How To Avoid Packages That Are “Two Weeks From Everywhere”: Last-Mile Delivery Solutions

In the Coen Brother’s film O Brother, Where Art Thou, Ulysses Everett McGill is on the run from the law and hoping to return home to reunite with his family. A series of misfortunes leaves Ulysses with a broken-down car, leading a scene with a general goods store in rural Mississippi. Not only will the part take two weeks to arrive, the store doesn’t stock Ulysses‘ preferred brand of pomade. 

The shop keeper could always order Ulysses’ pomade, but like the engine part, it’ll take two weeks to arrive. Ulysses laments that the small town he’s ended up in is a “geographical oddity,” a place that is “two weeks from everywhere.” Apart from being a memorable scene in the film, this encounter also offers some insight into the impact logistics has on a customer’s purchasing decision — lack of availability due to a logistics issue has an enormous impact on the consumer— in this case leading them to find alternative transportation and with an inferior pomade.   

“lack of availability due to a logistics issue has an enormous impact on the consumer”

While modern customers are no longer limited to what’s in stock at the local general store, delivery logistics remains a powerful factor in purchasing decisions. Customers desire deliveries that are affordable, fast, and reliable. Increased demand leads to increased stops, which in turn leads to more complex routes and ends with more time and money needing to be spent on planning those routes and making deliveries. 

The complexity and costliness of last mile delivery doesn’t end with the costs associated with route planning. Financial issues associated with increased routes include the costs of paying delivery drivers, fuel, and vehicle maintenance. Along with increased operating costs, more complex routes increase the likelihood of late or incomplete deliveries, leading to canceled orders and general customer dissatisfaction. A significant majority of customers reported that a negative delivery experience would strongly influence their decision to purchase elsewhere in the future. To adapt to the increased delivery demands, companies should evaluate their current logistics operations and consider what services can be used to improve their delivery services, ensuring their customers don’t feel like they’re two weeks from everywhere. 

Vehicle Route Optimization (VRO), third-party delivery drivers, and autonomous delivery vehicles can provide solutions to the last-mile delivery problem. VRO implements Artificial Intelligence to better optimize route planning, allowing deliveries to be made in the least amount of time or with the least amount of distance traveled. This can allow a business to save on gas and vehicle maintenance, while maintaining delivery efficiency. While delivery may be more associated with urban environments, VRO also offers delivery solutions in more rural areas. Rural areas may feel like they are two weeks from everywhere, but with VRO deliveries don’t have to be.  

Third-party delivery drivers can be a useful solution to meet increased delivery demands without the costs associated with hiring a full-time delivery driver. Utilizing third-party delivery drivers offers business owners a flexible solution to changing delivery demands. If all in-house delivery drivers are busy and a critical order comes in — a high-profit purchase from a priority customer, or the component needed for the getaway car, for example — third-party delivery drivers can fulfill that delivery on-demand. Autonomous delivery robots also supply a solution to increased delivery while keeping associated costs low. Like with third-party delivery drivers, robots decrease costs associated with full-time delivery employees. (Robots are also powered by electricity, decreasing fuel costs!)  

“Utilizing third-party delivery drivers offers business owners a flexible solution to changing delivery demands.”

Interplai offers a collaborative smart logistics platform, providing VRO, third-party driver sourcing, and autonomous delivery robots as needed. Whether a business needs help optimizing delivery routes, matching delivery demands with third-party drivers to get a car part delivered to a customer located far from a typical delivery route, or stepping into the future with automated delivery robots to deliver the right brand of pomade at the last minute, Interplai provides a competitively priced solution.  

For more information, or to contact Interplai, please email at: 

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Collaboration is at the very heart of  Interplai. We are looking to use software, robotics and autonomous vehicle technology to solve a big problem by facilitating collaboration in new ways at every step along the way.  Let’s Work Together.

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