Optimising the ‘Last Mile’ with what3words and Direct Today

Addressing around the world simply isn’t good enough. 75% of countries suffer from poor or non-existent addressing. And for the 25% who do have a reliable address, packages still go astray, couriers get lost and local businesses can’t be found.

Something needs to be done to make addressing better.

A 3 word solution

what3words is a precise yet simple addressing system. It uses a global grid of 3x3m squares, assigning each one a unique 3 word address.

It’s more accurate than a postal address and more memorable than GPS coordinates. It means people can pinpoint a specific location on the planet and communicate it more quickly and easily than any other method. The system is helping to optimise business, drive social and economic development, and ultimately save lives.

Direct to the door

The UK already has a robust national addressing system. It also has a reliable delivery and courier network. And yet, the problem of poor addressing is a very real issue, particular in the more rural parts of the country.

Direct Today is a subcontractor for a major global courier in the UK, offering express delivery to the customers’ front door. The business operates primarily in rural counties, where the centre of a postcode could be a mile from the actual delivery point. If lost, drivers have no option but to phone for directions to a property.

This crucial ‘Last Mile’ accounts for up to 28% of the entire delivery cost. Driving around looking for an address wastes time and causes delays. And with a fleet of 100 drivers, those additional expenses quickly add up.

Direct Today starting using what3words in February 2016. Despatchers now link an accurate 3 word address to the postal address already written on the package. Once one route, drivers can then use the Navmii app, which accepts 3 word addresses, to pinpoint the specific 3x3m location and deliver on time, first time.

Paul Creaney, Head of Operations at Direct Today, said “I’ve seen a massive decrease in undelivered parcels, from around 30 each day to just four or five. And these tend to be address label errors”. In fact, since using what3words, Direct Today has seen an 83% reduction in orders failing to reach customers on the first attempt.

Direct Today has also started to build a database of customers’ 3 word addresses. It means future deliveries can be even faster and more efficient, and it will help to further optimise Direct Todays’ operations for years to come.

navmii landscape

what3words and you

Without a precise addressing infrastructure, delivery and logistics becomes both challenging and costly. Every extra minute spent searching for a residential address, a pick up point or a specific location is time and money that will hit your bottom line.

For affected individuals, the lack of a reliable address means time wasted waiting for couriers to arrive, frustration having to give directions over the phone and, in some cases, packages simply never turning up.

Our partnership with Direct Today is just one of the many ways we’re helping logistics and delivery companies – at a local, national and international level – optimise their operations.

Read our full paper below:

Learn more about using what3words for Deliveries, Logistics & Ecommerce

what3words powers

Find out how to use what3words in your business: