Last mile delivery is the process of delivering items to your customer’s door. This can be for a logistics company or an individual who is shipping something. It can also refer to when you’re bringing home groceries from the store, which are usually delivered by someone on foot. Regardless of the size, last mile delivery service has many challenges that need to be overcome for it to work effectively and efficiently. There are quite a few significant factors that account into the last mile delivery planning, too. Some of them are very solid and can be planned in advance – such as whether the company will use autonomous vehicles or have delivery vehicle drivers – but they can range to ones that cannot be fully controlled by the company, such as customer satisfaction which is a crucial factor.
In this article, we will discuss what last mile delivery is and how logistics companies have handled these challenges.
What is the Definition of Last Mile Delivery?
Last mile delivery is a critical aspect of the logistics industry – the process of transporting goods from a distribution center or warehouse to the final destination. It refers to final deliveries from the warehouse or distribution center to customers, typically in urban areas. The last mile can be complex and expensive because it requires picking up goods at one location and delivering them to another that may be several miles away.
The last mile has a high failure rate because it’s the most complicated and expensive part of logistics. Many last mile delivery challenges can arise, such as missed deadlines, late deliveries, or packages that get lost along the way. Logistics companies have to make sure they choose reliable drivers who will handle these issues properly for them or possibly risk a lot of lost profit.
A big part of the last mile is trucking – ensuring that goods are delivered on time and without any complications. To maintain profitability and meet customer demand, logistics companies should invest heavily in sending out drivers who can guarantee success. Outsourcing a third-party logistic company’s services for last mile delivery can prove to be an excellent investment that will bring profit over time.
How Does Last Mile Delivery Work?
There are many different methods for accomplishing this feat, including using a fleet of drivers, employing third-party couriers, purchasing new vehicles with robotic technology, or partnering with local merchants with fleets of vehicles available for hire during peak periods. There are also many startups providing innovative solutions, such as e-commerce companies who offer free shipping on orders over $50 but charge an additional fee for next day delivery, which has been dubbed “ship now pay later,” or businesses that have invested in their own local last-mile logistics and service networks.
It is important to note that while there are many different ways of providing last mile delivery solutions, the key components for success include:
- Geography – understanding where your customers live or work and basing route optimization and transportation networks on this;
- Logistics – establishing a network with suppliers and contractors to handle any possible complex delivery; and
- Business continuity – being ready for any possibility when trying to meet consumer expectations, be it success or failure.
The last mile delivery process can be divided into five steps; however, there are possibilities for adjustments and additions at any given moment. Therefore, this can serve as a general rule of thumb when it comes to last mile delivery operations.
1. A centralized system receives information about the order that was entered digitally
This is the last part of the order fulfillment process and where the last mile delivery begins Tracking codes are monitored by both sender and recipient, who will have their orders or requests delivered this way.
2. The order in question arrives at the transportation hub
The moment the order arrives at the transportation hub and is awaiting delivery to the customer is when the last mile delivery process truly begins. From this point on, businesses must ensure the order arrives from the fulfillment center to the recipient as soon as possible.
3. Order is assigned to people on optimal routes
The most important aspect of designing a cost-effective last mile logistics solution is strategically sorting packages for delivery. This includes meticulous warehousing and assigning the parcels to the drivers whose routes are the most optimal for those deliveries.
4. Order is scanned and entered into the system before being sent out for delivery
Receiving package status updates is key to the success of last mile delivery. This includes a real-time scan and may also include real-time tracking of GPS location and parcel data every time the package is handled by a courier or changes delivery vehicles.
5. Order is successfully delivered
When the parcel arrives at its final destination, a representative updates tracking codes to verify and confirm the delivery has been completed. Additionally, this may include obtaining proof of delivery, such as a signed form or similar.
Why is it Important to Businesses and Consumers?
Consumer buying behaviors have changed, especially when it comes to online shopping. It used to be that consumers would order the item and wait however long for delivery service; now, customers expect an easy, free, and fast shipping process. So as a way to stay competitive in this contemporary market while still meeting customer expectations, companies need to find a way to improve efficiency and cut costs by covering the shipping costs out of their own pocket while ensuring faster delivery times.
However, there is one major challenge with this type of delivery – companies need to keep thinking about what customers want. That includes calculations about whether the customers would prefer a two-hour window for delivery instead of one day or planning accordingly if the customers express the need to have an item delivered on Sunday; the list of possible customer expectations goes on. There’s also the challenge of keeping track of inventory when goods come from overseas or another part of the country.
The demand for same-day, free delivery is skyrocketing because online sales have explosively grown over the past year. More people are now shopping at online retailers than ever before. This leaves businesses with a tough decision – to manage their logistics themselves or hire an outsourced third-party logistic company?
The Benefits of Outsourcing the Last Mile Delivery
Last mile delivery experience is critical to the success of a business. From using last mile logistics and service networks, understanding where your customers live or work when making deliveries (geography), delivering products on time (logistics), to having a plan in place for what happens if one part fails (business continuity). Last mile delivery companies’ services will always be needed, especially with the rise of e-commerce sales during the last year and the rising consumer demand for same-day delivery or two-day shipping.
Outsourcing your logistics will have many benefits, of which the main one is – you will be able to focus on your core business while you can rest assured that delivery is handled by professionals. Not only that, you will save money by outsourcing expensive and time-consuming tasks such as shipping and delivery to companies that already have established frameworks for those tasks. And last but not least, you will gain flexibility with the ability to scale up or down based on demand without worrying about whether you can handle it internally. Additionally, outsourcing the right company can provide your business with mile delivery software that can help improve customer experience; or delivery robots that cut both the time needed for deliveries and the last mile delivery costs.
It is beneficial for businesses regardless of their size, as logistics have become easily outsourceable by whoever needs it. Still, many people think that having logistics partners is only for large corporations with tons of resources and money. But in reality, logistics can be outsourced through third-party logistic companies specializing in this type of work. They take care of all aspects, so you don’t have to worry about anything at all! One of those companies is RedBird Logistics Services, which has over 30 years of experience in the logistics sector. Contact them today to ensure your business can continue growing without a hitch!