Last-mile logistics is a critical component of fulfillment that some companies tend to overlook. In a world with Amazon Prime, consumers expect and demand quick, accurate shipping from every company. Even in times with extreme supply chain issues, businesses must think about how to get their products delivered as quickly as possible. Those that don’t are likely to be left behind by the businesses that adapt to consumer demands.
Last-mile delivery is the transportation of packages from a fulfillment center to their final destinations. One of the biggest players in speedy shipping is what we call a last mile carrier. Last mile carriers are responsible for getting packages from the nearest shipping hub to its final destination as quickly as possible without extra costs. This is the final piece of the logistics chain.
What Is a Last Mile Carrier?
There are many pieces in a logistics puzzle. Last mile delivery is handled by a last mile carrier. It is the job of the last mile carrier to get packages from the fulfillment center to the customers’s doors as quickly and as cost-effectively as possible. These are the shipping companies that we are all used to like UPS, USPS, and FedEx. In some areas, there are also regional last mile carriers.
The Importance of a Good Last Mile Carrier
You need a last mile carrier that leaves a good, lasting impression with your customers. In fact, most of your customers don’t interact with anyone else from your company (or its third-party vendors) other than the last mile carrier who delivers their goods to their door.
Since a last mile carrier often serves as the face of your company, it is important that you choose a partner that has the same goals and expectations that you do for delivery of goods.
Challenges of Last Mile Delivery
E-commerce companies have a lot to think about: order fulfillment, shipping costs, order tracking, and more! Competing with companies like Amazon on quick order fulfillment and delivery at a good cost to the customer is a huge obstacle. Working with a third-party logistics company can help with reducing costs overall, including delivery costs.
Last mile delivery costs are expensive, especially when delivery is as fast as Amazon’s. According to some estimates, as much as 28% of total delivery costs for businesses are attributed to last mile logistics. Often, this leads companies to passing these expenses on to their customers. Third-party logistics companies can help those businesses that can’t take on every step of the logistics process themselves by working with multiple last mile carriers to find the best price and most efficient delivery.
A 3PL can also utilize technology and infrastructure pieces that help optimize the last mile delivery process without causing huge cuts into a company’s profits.
Last Mile Carrier Tracking
Communication is an essential part of last mile delivery, and customers expect communication in the form of updates about their parcels. First, customers want an estimated delivery date; these dates allow customers to determine the shipping rate they need and prevent packages from sitting outside doors for days at a time, potentially getting stolen or damaged by the elements. Tracking packages is an additional essential component of delivery communications.
Tracking packages is top of mind for many consumers, and people love to track their packages. Some consumers track their packages because they need them by a certain date, while others just like to see where their package is and when it will arrive. Automated shipment updates are a key piece to this puzzle, and it makes parcel tracking as easy as possible for everyone involved.
Last mile carriers generally track packages throughout the final shipping process, and 3PLs like us can help companies provide this tracking information to their customers in a timely, easy-to-understand way.
By offering order tracking, you are giving your customers the idea that they have some control over the status of their new purchases. Your customers will want to be able to access this information at any time—including immediately after placing their order—and from any device.
Types of Last Mile Carriers
When it comes to last mile carriers, a few providers probably pop into your mind, such as:
But, these aren’t the only last mile carriers that you want to consider when shopping for a partner. Other options include delivery services like UberEATS, Postmates, and Instacart, all of which are mostly known for delivering food. A 3PL is also a good last mile carrier partner that can offer additional support, such as warehousing and returns.
How Do 3PLs Help with Last Mile Delivery?
Smart Warehousing is a third-party logistics company with an extensive network of 38 warehouses across the United States. This network of warehouses ensures you’re always close to your customer, allowing faster shipping to meet the needs and demands of consumers today by working closely with all of the last mile carriers at our disposal, including several regional carriers across the United States.
Prior to shipping every order, Smart Warehousing gets quotes from all of the partner carriers then chooses the best option for value and speed. Smart has strategic relationships with carriers and a large account base which enables higher shipping discounts and better dim factors for their customers. This helps your company save money, while offering the fastest delivery for your customers, helping build consumer loyalty.
2022 will bring even more demand for faster shipping and high-quality customer service, and a fulfillment partner like Smart Warehousing will ensure that you’re set up to scale.