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What Is Last Mile Shipping?

April 7, 2021 3PL

There’s no such thing as “close enough” in eCommerce. Even if an order makes it across the country in a day or two, it won’t mean anything to the consumer if his or her package ends up sitting in a distribution center a mile away for days on end. It’s also not likely that a shopper will be impressed with how quickly an order is shipped if it is lost on the way to his or her porch. When it comes to living up to consumers’ lofty expectations for the delivery of their online purchases, getting only part of the way isn’t good enough.

This illustrates the importance of last-mile shipping in the omnichannel world. Even if your business does absolutely everything right, botching the final leg of the journey can ruin your reputation and your brand. As with every other component of your supply chain, there are a lot of moving parts that can break down and cause you trouble, even if the last mile is less than one mile.

Obviously, delivering thousands of packages to a single hub is less complicated than delivering packages to thousands of final destinations. A truck may be sent along a suboptimal route and miss a delivery window. A driver could leave a parcel at the wrong address by mistake. These little inefficiencies can make an already costly process slash your margins to ribbons. Read on to learn more about what makes last-mile package delivery so crucial for your success and why it shouldn’t be ignored.

How Last Mile Logistics Work

Getting your goods to a distribution hub is only a partial victory. Every step of this procedure has to be executed as efficiently as possible to ensure you live up to your customers’ expectations and don’t shoulder more of the burden than is necessary.

Even before they arrive, the last mile transportation process has kicked into gear. Last-mile shipping actually begins before the product moves an inch, with the creation of the order and its assigned tracking number. This number enables you and your customer to monitor the status of the package every step of the way.

After the package arrives at the distribution center, it needs to be assigned to a driver as quickly as possible. This involves determining which truck will be close enough to the recipient’s address to ensure the most efficient delivery. As soon as this is completed, the item can be scanned to update the tracking information and loaded onto the vehicle. Ideally, the parcel is dropped off at the customer’s door or mailbox within the delivery estimate provided at checkout.

Third-party logistics (3PL) providers are of vital importance to last-mile delivery in eCommerce. Even giants such as Amazon and Walmart rely on 3PL companies when their own fleets can’t complete the last stage of delivery with the right degree of efficiency. The right 3PL partner should have the fleet, technology and procedures in place to ensure a smooth transition when taking over for the home stretch.

The Benefits of Good Last Mile Shipping

Successfully completing deliveries isn’t a bonus — it’s absolutely essential in today’s eCommerce landscape. In case the advantages of last-mile shipping weren’t already apparent, here are some of the reasons you should pay close attention to how you’re handling this phase of your logistics:

● Customer satisfaction: Perhaps the most important reason to establish good last mile processes is because your customers are counting on you to do so. For better or worse, consumers have set high standards for delivery services. With so many eCommerce alternatives crowding the marketplace right now, you don’t want to give consumers any reason to buy from another source.

● Lower costs: Having the most efficiently managed last-mile shipping does a lot more than ensure timely deliveries. It also means you won’t have to spend as much money for each one. Optimized routes mean lower fuel costs. Delivering as quickly as possible also means your inventory spends less time idling in warehouses or distribution centers.

● Enhanced visibility: A properly handled last-mile process means shoppers have the ability to watch their packages being delivered in real-time. This enhances the convenience factor and makes it easier for you to set expectations and keep your promises.

Who Can Benefit From Last Mile Shipping?

There are a wide range of industries that should be very interested in using last mile shipping to serve their customer base. These include:

● eCommerce retailers
● Grocery stores
● Electronics manufacturers

Trust WSI for Last Mile Expertise

As a leader in the 3PL arena, WSI has the experience and the know-how to provide brokerage for top-notch last-mile services for your company. Not only can we leverage our freight forwarder logistics network to handle shipments, but we also provide transloading services to take care of the long road before the final stretch. If you’d like to learn more about what we can do for you and your business, get in touch with us today.

There’s no such thing as “close enough” in eCommerce. Even if an order makes it across the country in a day or two, it won’t mean anything to the consumer if his or her package ends up sitting in a distribution center a mile away for days on end. It’s also not likely that a shopper will be impressed with how quickly an order is shipped if it is lost on the way to his or her porch. When it comes to living up to consumers’ lofty expectations for the delivery of their online purchases, getting only part of the way isn’t good enough.

This illustrates the importance of last mile shipping in the omnichannel world. Even if your business does absolutely everything right, botching the final leg of the journey can ruin your reputation and your brand. As with every other component of your supply chain, there are a lot of moving parts that can break down and cause you trouble, even if the last mile is less than one mile.

Obviously, delivering thousands of packages to a single hub is less complicated than delivering packages to thousands of final destinations. A truck may be sent along a suboptimal route and miss a delivery window. A driver could leave a parcel at the wrong address by mistake. These little inefficiencies can make an already costly process slash your margins to ribbons. Read on to learn more about what makes last mile package delivery so crucial for your success and why it shouldn’t be ignored.

How Last Mile Logistics Work

Getting your goods to a distribution hub is only a partial victory. Every step of this procedure has to be executed as efficiently as possible to ensure you live up to your customers’ expectations and don’t shoulder more of the burden than is necessary.

Even before they arrive, the last mile transportation process has kicked into gear. Last mile shipping actually begins before the product moves an inch, with the creation of the order and its assigned tracking number. This number enables you and your customer to monitor the status of the package every step of the way.

After the package arrives at the distribution center, it needs to be assigned to a driver as quickly as possible. This involves determining which truck will be close enough to the recipient’s address to ensure the most efficient delivery. As soon as this is completed, the item can be scanned to update the tracking information and loaded onto the vehicle. Ideally, the parcel is dropped off at the customer’s door or mailbox within the delivery estimate provided at checkout.

Third-party logistics (3PL) providers are of vital importance to last mile delivery in eCommerce. Even giants such as Amazon and Walmart rely on 3PL companies when their own fleets can’t complete the last stage of delivery with the right degree of efficiency. The right 3PL partner should have the fleet, technology and procedures in place to ensure a smooth transition when taking over for the home stretch.

The Benefits of Good Last Mile Shipping

Successfully completing deliveries isn’t a bonus — it’s absolutely essential in today’s eCommerce landscape. In case the advantages of last mile shipping weren’t already apparent, here are some of the reasons you should pay close attention to how you’re handling this phase of your logistics:

• Customer satisfaction: Perhaps the most important reason to establish good last mile processes is because your customers are counting on you to do so. For better or worse, consumers have set high standards for delivery services. With so many eCommerce alternatives crowding the marketplace right now, you don’t want to give consumers any reason to buy from another source.

• Lower costs: Having the most efficiently managed last mile shipping does a lot more than ensure timely deliveries. It also means you won’t have to spend as much money for each one. Optimized routes mean lower fuel costs. Delivering as quickly as possible also means your inventory spends less time idling in warehouses or distribution centers.

• Enhanced visibility: A properly handled last mile process means shoppers have the ability to watch their packages being delivered in real-time. This enhances the convenience factor and makes it easier for you to set the expectations and keep your promises.

Who Can Benefit From Last Mile Shipping?

There are a wide range of industries that should be very interested in using last mile shipping to serve their customer base. These include:

• eCommerce retailers
• Grocery stores
• Electronics manufacturers

Trust WSI for Last Mile Expertise

As a leader in the 3PL arena, WSI has the experience and the know-how to provide top-notch last mile services for your company. Not only can we leverage our freight forwarder logistics network to handle shipments, but we also provide transloading services to take care of the long road before the final stretch. If you’d like to learn more about what we can do for you and your business, get in touch with us today.

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