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Google launches last-mile and cloud fleet routing solutions

2 new offerings are geared toward last-mile delivery

Lost amid the mire of St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans, Google quietly released two new offerings geared toward last-mile delivery.

On Thursday, the multifaceted company launched Last Mile Fleet Solution from its Google Maps Platform and Cloud Fleet Routing API from Google Cloud to help fleet operators optimize their delivery performance. The former solution is currently in public preview for select companies, while the latter will become available in Q2.

The first Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) offering, Last Mile Fleet Solution, is focused on delivery execution. Powered by hyperlocal insights from Google Maps, the solution enables simplified address entry to improve accurate address capture, shipment tracking and up-to-date arrival times for customers and detailed delivery locations for drivers.

But that’s not all the platform can do for drivers. Last Mile Fleet Solutions is embedded with turn-by-turn navigation that integrates into a driver’s existing workflows, ensuring that deliveries are completed without a hitch, all within the Google Maps interface. The solution also offers a full-day view of tasks with improved routing and traffic data, allowing drivers to adjust their routes as needed.

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For fleet operators, the platform provides real-time fleet visualization through insights such as shipment status, route progress and real-time and predictive traffic. The solution even allows operators to generate their own insights for better performance.

“The pandemic further accelerated both e-commerce and the number of deliveries, which were already growing rapidly. The increased strain on delivery networks, plus many other factors like driver shortages, poor address data, factory closures and an increase in fuel prices have impacted delivery time and success,” said Hans Thalbauer, managing director of global supply chain and logistics industries for Google Cloud. “With Google Maps Platform’s Last Mile Fleet Solution … we’re making it easier for delivery fleet operators to address these issues and create seamless experiences for consumers, drivers and fleet managers.”

The other half of Google’s product rollout, Cloud Fleet Routing API from Google Cloud, aims to provide a scalable platform through which fleet operators can manage and optimize routes. The solution enables efficient allocation of packages to delivery vans and sequencing of delivery tasks through a native integration with Google Maps, and it allows customers to specify constraints like time windows, package weights and vehicle capacities.

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Additionally, the platform can help fleet operators reach ESG and sustainability targets by reducing the number of miles traveled, the number of vehicles on the road and the amount of CO2 produced from computing power.

The combined Last Mile Fleet Solution and Cloud Fleet Routing API offering comes at a time when consumer expectations around delivery speed and convenience are higher than ever before. According to research from McKinsey and Co., 9 in 10 Americans expect two- or three-day shipping, and they expect it to be free. 

Companies that fail to meet those expectations will face consequences –– nearly half of omnichannel customers said they would shop elsewhere when delivery times are too long, according to the same McKinsey report.

But simultaneously, as home delivery has gained popularity, the last mile has become the most expensive leg of the supply chain. It accounts for more than 40% of all supply chain costs, per Capgemini Research Institute, and retailers need to balance those expenses against the expectations of their customers.

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Jack Daleo

Jack is a staff writer for FreightWaves and Modern Shipper covering topics like last mile delivery and e-commerce fulfillment. He studied at Northwestern University, majoring in journalism with a certificate in integrated marketing communications. Previously, Jack has written for Backpacker Magazine and enjoys travel, the outdoors, and all things basketball.