We’ve watched as the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, has spread from country to country, and made its way to the United States. While its fatality rate is relatively low among low-risk individuals, the infection spreads very easily, allowing it to affect people very quickly.

Over the next few months, hundreds of thousands are expected to be exposed to the virus in the U.S., impacting the workforce, the economy, and your final mile.

While people may attempt to avoid stores and public places in their efforts to evade the germs or honor quarantine guidelines, their need for goods will not diminish. Online ordering has and will continue to increase drastically.

Is your final mile ready? Here’s how to prepare:

Expand Your Carrier Network
As the number of sick people increase and the workforce is diminished, your current network of carriers is going to be strained. This, met with increasing online orders to be delivered, can only be solved with additional capacity in your markets.

Adding secondary and tertiary carriers to your network can provide flexibility to continue to service these markets, even as demand rises and supply of drivers fall. By having these carriers at the ready to receive and deliver your orders, you can iterate quickly to get your products to the final mile.

Communicate with Customers
They’re at home. They’re bored. And they’re counting down the minutes until their delivery arrives.

As your supply chain shifts to address these changes, effectively communicating expectations to customers is going to be crucial to maintaining positive sentiment towards your company.

While the customer expects full visibility on their order from beginning to end, you, too, will need to be able to easily access your data in real time. Utilize data integrations with your carriers’ operational systems to manage exceptions as they occur and monitor order statuses.

Protecting Your Carriers

Your final mile carriers are the front lines of your supply chain. Whether delivering on a porch or to a room of choice, drivers come into contact with consumers and their germs multiple times a day, increasing their risk of contamination and spreading the virus.

Empower your carriers to protect their drivers. If you’re scheduling appointments for a delivery, confirm that the home being entered is not contaminated. Or, offer to schedule delivery for a few weeks from now, to better protect those delivering and the consumer.

Ensure drivers have access to proper equipment and are given time in their routes to limit their germ exposure. The CDC recommends the following:
● Wash hands frequently and carry hand sanitizer for use between deliveries
● Wear a facemask and/or gloves
● Clean trucks and office equipment frequently with disinfectant

Have Confidence in Your Final Mile
The pandemic will end, but preparing the last mile of your supply chain for emergencies is important to the success of your company.

Stay ahead of the chaos with access to a network of carriers to use if needed, communicating with your customers, and protecting your front lines.

Emily Johnson is the marketing manager at eTrac Final Mile. Learn more about building your final mile at ​ www.eTracFinalMile.com.