“Companies influenced by consumers and Amazon”

Few companies are paying enough attention to the last mile, according to Alan Banks, Area VP EMEA of Bringg, in his keynote at the Savant Supply Chain Congress on 9 May in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Companies like Amazon are setting the standard and creating new expectations. It is essential for companies to keep pace with the changes and realign their businesses with the new customer demands.

The market is changing rapidly, and so too are consumer expectations. Companies like Amazon are disrupting the established order and setting a new standard. In order to remain relevant to customers, companies need to take action, especially in the area of last-mile activities.

According to Alan Banks (photo below), it is crucial for companies to understand that their customers expect even more than what they are currently being offered: “Customers not only expect easier ordering, but they also want more transparency, more control and a real experience.” In order to meet these expectations, the last mile is a critical differentiator in terms of both brand experience and revenue opportunity. Delivery times are no longer one day or half a day, but just an hour or even 20 minutes – and within that delivery window, customers want to know precisely when their orders will arrive. “Even within that time, people have a life,” Banks joked.

The Amazon era

In order to capitalize on changing customer expectations, companies will increasingly have to offer more options. “In particular, real-time visibility over the last few miles is crucial to be able to cope in the new Amazon era,” said Banks.

According to him, companies need to focus on five pillars, including by collecting qualitative data about the customer. There should be real-time insight into the availability of stock and the stock must also be held close to the customer’s location to facilitate faster delivery. “You can increase your turnover by offering more GEO options or by creating other business models,” added Banks. The right information about the customer – such as location and needs – enables the supply chain design to be optimized.

Data as a key performance indicator

By standardizing the analysis of data, it is possible to create a single source of truth. For example, HelloFresh is revolutionary in the classic food supply chain. “In order to initiate changes, an in-depth investigation of processes and data pipelines was necessary,” said Clemence Chee, Senior Director of Operations Business Intelligence at HelloFresh. But the company now knows exactly who the stakeholders are and who makes the products.

“The recording of events, logs and standardized APIs provides more transparency, which has many advantages,” continued Chee. Now that it is possible to share fundamental data between teams, decisions can be made quickly, for example, and costs have been reduced by 20%.

Once companies have visibility of both their own supply chain and the customer’s expectations, they can take targeted action. Thanks to accessible and usable data, companies have the time and the opportunity to explore the world of data-related possibilities. Banks had a clear message for the delegates: “Act on the basis of data-driven insights so that you can monitor and optimize the existing KPIs.”