The Growing Focus on Last-Mile Delivery

Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen a lot of activity related to last-mile delivery — from startups providing last-mile delivery services to advancements in transportation management systems and mobile technologies to more effectively plan, execute, and track last-mile deliveries, as well as several acquisitions in this space.

What’s driving this focus on last-mile delivery?

“This is an area of transportation that is impacting everyone’s lives on a daily basis, whether you’re utilizing GrubHub or Amazon Prime or you’re ordering appliances from a large retailer that are brought into our homes,” said Jeremy Becker, Senior Manager Supply Chain Consulting at Transplace in a recent episode of Talking Logistics. “It’s become a consumer expectation and there’s an element of customer service around it too…Retailers that aren’t capable of omni-channel distribution and aren’t able to deliver goods to customers in a variety of ways will have growth limitations.”

On the operations side, “significant coordination is required [between shippers, carriers, and customers] to provide a tight delivery window,” said Becker. “The ability to deliver on weekends and when people are at home, especially if you’re delivering something that needs to be taken into the home and assembled, is also very important.”

How is this segment of the transportation market different from the others? Any special considerations when it comes to finding last-mile service providers? Watch the short video clip below for Becker’s response:

“This is not a mode that companies have managed as tightly or for as long as other modes like truckload,” said Becker. “Because there’s more variability in it, it’s been a little harder to tackle. Just getting the data around it and the quality information companies need can be a challenge.”

I encourage you to watch the rest of my conversation with Jeremy for additional insights and advice on this topic, including questions shippers should ask themselves to assess whether they have all of the pieces in place to succeed with last-mile delivery. Then post a question or comment and keep the conversation going!