The last mile is the final process of delivering an order to the customer’s door. It includes all the necessary tasks starting from the warehouse and finishing when the shipment reaches the buyer. Operators of the “last mile” are, for example, letter and parcel providers, mail-order vendors or delivery of food on the phone.
It is the final step in the entire distribution chain, which is why last mile logistics is so important.
What is last mile logistics?
Last mile delivery is a very important aspect of e-commerce and the transport industry. It can be the most difficult part of the entire supply chain operation due to the complex coordination of multiple third-party service providers, the use of unique delivery techniques and fluctuating costs. Order fulfilment is a complex process that requires multiple levers to ensure efficiency.
Optimizing the last mile in logistics will help to reduce costs and increase the entire process’ efficiency.
The last mile can be divided into two distinct phases:
Preparation: This phase includes tasks such as picking orders from warehouses and sorting them into containers according to destination, organizing inventory for shipping, and assembling packing materials such as boxes and bags.
Delivery: In this phase, you need to find a driver who will deliver the goods to the specified address you specified when placing the order. You also need to prepare a detailed roadmap for the driver so that he or she can follow it precisely after picking up the goods from one warehouse and delivering them to another. This stage is often the most expensive and time-consuming one.
In most cases, it is not possible to get products directly from manufacturers to consumers, instead, companies rely on third-party suppliers to handle this part of the operation. Last mile logistics companies can provide services such as warehousing, shipping and even packaging of products, which are shipped at full retail prices (since they don’t have to pay customs duties).
Which problems will the proper last mile approach solve?
It is crucial to find solutions to help us get rid of this problem, as it causes a lot of environmental pollution. It is also worth focusing on better mobility and zero emissions to make sure we don’t harm the environment. One solution is to use electric vehicles for last mile deliveries as it would reduce emissions and enhance mobility. Refining this process even one step further would include the usage of drones for delivery in the last mile stage.
Zero-emission last mile is an innovative way to transport goods more cleanly, which would help improve air quality in cities and reduce pollution.
Many logistics companies are using software applications to improve their processes. And it’s not just a trend in the shipping industry, but also in other sectors, such as retail and grocery. The reason is simple: thanks to technology, manufacturers are able to increase the efficiency of their services. Shipping time is drastically reduced. The overall cost of delivery is also decreasing, as software applications allow people to track shipments and send them notifications of real-time shipping updates.
Comments from SolveQ specialists
“The first step to optimization is the ability to manage delivery parameters, which is driven by the ability to monitor and analyze them. At SolveQ, we successfully build tracking devices and applications that collect and analyze data from these devices. This type of information allows us to change routes, adjust loads, and make intelligent and practically real-time adjustments leading to increased efficiency.” – says Kamil Arsoba, Consultant at SolveQ
“Following in the footsteps of the Dutch climate policy, which calls for 100 percent of cars sold in the Netherlands to be zero-emission by the end of the decade, supplier-dedicated apps could help track the percentage statistics of vehicle types owned, estimate commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and plan for green evolution within an organisation. On the other hand, the customer is also important. At SolveQ, we have experience in developing applications that emphasize the end user. With this type of solution, we can allow for increased transparency between the carrier and the customer and overall brand development.” – adds Wojciech Frank, Consultant SolveQ.
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