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Delivery Logistics

Building an Agile Delivery Operation

Learn how to build an agile delivery operation. So create a flexible last mile that fulfills more orders dynamically and generates more profit.

This is a complete look at how to build an agile delivery operation.

In this new post, you’ll see what agility can do for your delivery. Including:

Plus, we’ll throw in a super useful hint that you can try out straight away.

(But more on that later)

Right now, if you want to get more out of your delivery, agility will get you there. And this article will help you get started.

So without any more delays, let’s jump in.

What is an agile delivery operation?

An agile delivery operation is a modern approach to delivery.

It lets you adapt to change, and improve the speed and efficiency of your activities even at scale.

This kind of strategy gives you the ability to:

  • Deliver products or services faster than before;
  • Divert resources in line with demand;
  • Plan deliveries on the go and in real-time;
  • Increase output and performance (KPIs);
  • Meet new customer and market standards;
  • Gain a competitive edge.

Creating an agile delivery also lets you react to the reality of day-to-day delivery management.

Doing so makes it possible to cut costs while maximizing the bottom line.

Adopting this strategy to your delivery planning right now enables you to build an agile delivery early on, and drive agility at scale once you grow.

But this doesn’t happen overnight.

So, before you can do that, let’s take a look at what it means to be agile.

What makes a delivery agile?

Achieving agility is a complex undertaking. There is a lot that goes into it.

In fact, a research survey suggests there are no less than five dimensions to agility:

  • Alertness or the ability to discover market changes, opportunities, and risks. It lets you observe different stages of the delivery operation, identify trends or disruptions, and respond to them accordingly.

  • Accessibility or the ability to access relevant information that lets you make effective decisions. It requires you to connect the entire supply chain to the same channel of communication so that data can freely flow up and down the delivery network in real-time.

  • Decisiveness or the ability to make firm decisions based on the information at hand. Decisive decision-making at each stage of the delivery lifecycle cuts the time it takes to act on incoming data. It also lets each of your teams make the best call for maximum benefit to your organization.

  • Speed or the ability to quickly carry out decisions and actions based on data or changing conditions. Without swift action, all your other efforts to create an agile delivery operation fall short.

  • Flexibility or the ability to adjust intentions and operations and adjust them to the general strategy. Keep in mind that your delivery is only as flexible as your capacities allow it. When demand exceeds your capacity, for example, it’s time to scale your operations rather than push them over their breaking point.

But that’s not all.

Planning your strategy around these five dimensions is just the first step to obtaining agility.

There are still a few more steps you will need to take.

How to build an agile delivery operation?

Agile transformation touches every part of delivery operations.

And that means centering a strategy around the structure, process, people, and technology in your company.

One doesn’t work without the others.

But once you reach this goal, agile delivery allows you to adjust the entire operation to your actions and decisions.

And let you take full advantage of opportunities that create value for the service.

Here’s a breakdown of what you need to do for each element of your delivery:

#1 Structure

  • Commit to a mission-oriented approach to structure. Put the needs of your operations ahead of your goals.

  • Evaluate locations in your supply chain. Select the best sites and change those that don’t fit the area your operations cover.

  • Evaluate and rightsize your workforce. Build roles and responsibilities that minimize office input and streamline decision making.

  • Simplify the reporting structure. Make it easier for your staff to report progress and performance during day-to-day operations.

#2 Process

  • Look at ways to free up time for your teams. Give them space to focus some of their attention on tasks that create value.

  • Link different processes to enable collaboration. Create methods that allow you to distribute resources between functions and teams.

  • Center the planning and decision-making processes around quick trials and tests. Even the best laid out plans fail, but you can also improve on your mistakes.

  • Manage performance based on the outcome. Develop results-driven processes rather than those that focus on activities.

#3 People

  • Develop models that promote positive leadership. Train operations managers and team leaders to coach and inspire their staff rather than direct or instruct them.

  • Seek out and retain the best talent in your company. Reward good performance and provide opportunities based on merit.

