8 November 2017

High-touch logistics aren’t out of reach: VIDEO

High-touch is a term used to describe a value-based, customer-driven approach to logistics. It is a type of logistics solution that is critical to modern ecommerce and omnichannel supply chains, particularly when it comes to the final mile.

High-touch services however aren’t just reserved for the luxury retail goods of the world. We have seen over the last few years that the demand for high-touch logistics, particularly in the final or ‘last’ mile, is more apparent than ever.

Just take the medical and pharmaceutical world and recent news about Kite Pharma’s cancer gene therapy treatment. Treatments of this kind are poised to revolutionise cancer treatment and mark a real turning point in the future of medicine, and yet, the solution brings a catalogue of challenges for logistics.

We can see in this recent MedCityNews article the level of high-touch detail that is required to successfully move these therapies from source: “[the] therapies must be transported on time and in pristine condition both to and from the manufacturer and ultimately to the treatment site for patient administration.”

High-touch or ‘white glove’ services can extend to all kinds of industries, particularly those that use high tech equipment or parts such as the energy, printing, engineering or manufacturing markets, and demand is on the rise.

Yet, while the bigger e-commerce players may have perfected high-touch last mile logistics, many traditional logistics providers will often struggle to provide this level of certainty and consistency for the end customer. And yet, the ability to overcome these challenges, is more pertinent than ever.

So what are the challenges?

The intricacies of high-touch logistics is perhaps the biggest challenge providers can face. Many brands that require this type of service not only require a skilled unpack on delivery, but they may also need precise assembly support, specialised install teams or even a highly trained customer-service team to manage the whole process from start to finish.

A lack of flexibility can also prove difficult in delivering this type of solution. With fixed routes and service offerings, many providers can quickly become unstuck at the delivery side of things. This is because a rigid route framework and pre-set delivery timeframes does not always mean it’s possible to meet the demands of these high-touch requirements; getting products to the customer at the exact time they want it and in a way that they want it.

Cost is another major factor with the majority of customers, even in the B2B world, demanding white glove level of service, but unwilling to pay the additional rates. Many call this the ‘Amazon Effect’. This ecommerce giant has set a precedent for all industries to follow, and yet in reality, it can be difficult to replicate cost effectively.

The final challenge is capacity. Not only in terms of the number of providers offering the whole package required for this type of service (which can be limited) but also their ability to offer a sizable and scalable operation that supports a business’s need for the short and the long term. This relates closely to the subject of consistency which plays a vital role in delivering a high-touch solution. As well as achieving exceptional service in the first instance, brands also need to ensure that as they grow, this level of service is maintained too.  

How can we respond to these challenges?

Opt for a personalised solution

High touch solutions need to be focused on consumer needs and this means you need a personalised approach to your logistics. So whether your customers are demanding faster deliveries, smaller delivery windows, bespoke packaging or even a specific level of customer service support, a high touch approach needs to be embodied throughout the supply chain. In these circumstances, this is when many opting for service-led provider like Carousel, which designs its solutions around its client’s customers so there’s no compromises.

Flexible delivery options

Traditional standards of logistics and delivery, put simply, cannot meet the needs of all your customers. Flexible delivery options however is an integral part to achieving high touch logistics solutions, particularly because the last mile is often the only part of the delivery process that customer’s actually experience.

Only by selecting an ‘unconventional’ approach to the last mile can customer demands really be met. This means making this process as easy as possible for the customer and selecting a solution that incorporates modular-style delivery options such as in-store collections, remote lockers plus in-boot and in-room delivery services.

Opt for the latest in logistics technology software

Leveraging the right technology as part of your strategy is key. Not only can it help with better route optimisation (and therefore quicker delivery times, less delays and unnecessary fuel costs) but it can also empower all the stakeholders with the information they require meaning better brand experience overall.

Furthermore, by selecting the right technology or choosing a provider that has a technology-led approach, you will benefit from more visibility across your supply chain, plus the solid foundation to scale-up operations effectively and consistently.

To take a sneak peek behind the scenes of our UK high-touch warehouse, watch the video below: