Last Mile Carrier Tracking: What it is and Why it Matters

Today’s customers expect fast and accurate shipping wherever they shop online.

In fact, delivery speed often outranks free shipping in customer value points, with 54% of customers even willing to pay for same-day shipping.

From the moment they place an order, 97% of consumers expect to receive order tracking, shipping updates, and full visibility into the whereabouts of their package.

To meet these expectations, technologies are continually getting more and more advanced. At the same time, however, customers’ expectations are rising as well.

For this reason, the last leg of delivery continues to be one of the most challenging and important parts of supply chain management. Logistics companies are having to move rapidly and adapting to meet this demand.

In this article, we’ll look at the logistics of last mile carrier tracking, and how businesses can employ software to do a lot of the heavy lifting.

 

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What is Last Mile Carrier Tracking?

Last mile carrier tracking refers to two different types of tracking technologies.

  1. Last mile tracking for customers: gives customers real-time insights into their delivery.
  2. Last mile tracking for carriers: gives businesses a holistic view of delivery logistics and empowers them to be customer-centric.

What is a Last Mile Carrier?

The process of last mile delivery consists of transporting a package from a hub to its end destination as quickly and cost-effectively as possible—last mile carriers are the shipping companies who do the transporting.

Some examples of last mile carriers are FedEx, UPS, and USPS. Last mile carriers, also known as "delivery service providers", can include regional courier companies as well. These companies are responsible for fulfilling that final leg of delivery.

Last mile carriers are constantly looking for new ways to improve efficiencies and shorten that last mile.


1. Last Mile Tracking for Customers

Customers today have the power to research companies, read reviews online, and find the lowest prices and shipping costs before making a purchase.

So, businesses need to make sure they’re providing an exceptional delivery experience to attract, acquire, and retain customers.

Not only that, but customers’ expectations have gone up as well. They want real-time information about their order, including:

  • Driver tracking
  • Driver ETA
  • Ability to talk to the driver
  • Ability to rate their experience

These expectations aren’t limited to e-commerce businesses either. They apply to a wide range of industries (think: Uber, Grubhub, Instacart).

Last mile tracking software gives customers all of the things they’re looking for in a delivery service. Here are some examples of just how software can help, with examples from Onfleet.

SMS alerts when a delivery is on its way

Onfleet lets customers know when their delivery has started, when it should be expected, and when it’s about to arrive with automatic text messages.

Onfleet's delivery notifications for customers
Onfleet's delivery notifications for customers


Ability to communicate directly with the driver

Customers can call or message the driver with one tap from their mobile device. Not only does this make the customer happy, but it benefits the driver too as it helps ensure the customer will be available at the time and place of delivery.

Onfleet's customer communication tools
Onfleet's tracking page from the customer's perspective

Real-time tracking on a map via a mobile phone

Onfleet’s clean, responsive interface provides customers with live driver location updates, including accurate ETAs.

Onfleet's real-time driver tracking for customers
Onfleet's real-time driver tracking for customers

Ability to rate the experience

Customers are able to rate their experience which helps them feel empowered and heard, as well as provides valuable feedback to the carriers.

Onfleet's customer feedback collection
Onfleet's customer feedback collection

What do all these things have in common? Visibility—customers want full visibility into their delivery, which is supported by data.

Here were the most common elements customers expect to see during their delivery experience:

(Source)

Visibility is key to building a customer-centric logistics strategy.

 

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2. Last Mile Tracking for Carriers

Carriers need to ensure their internal operations have full visibility throughout the supply chain, especially during the last mile.

Last mile visibility requires:

Tracking packages once they are loaded onto trucks

Providing customers with real-time tracking lets you proactively give them predictive ETAs as well as automatic alerts when unexpected delays happen. Customers stay informed through regular notifications throughout the delivery process, reassuring them that their package is on its way.

Tracking packages once they are loaded onto trucks with Onfleet

Real-time tracking of orders and vehicles

Customers want to know where their stuff is, and you want to know where your drivers are. With last mile tracking software, you both know exactly where your drivers are at all times.  With Onfleet, you can search using text, time, or status to find drivers, customers, or delivery tasks, or filter by time, team, or delivery status.  

Proof of delivery

Drivers can easily collect proof of delivery through a mobile app, including photos, signatures, barcodes, and notes, making verifying deliveries a cinch. Not only does this cover your driver in the event that packages go missing, but it helps prevent fraudulent loss claims as well.

An example of proof of delivery from Onfleet
An example of proof of delivery from Onfleet

Understanding customer satisfaction

Clearly view and analyze key performance indicators like success rates, feedback scores, distance traveled and more. Data can be segmented by teams, drivers, week, or even hour of the day and easily exported for record-keeping or sharing. Use this information to make tweaks to your last mile delivery process as needed.

Onfleet’s analytics dashboard
Onfleet’s analytics dashboard

Remember: full visibility isn’t just beneficial for customers, but for carriers as well, especially during the last mile. It allows businesses to ensure they truly are supporting a customer-centric supply chain.

It’s not just about visibility either, though. Last mile tracking can help speed up operations and increase profit margins by making businesses more efficient.


Last Mile Tracking Helps Customers and Carriers

Last mile tracking gives customers the visibility and sense of control they now expect from their delivery services. Any business that delivers goods and services directly to end-customers can benefit from providing last mile carrier tracking.

To reiterate, last mile tracking is important for both customers and carriers. While visibility is important to everyone, last mile tracking is about more than that. It’s about creating great delivery experiences.

Onfleet is the perfect solution for successful last-mile carrier tracking. Start your 14-day free trial today and see for yourself.

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