The Last Mile: What it is and Why it matters in logistics

Transportation, when an online purchase of a product is made, comprises many phases. Thus, from the moment it is collected from the warehouse, until it reaches the end customer, it has to go through numerous processes and routes, for which it is necessary to act quickly.

Not in vain, the delivery time of the products is increasingly reduced and the client is increasingly demanding in its compliance. All this makes the logistics of a business perfectly studied and optimized to the maximum.

Precisely, in this article we are going to analyze one of the critical points in package delivery i,e. Last Mile Delivery. The one known as the last mile. Here, we will see what it is, why it is so important for the logistics sector and the keys to optimizing it properly.

What is the last mile?

The last mile, which is also known as capillary distribution , is a package transport management focused on the last journey to be made in the final delivery. That is, it usually corresponds to the journey that is made once a series of packages have been grouped together and then distributed in the city .

Hence, it refers to the last mile because it is the last route that takes the product directly to the customer or capillary distribution because within the city the deliveries are made in different areas or branches .

Importance of the last mile in logistics

The remainder of the last mile for a company is double. On the one hand, it aims to satisfy in the shortest time. On the other hand, adjust costs, both in personnel and in transport costs.

At this point is precisely where there is the greatest problem for transport and logistics companies. Bringing a large set of packages to a near point of final delivery is easy. A truck is filled with pallets and transported. So far, there is no major complication.

However, in the last mile a more detailed distribution is made . It is carried out in many more vehicles and has other external factors, such as traffic, within the city.

In other words, when working with smaller volumes , it is much more difficult to calculate the costs involved in this type of delivery. In addition, it is a cost that today is usually applied to the supplier of the product , since the end user has become accustomed to ” free shipping “.

To all this, we must add that the e-commerce sector is advancing by leaps and bounds, so the study of its profitability and correct implementation is necessarily changing, sometimes having to make “blind” decisions, with their corresponding risks .

Keys to optimizing the last mile

Faced with this problem that is presented to logistics providers, there are different keys to optimize the last mile or manage this delivery process more efficiently, as we will see below.

Optimization of transport routes in the last mile

If you are definitely betting on the last mile as a delivery point, one of the fundamental questions you will have to think about is route optimization. It is necessary to synchronize all the elements of the capillary distribution.

Within the city, it is necessary to see which are the most efficient routes based on factors such as traffic jams in real time and their possible alternatives, as well as streets closed and under construction that may pose a handicap in our delivery condition.

Type of parcel and transport

It is also necessary to think about the size of the packages to transport at each point and even the nature of said product. It is not the same to transport a fragile package than a refrigerated food, for example.

Similarly, it is necessary to think about the types of vehicles, from motorcycles to vans with refrigerators and to combine both their drivers and vehicles with other deliveries so that they “do not overlap.” All this will revert to a better delivery, as is evident.

Customer delivery conditions

As we have already mentioned, the customer wants his package on time and in perfect condition. You just have to see how there are certain dates where carriers cannot cope, such as for Christmas gifts.

In this sense, it is necessary to consider different variables for proper management, where, for example, the different time windows of the product delivery period enter.

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