Due to recent changes in supply chains, grocery delivery is facing unprecedented challenges. In order to survive in the short term and grow sustainably in the long term, it is essential to adapt quickly. This applies to the store-to-customer, distribution center-to-store, and distribution center-to-customer parts of the supply chain. If you refuse or are unable to manage this transformation effectively, you will not only miss out on short-term profits, but you may also damage your long-term growth prospects.
1. Final Mile Complexity
With growing demand come the need for more resources and faster deliveries. However, in reality, many companies have had to lay off or furlough employees. Additionally, measures to promote social distancing in fulfillment centers and delivery locations have extended delivery times and added more pressure on dispatchers and drivers. As a result, last-mile operations have become more complex.
Delivery planning has become an increasingly difficult task for the existing workforce. Changed planning patterns can also make planners' decades of accumulated knowledge outdated. Therefore, enterprise-grade cloud-native delivery planning, scheduling, and routing applications should be introduced.
2. Route Planning Development
In order to identify and respond to potential threats, inconsistencies, or disruptions that could affect fulfillment and customer experience, it is imperative to have clear visibility into the supply chain. This can be accomplished by establishing centralized route planning and dispatch operations, which can be managed and controlled using an integrated planning, scheduling, and visibility platform.
3. Planning & Fulfillment Operations
Grocers are facing a fundamental problem in the wake of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic: how to ensure customers can buy what they need quickly and efficiently, and how to keep them updated on the status of their orders. Grocers need to be able to use all of the resources available to them (including store and distribution center networks) to optimize order fulfillment in a way that is quick, safe, and cost-efficient. This might mean optimizing parameters like store capacity, stock-outs, shipping cost, processing cost, and coordinating across all possible fulfillment nodes, which could include stores, distribution centers, dark stores, third-party logistics providers, additional fulfillment centers, or even temporary hyper-local stores/fulfillment centers.
The current system for allocating orders from distribution centers to stores or final customers needs to be much better planned. Having a strong dispatch management process that uses the latest cloud-based technologies can give you a clear view of what's happening across the distribution network. This way, you can make sure customers can buy what they need and see what their fulfillment options are. This transparency is important so that grocers can respond effectively to sudden increases in demand.
4. Safety of Drivers and Customers
As online shopping continues to grow rapidly, stores are looking for ways to limit human contact and increase efficiency. This can be done by using technologies like store or curbside pickup, cashless payment, self-checkout, and restocking store shelves during off-hours. These solutions require contactless point-of-delivery and payment technologies, as well as an automated customer notification system.
5. Room for New Technologies
When choosing a cloud-based technology, it is important to choose one that is forward-looking and has data analytics, cloud functionality and end-to-end visibility built in at the core level. The route planning and dispatch functionality should also be customized to reflect the specific needs of your business and take into account real-life situations and constraints. Another important attribute to look for is a high level of interconnectivity with the company's existing tech ecosystem, as well as easy customizability.
Did you know that Norma Live can help you achieve your grocery delivery objectives?
Norma Live is a digital route planner powered by AI that combines Machine Learning and Evolutionary Computing. It can be used as a standalone tool or integrated into your existing system via APIs.
Norma Live automates and streamlines home deliveries by tracking delivery times, branch performance, individual driver performance, and overall operational efficiency.
For more information on how NORMA LIVE can improve your grocery logistics operations, please request a one-on-one live demo, and one of our experts will gladly call you back to discuss your specific needs.