ECA A Delivery Industry Alliance
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For people working in and serving the delivery industry who want to make deeper business connections.

Providing information, education, referrals, and the opportunity to network in order to form logistical partnerships between carriers and shippers Assisting carriers and shippers in taking advantage of the new technology and transportation solutions Build awareness of regional and specialized carriers as a viable supply chain alternative Build awareness of our vendors'​ products and services, and support partnerships among all mem

How real-time Package tracking affects Last Mile Delivery

Helping productivity and customer experience meet.

Recent adoption of real-time tracking has been fueled by shippers and their customers, who now expect clear visibility into a package’s whereabouts. Online shoppers demand a seamless experience from checkout to delivery, emphasizing transparency throughout the package’s journey. This heightened demand for visibility mirrors the convenience and immediacy we’ve grown accustomed to in other aspects of our digital lives. Whether it’s tracking a rideshare in real-time or counting down the minutes until a food delivery arrives, advanced prediction models and technologies have spoiled us with to-the-minute precision.

From that point of view, the logistics industry is still behind the curve when it comes to real-time package tracking. Consumers, at best, receive basic updates upon scanning events—such as notifications that their order is in transit or out for delivery. While knowing the location of a package is certainly beneficial, what truly matters to most is knowing precisely when their eagerly anticipated items will arrive at their doorstep. This gap between expectation and reality not only highlights a pressing need for improvement in real-time tracking but also presents an opportunity for last-mile carriers to enhance productivity, elevate the customer experience and gain a competitive advantage.

The complexity of making delivery time predictions

Gig economy companies like Uber and Doordash are already expanding to cover more services, including package delivery. These companies have mastered the art of real-time tracking and delivery time prediction. Now, making predictions for a route that only goes from A to B is relatively straightforward. The parcel delivery sector faces a more daunting challenge as it deals with multi-stop routes. On a route with 100 or more stops, even minor delays can ripple through the system, throwing off ETA predictions for subsequent deliveries.

While basic delivery time estimates can be crafted using GPS tracking and static route optimization, these systems lack flexibility. Any deviation by the driver, such as an unexpected pickup, renders initial ETA predictions obsolete. 

Amazon acknowledges this limitation with a disclaimer for its live map tracking, noting: “Sometimes, a driver may need to change their route. You will continue to see the map but won’t see the number of stops. You can still expect your package that day.” This creates frustration for all parties involved. 

Overcoming this demands flexible, dynamic technology that adjusts in real time to the unpredictable nature of delivery routes. Adaptability is key to extending the precision of advanced real-time tracking to the more complex parcel delivery sector.

Gaining a competitive advantage in the market

To strengthen supply chain resilience and reduce risk, shippers are diversifying their carrier networks. This shift not only opens growth avenues for regional carriers but also challenges them in a competitive and consolidating market. To stay relevant, regional carriers must find ways to stand out. As a result, there has been an increase in demand for logistics partners with cutting-edge solutions to enhance efficiency and improve customer satisfaction. In response, forward-thinking carriers are positioning themselves as tech-centric companies. Adopting AI-powered real-time tracking technologies can solidify this tech-forward reputation.

Driving efficiency in last mile delivery

Yet, differentiation is only part of the equation. The real question is how real-time tracking enhances productivity on the final mile. When applied effectively, real-time tracking unlocks substantial productivity improvements. The rich data it generates offers unprecedented optimization opportunities, facilitating data-driven operational decisions. But how exactly does this process unfold?

Next-gen ETA prediction models

The real advantage of real-time visibility lies in turning data into precise delivery predictions. By combining historical route data with real-time scan events, advanced algorithms can now predict delivery times within a one-hour window. ETAs are dynamic, meaning they adapt to the live information being fed into the predictive model. It’s a game-changer that doesn’t rely on GPS tracking but offers a straightforward solution that requires no operational changes.

Additionally, real-time updates on delivery day keep customers well-informed, allowing them to better prepare for the arrival of their packages. This enhanced predictability is especially crucial for deliveries requiring signatures, such as alcohol or pharmaceuticals, where accurate timing can significantly reduce wait times and improve efficiency at each stop.

Dynamic route optimization and real-time package tracking

For maximum precision and to fully leverage real-time tracking, integrating the prediction model with dynamic route optimization is advisable. A route planner that doesn’t just plan stops optimally but also continuously recalibrates and refreshes to adapt to unexpected challenges ensures top-notch precision and productivity improvements.

Implementing real-time tracking alongside dynamic routing has shown remarkable results: our customers increased their stops per hour, boosted on-time delivery rates, and saw more successful job completions. Customer claims dropped by up to 25%, and WISMO (Where Is My Order?) inquiries decreased by up to 10%. Additionally, clients integrating their rating systems with platforms like Net Promoter Score and Trustpilot saw improved scores shortly after implementation. This demonstrates that effective tracking is the key to aligning productivity with superior customer experience.

Conclusion

AI-driven technological advances are driving innovation in real-time tracking, setting the stage for carriers to transform last-mile delivery.Imagine carriers having the ability to offer shippers a service similar to Uber’s live map tracking, which promises to significantly improve the customer experience and streamline last-mile operations. This breakthrough is on track to quickly become the industry norm.

Thank you contributing Authors’ Denis Darce  Partnerships Manager at Bettermile and  Clara Kemme Marketing Manager at Bettermile.

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ECA: A – Delivery Industry Alliance
3939 Monroe St
Carlsbad, CA 92008

Phone: (703) 361-1058
Fax: (703) 361-1058
eca@expresscarriers.org

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