  • Nurture a culture that challenges the status quo. Allow everyone to provide insight into how you can optimize your delivery operations.

  • Build informal networks of communication. Let employees form connections among themselves and between teams and customers organically.

#4 Technology

  • Leverage technology to support your structure, process, and people. Make sure you have the right tools to build an agile delivery operation.

  • Choose tools and software based on actual needs. Learn how to choose a solution that works for your delivery system.

  • Build an infrastructure that allows you to scale your operations. Invest in software that is flexible and allows you to support your delivery now and in the future.

  • Use technology to improve and optimize for better performance. Automate your operations and integrate solutions that enable fast and uninterrupted delivery, like route optimization.

How to start the agile transformation of your delivery operation?

There is no right or wrong path to operational agility.

Some companies develop agile deliveries from the start.

If you haven’t deployed your delivery yet, take the time to evaluate how agile your strategy is.

That makes it easier to quickly scale your service as you grow.

On the other hand, if you already have a working delivery, you have to adapt and adjust it to develop an agile environment.

And there are three ways you can go about this:

First, you can take the “all-in” approach to agile transformation.

This requires you to invest a lot of resources to organization-wide commitment, so you can deploy every stage all at once.

Then, there is the step-by-step approach.

This is more systematic and lets you build an agile operation one stage at a time.

Finally, you can initiate the transformation from the bottom-up.

This is an emergent approach that is more informal and relies on the efforts of each person in your organization to succeed.

After you deploy the process of transformation (using any of these methods), you will quickly see how it will improve your delivery.

Why do you need an agile delivery operation?

Agile transformation is on the rise. It’s taking place as we speak across various industries and environments.

And most companies understand this.

Whether you want to achieve an uninterrupted pharmacy delivery or improve food delivery for your restaurant, agile operations can get you there.

But it is not an easy task to achieve.

According to McKinsey, only 4% of companies have an agile organization.

However, the same survey suggests that there are another 37% of companies that have started the process.

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So, it’s the right time to get into the game.

And whatever your industry, the landscape is demanding transformation.

You need an agile delivery operation because of four reasons:

  • Changing consumer behavior
  • Increasing competition
  • Relevance of data
  • Disruptive technology

When it comes to consumers, all of them want fast and convenient delivery.

That means creating a customer-centric culture that focuses on experience and service.

For example, same-day delivery matters so much to customers in 2020.

And agile delivery is the only way your operation can achieve those speeds.

It’s also a good starting point to learn how to compete with Amazon delivery or anyone else in the modern competitive landscape.

Have you noticed that there are more companies that offer similar products and services like you?

That’s because the market has lower entry barriers than ever before.

Emerging companies can offer new solutions to old customer pains at the fraction of the cost it took you to launch your business.

In part, this is thanks to one of the newest delivery management trends - data processing.

Companies can now collect, access, and use massive amounts of data about their customers.

That lets them create and customize personalized offers.

So for example, they can drive the price of delivery down and immediately impact your bottom line.

But this wouldn’t be possible without the emergence of disruptive technologies.

Legacy solutions for optimizing delivery operations are now obsolete.

They have been replaced by flexible solutions that support agility, like eLogii.

These systems are also more available than before.

SaaS companies are adopting a cloud-first approach to delivery logistics with increasingly more feature-rich environments.

At a more affordable price, your company can now gain access to single vs multi-depot planning, route optimization, or electronic proof of delivery all through a single platform.

But so can your competitors.

And that means it’s no longer enough to have the best offer, data, or tools.

You also need the agility to integrate all of that effectively.

So, if you are looking to stay ahead of the game, it’s time for an agile transformation of your delivery operations.

It’s the best option for your business.

The rewards of an agile delivery operation are real.

But to reach them will take no small amount of forward-thinking.

That’s why it’s important to understand the forces driving agility, commit to it, and integrate technology that helps you reach that goal.

And when it comes to tech, we did the math.

Currently, the best choice on the market is delivery management software.

And we can help you with that.

We have everything you need to start improving your delivery.


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