How can SaaS help handle fluctuating demand this holiday season?

Seasonal SaaS Logistics

The holiday season demand is unpredictable. The million dollar question for businesses is—how to ensure a seamless logistics operation, given the unpredictability.  On top of it, a lot of shoppers are now turning to online shopping, making the logistics all the more tougher and competitive. 

The new normal brought about by COVID-19 has lengthened the delivery cycle and increased the parcel volume. These changes have led to a longer peak shipping season leading to shifts in the business strategy. The peak shipping season has impacted  the profitability of retail and e-commerce businesses.

59% of respondents say that they are concerned about not having the resources needed to meet peak customer demand and almost half believe their peak season will bring in less revenue than last year. – GlobalTranz Enterprises, LLC,  A survey of U.S. supply chain leaders, Oct 2020. 

What supply chain executives need are tools that can help them manage the demand while accounting for varied on-ground scenarios. This is where a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering comes in. 

What is SaaS? 

Software-as-a-Service is a method where applications are hosted from a centralized location online (also known as cloud). It is delivered across the internet as a service. It eliminates the requirements of a legacy software that should be updated, installed and run in a local machine. An internet connection and a browser is more than enough to get access to a SaaS software. 

The SaaS provider takes care of performance, security, and maintenance of the software, thereby allowing businesses to focus on other critical functions.

How can SaaS help businesses handle fluctuating customer demand during this holiday season? 

Technology platforms can enable a seamless and cost-effective logistics flow. 

SaaS can help supply chain businesses in the following ways.  

Reduces the last-mile delivery costs 

The major concern for logistics businesses is the last-mile delivery cost

A SaaS solution provides detailed insights of last-mile delivery costs. It provides essential metrics like idling costs, loading costs, driver costs and so on. It helps logistics managers to optimize their delivery operations with limited resources. It improves asset utilization with zero need for in-house IT staffing or upfront capital investments. 

Advanced route planning capabilities

The biggest challenge during the peak season is to optimize planned and on-demand orders concurrently. Drivers will be pushed to meet multiple delivery deadlines and requirements. A small delay in a few deliveries can negatively impact the whole day’s holiday season deliveries.

Efficient route planning is essential to ensure that customers receive orders on-time during peak seasons. 

A SaaS solution enables fleet drivers to meet delivery deadlines and service requirements. It helps to plan thousands of delivery routes accurately while considering real-world constraints like traffic, rider skill set and so on. Its dynamic route planning capability automatically comes up with optimal routes when additional on-demand orders are added. 

SaaS solutions can help businesses plan massive volume parcels effectively while saving fuel costs and time. 

Improve dispatching capabilities 

Fleet managers are on the lookout for drivers especially during the peak season sales. Delivery orders just keep piling up every second during the holiday season. Hence, it is crucial to have an automated dispatching capability which can allocate deliveries to the right drivers and also help manage delivery load effectively. 

A logistics SaaS solution helps managers to assign tasks to various delivery executives/drivers/riders based on their delivery location, skill sets and availability. It easily auto-assigns the ad-hoc deliveries to the delivery agents who are close to the delivery destination. 

Real-time visibility 

Tracking deliveries is hectic during normal business days, but it is more complicated during peak seasons. The sudden spike in volume and customer expectations can be challenging. 

A SaaS  solution enables logistics managers to track fleet movement and on-ground activities. It records and reports unwanted delays, excess wait time, failed, delayed or wrong deliveries. These insights eliminate delivery delays and enhance rider productivity. 

Fleet managers can also  track the overall driver performance. It provides insights on on-time deliveries, idling, unscheduled breaks, breakdowns, and so on. These details help fleet managers  devise strategies so as to manage demand better. 

Active communication through notifications

The communication gap between customers, agents, and managers can degrade the customer experience during this holiday season. 

A SaaS platform enables efficient communication with customers once delivery agents are out for delivery. It helps logistics businesses send a delivery tracking link to customers for tracking deliveries in real-time. It also provides notifications of upcoming deliveries with the location of the customer, thereby eliminating the communication gap.

SaaS platforms help customers to digitally schedule their deliveries based on their availability. This provides a greater control and transparency to customers, thereby improving last mile customer experience.

Enables contactless deliveries

Contactless deliveries have become a necessity in these COVID-19 times. Earlier field agents marked completed deliveries with customer signatures. Today, they have to mark completed deliveries even without the physical presence of customers. 

Electronic Proof of Delivery (photo of the delivery) helps delivery agents validate their completed deliveries. Also, it ensures that fraudulent returns are eliminated and failed deliveries are reduced. 

Conclusion

With the holiday season in full swing, utilizing SaaS technology can go a long way in ensuring  seamless logistics operations. 

Locus’ SaaS solutions can help companies ensure customer delight this season. Give us a try! 

References:

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Buying PatternsCustomer ExperienceLast Mile OptimizationLogistics AutomationLogistics PlanningOn-demand servicesPeak Delivery PeriodsRoute OptimizationSmart Logistics