The last mile, sometimes called the final mile, is where the item is sent out from a local warehouse or fulfillment center for its final delivery to the customer.
Every step of the supply chain process is crucial, but the last mile is where the most impact can be made on the customer experience. If a product arrives late, is damaged, or is never delivered, there is a good chance that the customer will shop with a competitor next time. Essentially, the home delivery is where the business brings its values, its brand, and its promise to the customer’s door.
In addition to costs, last-mile deliveries pose many unique challenges.
Traveling in Urban Areas
If you have ever driven through a big city, you know that the roads are narrow, traffic is a nightmare, and parking is near impossible. This makes deliveries a bit more time-consuming than they would be in the suburbs, which can lead to significant delays.
Traveling in Rural Areas
On the other hand, rural locations have nothing but space which is also a problem. Drivers may need to travel miles in between stops, increasing travel times and wait times.
Delivering Large and Heavy Items
Anything can be ordered online, including bulky items like furniture. Ideally, there will be two delivery persons to carry the large item to the customer’s doorstep, but this is not always the case. Either way, the logistics of getting the item out of the truck can be time-consuming.