Last Mile Delivery: What It Is, Process, Challenges & Trends

Written by Salman Hossain on June 06, 2022

With the increasing demands of online shopping, there is now a long list of demands that a company has to meet in order to succeed in the field. As consumers turn towards new methods of convenience every single day, quick fulfillment is no longer a choice, but an absolute necessity to succeed. As a result, Last-mile delivery, being so important, needs to be studied and capitalized upon in order to survive in the competition. Here’s all you need to know to begin with last-mile delivery.

What is Last-Mile Delivery?

Last-mile delivery is the most critical step in the order fulfillment process. Moreover, last-mile delivery is the process of getting things from a warehouse into the hands of a client or an end-user. This is also the most difficult and costly phase in the process. When it comes to last-mile delivery, merchants and 3rd party logistics companies confront unpredictability. Every stage of the supply chain system is crucial, but the last mile is really where the largest influence on the customer experience can be made. If a product is delivered late, damaged, or never arrives, the client is likely to purchase from a contender the following time. Essentially, the last mile is where a company conveys its values, brand, and promise to the customer's door.

The Last-Mile Delivery Process

Last-mile delivery isn't a guessing game; it's getting increasingly vital for companies to match customers' high expectations. The following actions positioned in the Last-Mile Delivery process are critical for long-term growth and client satisfaction:

  • Initiation: Orders are registered in a centralized system in which both the package receiver and sender may view the delivery status. A tracking code or pin is frequently used to get access to this platform by the receiver. This is the beginning of the last mile delivery process, and is where the flow of information begins.
  • Processing and Execution: The shipment arrives at the distribution center and waits for delivery staff to pick it up. The corporation should have established appropriate methods for the transportation personnel to be contacted, pick up, and deliver the goods to the client as soon as possible. The process begins with categorizing the orders and allocating them to individual delivery drivers based on the routes, the state of the product, and the recipient's address. A company that has dedicated workers for certain routes saves a lot of money and time. Packages are scanned before being loaded onto delivery vehicles to notify the sender and receiver of their status. This step is crucial because it decreases the possibility of objects becoming misplaced before they arrive at their destination.
  • Finalizing: The package is delivered to the specified address, and the delivery person takes proof of delivery. The delivery person then refreshes the tracking information to show that the parcel has been delivered to the new owner. This ends the cycle of the last mile delivery process and then is repeated over again throughout working hours.

Trends within Last Mile delivery

Unique problems necessitate novel solutions. The industry is always developing new techniques to get items into the customer's hands in a more timely and cost-effective manner.

  • Technological integrations: Navigation systems and Geolocation tech equipped vehicles give significant information to fleet management. Vehicle diagnostics, driver habits, and trip data are combined in a single system to assist fleet managers in identifying significant areas for cost reductions and safety improvements.
  • Crowdsourcing: Crowdsourcing, as it is known in the delivery industry, consists of corporations requesting drivers to deliver an item to a client. This strategy is neither as tidy nor as effective as having a well-established system. Crowdsourcing, on the other hand, helps businesses to save money on cars while also increasing flexibility. However, there are other problems, such as worker benefits, security, and productivity.
  • Same-day delivery: E-quick commerce's satisfaction opens up new prospects for merchants and service providers all around the world. While food delivery firms currently employ this approach, many businesses might benefit from investing in a similar system which allows for same-day deliveries. Furthermore, companies could invest in warehousing facilities in or near large cities to boost the possibility of quickly meeting the needs of their consumers. This also enables businesses to provide same-day delivery.
  • Contactless Deliveries: Contactless deliveries are almost parallel to conventional doorstep deliveries, but instead, it takes in the detailed information of the customer to ensure the fulfillment without further engagement from them, proceeding to leave the product at their doorstep. The payments for the deliveries are usually made digitally. This has been a rising trend in the recent pandemic.

Challenges faced in Last-Mile Delivery

Last-mile delivery encounters plenty of other unique obstacles. The most prevalent difficulty in last-mile delivery, according to experts, is inefficiency. This final stage of the delivery procedure involves a number of pauses with small drop sizes.

The fulfillment of last-mile delivery is dependent on a variety of circumstances, including:

  • The length of time it takes to travel from the customer to the warehouse.
  • The size of the enterprises (retailers and suppliers)
  • The high operational costs
  • The total order quantity received and delivered on a particular day
  • Imbalance of operating personnel against demand

Most of the time, the firm has no control over these difficulties. For instance, the delivery may encounter traffic on the route. Drivers may also become stranded as a result of rapid weather changes. It could be the location, as drivers must travel long distances to bring an item to a consumer. Nonetheless, businesses wind up bearing the costs along the road. As the demand for free delivery grows, it poses a new problem for merchants and service providers worldwide.

Understanding and addressing these issues will provide tremendous benefits to any firm. Not just that, it also improves the overall performance of the industry.

Solutions to implement

When it comes to delivering, the most crucial aspect of guaranteeing customer satisfaction is mastering last-mile delivery systems. However, for most firms, enhancing this stage of operations and making the whole process more cost-effective becomes a significant problem. However, it is still feasible.

Even though the initial implementation is obviously proper technological integrations, the entire process needs it more than it may seem. With powerful tools such as fleet management, Route optimization, Geofencing, etc, the technical problems can be tackled rather smoothly.

The inside process needs planning and foresight; thus analytical tools and AI-powered forecasting can make the run a lot smoother. Additionally, the final steps can be made more cost-effective, time-efficient and consumer-friendly with the addition of digital receipts and interconnected proof of delivery.

If you’re looking to integrate these features into your business and take your last-mile delivery process to the next level, look no more. Nuport, with its top of the line delivery management systems and AI-powered analytical tools will bring the best out of your system. To see how better your business can perform, try out Nuport for yourself. Schedule a demo today!