A common issue in nearly any type of delivery is the unique “last mile.”

Last mile delivery is typically defined as the transport of goods from a warehouse, delivery center or other hub to its final delivery destination, and into the hands of the purchaser and/or end user. Final delivery tends to be a residence, but office buildings and parks are may also be the “last mile.”

What is the "Last Mile Supply Chain" in the 3PL industry?

E-commerce continues to increase with no end in sight. For consumers in both urban and rural settings, it’s easy to place an order online and wait for it to arrive. But that increase means more trucks, more drivers, and more time on the road trying to find a customer’s home or place of business. A delivery to a single-family residence is straightforward. But when that address includes an apartment or suite number, it takes a little longer.

For this reason, last mile logistics is the most expensive and labor-intensive part of shipping.

The Last Mile

It’s the part of shipping that many companies don’t take into consideration—what happens after a product leaves a warehouse, and a delivery driver transports a package for hand-off to its purchaser.

But incorrect addresses, customers not available, and other factors can delay that final delivery, as well as cause returns.

This part of the journey can cost as much as 28% of the total transportation costs. Because of increased governmental regulations on things like vehicle sizes, weight limits, noise restrictions and parking rules, some shippers have begun to utilize and invest in smaller vehicles for last-mile delivery. And in areas where the smaller vehicles are prohibited, shippers have employed bicycle delivery and occasional contracts with Lyft and Uber.

Customer Experience

Another piece of the puzzle is the increased demands of consumers for free and faster shipping. Online shoppers are not only interested in getting the goods faster. Like commercial customers, they’re interested in a more transparency, with real-time updates and options for changes during shipment, as well as specifying when and where their packages are delivered.

Omni-channel retailers are also seeing a demand for real-time delivery information. Inventory management software like WMS provides real-time shipment data along with customer relationship management functions so that customers can easily find out the status of their packages.

It’s essential to pay attention to customer expectations such as these, since delivery is a significant part of brand awareness and customer loyalty. Because the delivery driver may be the only contact a purchaser has for a transaction, shipment and delivery become an extension of the brand.

Let 3PL Worldwide Help With Your Company’s Last Mile Supply Chain Logistics

Last mile delivery can be one of the most complicated parts of shipping, but it doesn’t have to be.

3PL Worldwide offers your company logistical services as well as services such as call center for customer service, bi-coastal warehouse space in Southern California and Connecticut, as well as freight transport to and from nearly anywhere. Located in Southern California, we’re ready to help. Contact us today at (877) 444-0002 or use our online contact form to get started outsourcing your supply chain.


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