic and route issues enhances delivery efficiency.
  • Using data, such as real-time location and customer feedback, helps optimize deliveries.
  • Strategies like clear communication, analytics, and partnering with logistics experts improve last-mile delivery.
Circuit for Teams is a simple software for optimizing routes with multiple drivers. Click here to start your free 14-day trial.

What is last-mile carrier tracking?

Last-mile carrier tracking is a critical part of your delivery process, especially in the logistics and supply chain industry. 

It refers to the monitoring and managing of the final leg of a product’s journey — the point where it travels from the distribution center to your customer’s doorstep. This stage directly influences how quickly and accurately your customers get their orders.

As a business involved in delivery services, understanding last-mile carrier tracking is important. This system uses technology like GPS tracking and mobile apps to give you real-time updates on where your products are and when they’ll reach your customers. 

A component of last-mile delivery tracking is optimizing the delivery routes, so your drivers take the most efficient paths and your customers stay informed every step of the way.

Why is this route clarity important? First, it directly impacts your customer experience

Customers today expect to know exactly when their orders will arrive. They appreciate getting real-time updates, including tracking information and estimated delivery times. 

Giving this level of detail enhances their experience and builds trust in your brand.

From an operational perspective, last-mile carrier tracking helps you streamline your delivery routes. This can lead to shorter delivery times and reduced operational costs, which are crucial for maintaining profitability in a competitive market. 

When you optimize your delivery routes, you not only save time but also resources, leading to a more efficient delivery process.

Challenges in final-mile tracking 

As you navigate the complexities of final-mile tracking, it’s important to be aware of the common challenges you might face. These obstacles can affect your last-mile delivery process. 

Here’s a breakdown of these challenges and how they can impact your operations:

  • Varying traffic conditions. Your drivers might encounter unpredictable traffic, leading to delays in delivery times. This unpredictability can disrupt your planned delivery schedules and affect customer satisfaction.
  • Inefficient route planning. Without proper route optimization, drivers may take longer routes, increasing fuel costs and reducing the number of deliveries they can complete in a day.
  • Customer availability issues. Sometimes, customers aren’t available to get their packages, leading to failed delivery attempts. This not only frustrates customers but also adds to your costs with repeated delivery attempts.
  • Lack of real-time visibility. If your tracking system doesn’t give real-time updates, both you and your customers are left in the dark. This lack of visibility can lead to customer anxiety and dissatisfaction.
  • Delivery verification challenges. You want to make sure the right package reaches the right customer. Without a reliable proof of delivery (POD) system, there’s a risk of disputes and lost packages.

Importance of data in last-mile delivery tracking

last mile delivery data

Data, particularly in the form of real-time location data, delivery status updates, and customer feedback, plays a big role in improving tracking and decision-making. Here’s how:

  • Real-time location data. This is the backbone of your tracking system. Having access to the real-time location of your delivery vehicles allows you to monitor progress, anticipate delays, and update customers with accurate estimated times of arrival (ETAs). This transparency builds trust and improves customer satisfaction.
  • Delivery status updates. By keeping a record of each stage of the delivery process, you can pinpoint where inefficiencies lie. For instance, if there’s a recurring delay at a particular stage, you can investigate and address the issue. This continuous improvement of your processes leads to more efficient delivery operations.
  • Customer feedback. Gathering feedback after each delivery gives invaluable insights into customer satisfaction and service quality. This information can help you align your service with customer expectations.

By making decisions based on data, you can better manage your delivery routes and schedules. This approach makes your operations more efficient and helps you save on costs like fuel and maintenance.

Better tracking and updates, based on accurate data, can help you maintain a reliable service. This reliability is key to keeping your customers happy.

From your customer’s perspective, they value knowing exactly where their order is and when it will arrive. Real-time updates reduce their waiting and build trust in your service. 

Consistent and reliable deliveries, driven by data, lead to a better experience for your customers, increasing their satisfaction and loyalty to your brand.

6 strategies to improve last-mile delivery tracking

Improving your last-mile delivery tracking involves several strategies that can enhance efficiency and customer satisfaction. Let’s explore them.

Promote communication and transparency 

The key to a positive delivery experience is clear communication. Offering real-time tracking information is essential. 

When customers can see where their package is and when it’s expected to arrive, it builds trust and transparency. Emphasize this aspect in your delivery service by making sure your customers get regular updates through SMS, email, or your mobile app. 

For example, Circuit for Teams allows you to send customers updates through automatic SMS and email notifications. You can customize the communications and give real-time information through dynamic tracking links. 

This level of communication keeps customers informed and reduces the uncertainty often associated with package deliveries.

Optimize route planning and dispatching

Effective route planning and dispatching can lead to timely deliveries. The key is to use technology like route optimization software.

Route optimization software like Circuit for Teams considers critical factors such as current traffic conditions, the total distance of the route, and predetermined delivery windows. 

This means that instead of your delivery drivers taking the same routine paths, the software dynamically adjusts routes based on real-time data.

By optimizing the routes, you reduce the amount of time your drivers spend on the road. This translates to less fuel consumption and lower operational costs. 

And when your drivers have well-planned routes, they can complete more deliveries in a shorter amount of time. This means you can serve more customers without increasing your resources or costs.

Leverage tracking technology 

tracking technology

Integrating advanced technologies like GPS and the Internet of Things (IoT) into your delivery process is key to improving last-mile delivery tracking. 

GPS tracking allows you to monitor your delivery vehicles’ exact location in real time. This means you can track the progress of each delivery, reroute drivers as needed to avoid delays, and offer customers accurate ETA updates.

IoT devices go a step further by connecting various elements of the delivery process. 

For example, sensors in delivery vehicles can give data on vehicle health, driving patterns, and even package conditions. This level of detail helps in proactive maintenance, reducing the risk of vehicle breakdowns that could delay deliveries.

The integration of these technologies offers two main benefits: improved accuracy in tracking and increased efficiency in your delivery operations.

Accurate tracking builds customer trust and satisfaction, as they stay informed about their delivery status. For your business, this technology means smarter decisions, better resource management, and a more reliable and efficient delivery service.

Use predictive analytics 

By analyzing historical data with machine learning algorithms, you gain insights that help forecast demand and optimize delivery routes. This analysis involves looking at past delivery patterns, traffic conditions, and customer ordering trends.

This data-driven approach allows you to predict busy periods, identify potential bottlenecks in your delivery process, and plan accordingly. By understanding these patterns, you can adjust your staffing, allocate resources more effectively, and even pre-plan routes to avoid known traffic issues.

Predictive analytics allow you to be proactive rather than reactive for a smoother delivery process and a better experience for your customers.

Enhance the customer experience 

To increase customer satisfaction, offer various delivery options that cater to different customer preferences, such as choosing specific delivery windows or receiving real-time updates. This allows your customers to feel more in control and informed about the final stage of their package's journey.

Incorporate a system for gathering and acting on customer feedback related to the tracking process. Are your customers finding the tracking information accurate and easy to understand? Do they feel informed throughout the delivery process? 

Their insights can help you fine-tune your tracking system and communication methods.

Work with third-party logistics providers 

Working with third-party logistics providers (3PL) gives you access to better tracking systems and delivery management expertise. Essentially, you’re tapping into advanced technology and know-how that might be too complex or costly to develop on your own.

These services have systems in place for real-time tracking and efficient route planning, which means you can offer more accurate delivery updates to your customers. Their experience in handling various delivery scenarios can also help streamline your operations, making your delivery process smoother and more reliable.

More precise tracking can lead to happier customers and fewer complaints. It could also mean your team spends less time solving delivery issues and more time on other important tasks.

Improve final-mile delivery with Circuit for Teams

The right tools and strategies can make a difference in overcoming common challenges in last-mile logistics.

Fortunately, Circuit for Teams offers several features to help streamline last-mile delivery tracking. 

It allows easy addition of stops with flexible data fields and instantly calculates the optimal route with a single click. Users can customize stops quickly, setting priority levels, POD types, ETAs, and more. 

The software also organizes deliveries by zones, automatically allocating stops, routes, and drivers. Additional functionalities include uploading stop data from various sources, including a driver app and spreadsheets.

While your drivers spend more time making deliveries, you can keep end customers satisfied with the most up-to-date tracking information. 

Sign up for Circuit for Teams today!

About the author

Heather Reinblatt
Heather ReinblattContributor

Heather Reinblatt is a managing editor currently living in St. Louis, Missouri. She spends her free time reading, trying new recipes, and cuddling her cat Paisley. You can find Heather on LinkedIn.

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Logistics map interface showing the New York afternoon delivery run with route lines and list of addresses