Last mile delivery is one of the most discussed topics in shipping and logistics. In a relatively short period of time, it has become a key factor in being able to deliver the experience that customers have come to expect, and it has also become a pain point for those trying to keep down product costs.
But what exactly is last mile delivery and what should you know about it? Today, the experts in delivery management software at GetSwift are here to explain the booming business of last mile delivery. Read our post and then contact someone from the GetSwift team to learn more about how we can help.
What Is Last Mile Delivery?
Last mile delivery refers to the final step in the delivery of a product to the consumer. Think of it as the last leg in a long journey that includes multiple layovers. In the logistics world, people have learned how to master shipping products in bulk from one destination to another and they do it efficiently on a daily basis. But delivering individual items to a customer’s doorstep within 24 hours or less of ordering can pose quite a challenge.
The world hasn’t always had to deal with the challenges of last mile delivery, so why are we all of a sudden hearing about it? The answer lies within the explosion of e-commerce and increasing consumer demand for speedy delivery. The expectation of two-day, overnight, or in some areas even same-day delivery, can be attributed to e-comm giant Amazon. This, combined with local companies now trying to compete, have made last mile delivery a very real expectation for just about any business.
Why Is Last Mile Delivery Such A Challenge Compared To Traditional Delivery?
Last mile delivery poses many challenges that come with needing to get a product from point A to point B in an incredibly short period of time. Think about the last time you had to make multiple stops across town and how long that took. Now imagine that you have to deliver hundreds of individual orders, covering dozens of neighborhoods and all areas of town. In urban areas the challenge is navigating busy streets, traffic lights and, well…traffic. In rural areas, the challenge is how to make the long trek from house to house in the most efficient manner.
If the physical challenge of delivering to specific locations wasn’t enough of a problem, consider all of the drivers that are needed to make it happen. Virtually overnight, commerce has dictated the need for an army of delivery drivers ready to fulfill every order. Trying to keep up with this expectation is tough enough to spell doom for some businesses.
Why Is Last Mile Delivery a Challenge For Many Businesses?
If you own a business, you know that shipping costs can make or break you. The amount you have to pay to get your product to its destination is often one of the biggest contributors in determining the cost of your product. How many times have you had to raise the cost of goods because of an increase in gas prices? The smallest shift in shipping costs can eat into your profit margin if you don’t take action and make adjustments.
Last mile delivery is a challenge for many businesses because it usually requires you to build inefficiencies into your system — in other words, ship small quantities and make multiple stops. This type of model can increase your shipping costs exponentially. So why do it?
You do it because if you don’t, you’ll lose customers.
What Can You Do To Drive Down Cost?
Amazon has attempted to tackle the problem by installing lockers in set locations where customers can come to pick up their goods. This might be a good option for a giant like Amazon, but it probably won’t work for everyone else. The answer that will work for many businesses lies in the very thing that created this challenge in the first place — technology.
Your biggest ally for competing in the world of last mile delivery is delivery management software. Enlisting help from this kind of tool can optimize your dispatching, routing, and delivery processes. The only way to become more competitive when you are building inefficiency into your process is to find other ways to reduce costs. You can do this by relying on software to plan the shortest routes, dispatch drivers that are closest to the next delivery and providing a great customer experience overall.
If you’re ready to learn more about how your business can compete when it comes to last mile delivery, contact GetSwift. Our delivery management software will give you the edge you need to support a thriving business. Give us a call or visit our website to learn about our 30-day free trial!