How to run an eco-friendly delivery service

Running an eco-friendly delivery service is easier said than done but we have assembled a full guide to what you need to know.

How to run an eco-friendly delivery service

The rise of e-commerce platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce is presenting a challenge for package delivery both in terms of logistics and in terms of being eco-friendly. It also necessitates the development of new solutions to meet customers' demands for more and faster deliveries. Fresh, driverless air and ground vehicles are being developed and tested to deliver goods and services in retail, grocery, and healthcare.

Most importantly, setting clear sustainability targets that incorporate a more environmentally-friendly last mile is a vital step in combating climate change. We at SmartRoutes promote sustainability through our delivery management software.

Last-mile is the least eco-friendly delivery leg

Customer expectations regarding their delivery experiences have transformed the way firms approach their delivery and fulfilment operations. Customers want full visibility on their orders as they make their way to them, they want super-fast delivery and they want it for free.

While meeting these expanding expectations is becoming increasingly difficult for businesses, improving route optimization and driving long-term, sustainable growth is critical.

What exactly is the last mile problem?

The primary last mile problem is the expense. Because the last mile accounts for 50% of overall transportation expenses, shipping companies must impose surcharges. Simultaneously, shippers must pass on some of the delivery costs to customers, a strategy that may jeopardize their appeal in the massive and competitive retail and eCommerce marketplaces.

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Delivery man cross checking the order details on the package and the delivery management system

Challenges faced by  sustainable last mile delivery teams

Increasing supply chain visibility and data

This critical component of any delivery operation is current data on the exact location of orders and related inventory. It is also the number of open orders from each eCommerce site, the corresponding internal processes, and the internal or external fleets available to make the deliveries.

Businesses will get critical insights into optimizing delivery operations by having data on the delivery flow and consumer data. These advancements will allow organizations to provide the speed, flexibility, and convenience that their customers expect.

Multi-fleet management and crowdsourced fleet management

Businesses that don't do delivery fleet management rely on fleets other than their own to confront a distinct set of issues that must be addressed. This is especially important given that external delivery employees are the ones that make the vital final mile contact with customers.

Businesses that use several crowdsourced fleets must discover ways to keep complete control over the entire delivery process to meet their business objectives for branding and quality of service. Only by maintaining this level of control will they meet and surpass their customers' delivery expectations.

Eco-friendly delivery service while keeping costs under control

It is clear everyone now wants a green last mile delivery solution. While delivery companies must improve their customers' delivery experiences, they must also cut related expenses to retain a good ROI. While scaling and expanding to offer a range of delivery models (scheduled, on-demand, etc.) causes a slew of issues throughout the delivery ecosystem.

Taking delivery management seriously

To enable cost-effective same-day delivery, one option is Continuous Delivery, that is the capacity to constantly add parcel collections and deliveries to a driver's route throughout the day. For example, a driver might begin their day by picking up 16 packages at a local fashion store, then deliver 10 parcels to local clients before picking up an extra 8 packages at a local general retail store.

This continuous strategy will increase route density, improve fleet utilization, and lower delivery costs. Carriers must utilize four things to allow Continuous Delivery and meet consumer demand for faster, more flexible delivery. They are:

Advance Forecasting

Intelligent algorithms are utilized to anticipate collection and delivery locations and order time. These projected orders are fed into the route optimization engine, which uses them to enhance driver response times, boost collections and deliveries on each multi stop route, and lower transportation costs.

Delivery Optimization

Dynamic route optimization is used to optimize and re-optimize routes throughout the day to respond to and arrange incoming collections and deliveries across the network promptly and efficiently. This keeps drivers on a more efficient path while also allowing them to adapt quickly to changes during the day by exploiting real-time data.

Insightful observations

Machine learning and sophisticated analytics skills will be used to assess delivery performance and suggest possibilities to improve route density and delivery efficiency. These can include extra features that provide merchants with enhanced transparency over the end-to-end delivery process, allowing them to monitor carrier performance and choose the best delivery choice among their possibilities.

Real-Time Tracking

Customers have gained visibility and control over the end-to-end delivery experience by using real-time tracking GPS breadcrumbs and scan events. This includes real-time tracking and tracing, delivery notifications, adjustable delivery windows, and direct connection with the delivery driver or customer service representative. These real-time customer updates, along with all real-time data updates, are then pushed back into the route optimization engine.

Autonomous Vehicles and Drone Deliveries

Last-mile delivery and logistics solutions can be extremely useful in enabling future-ready and revolutionary technology. Smart firms have already begun testing self-driving vehicles by delivering food on college campuses.

Also, fast-food companies use drone technology to provide food to customers through their balconies and windows. It won't be long before robot experiments are launched as well.

Improving your eco-friendly delivery service

Delivery management is all about process optimization, whether you're a tiny business just getting started or a multinational conglomerate. Delivery operations continuously attempt to reduce costs by completing more deliveries with fewer resources (person-hours, cars, fuel) while still providing excellent customer service. Delivery managers use various tools and tactics to improve their KPIs and scale up their operations.

Improve your route planning

Route optimization is an essential aspect of delivery management. You can send items quickly and affordably if you have the correct technology in place to find the most efficient route. With the help of delivery management software you can plan your journeys fast and effortlessly.

Automated dispatch

Running a large-scale, on-demand delivery service necessitates some degree of automation of the dispatching process. Unlike planned deliveries, which can benefit from forward-thinking route optimization, on-demand firms must be prepared to dispatch fresh orders on the fly.

Automating dispatch frees up a delivery manager's valuable time, allowing them to focus on addressing exceptions and assuring customer satisfaction.

Use Route Management Software

The most incredible method to improve the efficiency of your delivery operations is to employ route management software. This program includes the capabilities you need to streamline your deliveries and optimize the delivery path. This technique ensures that deliveries are completed on time and allows you to plan the route to save fuel and time.

You no longer have to go back and forth to accomplish your deliveries by coordinating the delivery depending on a specified area. You can get real-time information on route optimization software of traffic statistics and road incidents, allowing you to plan an alternate route while you drive.

Reducing liability expenses

By tracking the parameters of your fleet and the conduct of your drivers, businesses may typically cut insurance prices by sending this data to their brokers.

Communication within the team and with customers

The dispatchers would assign jobs to the drivers, who would then complete them. However, in the real world, it is vital to foster fluid communication among team members. When a driver is having trouble finding a dropoff location or contacting a customer, the first call they normally make is to their dispatcher for assistance. This instruction is an essential aspect of the delivery management process.

If you're looking for eco-friendly delivery management software, you can try a 7-day free trial of SmartRoutes or speak to one of our team today. We can get you up and running in minutes and help you to make the most of it from the outset.

Frequently asked questions

1. What makes a delivery service ‘eco-friendly’?


An eco-friendly delivery service focuses on minimizing its environmental impact by adopting practices that reduce carbon emissions, optimize resource usage, and prioritize sustainability. This includes using green vehicles, employing efficient routes, embracing renewable energy, and implementing eco-conscious packaging.

2. How can a delivery service reduce its carbon footprint?


To reduce its carbon footprint, a delivery service can employ strategies such as optimizing delivery routes to minimize distance traveled, utilizing electric or hybrid vehicles, incorporating renewable energy sources in operations, and adopting fuel-efficient transportation methods.

3. Are there specific ways to encourage customers to choose eco-friendly delivery options?


Encouraging customers to choose eco-friendly options can involve initiatives like clearly highlighting the environmental benefits, offering incentives such as discounts for using sustainable packaging, providing transparency about the eco-friendly practices adopted, and implementing a carbon-offset program where a portion of profits contributes to environmental projects.

4. What role does technology play in creating an eco-friendly delivery service?


Technology plays a pivotal role by enabling route optimization software that minimizes fuel consumption and time spent on deliveries. GPS tracking helps monitor and streamline routes, while data analytics provide insights to further optimize operations.

5. What are the challenges and benefits of transitioning to an eco-friendly delivery model?


Challenges include initial investment costs, sourcing sustainable materials, and potential logistical adjustments. However, the benefits encompass improved brand reputation, cost savings in the long term, meeting customer demands for sustainability, and contributing positively to environmental conservation efforts.

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