What is Last Mile Delivery?

Last mile delivery is the final movement of a customer order from a facility such as a distribution center or store to the end customer. Final mile deliveries are typically executed by parcel carriers, couriers, LTL carriers and private or dedicated fleets.

In this Article...
  1. toc

Why is last mile delivery important?

In many industries such as distribution and retail last mile delivery is an important part of the companies’ competitive strategy. The ability to quickly, reliably and precisely deliver to customers as well as provide value-added services such as dynamic delivery appointment scheduling can improve customer retention and increase revenue.

Dramatic increases in internet-based buying has increased the importance of last mile delivery as it is a significant part of the consumer’s overall buying experience.

Why should distribution and retail companies evaluate their last mile delivery capabilities?

Last mile delivery strategies, capabilities are rapidly evolving and becoming more important to financial performance and customer differentiation.

What was considered best practice two years ago is now common and distributors and retailers are using it for competitive differentiation and to increase revenue. Because last mile delivery capability and performance is so important to customers, distributors and retailers that do not keep up with best practices are at risk of losing any competitive advantage they may have and not maximizing their financial performance.

It’s not just the physical capabilities that are quickly changing, but last mile delivery technology and the use of the data it generates. Leading distributors and retailers are using technology and data to increase their delivery performance and offer more advanced delivery services.

The data is being used to transform the customer experience engaging customers from the time they select a delivery appointment during the buying process to post-delivery quality surveys.

What are the challenges of last mile delivery?

There are four major challenges in last mile delivery. The first is delivering consistently. Keeping deliver time promises is extremely important to maintaining a good customer experience.

The second is keeping delivery costs down. Last mile delivery can be very expensive and delivery efficiency is important to be able offer the delivery services customer demand and not impact financial performance.

The third is delivery precision and responsiveness. Customers now demand tighter delivery window and shorter delivery lead times which is increases last mile planning complexity and coordination.

The fourth is providing value-added services during the delivery process. Value added services can provide a competitive differentiation and additional revenue, but they also add to last mile delivery complexity and coordination challenges.


Home and Last Mile Delivery Best Practices

This eBook explains how to transform your home/last mile delivery performance. It all starts with a different perspective and vision to turn delivery into a competitive weapon.

How can we overcome last mile delivery challenges?

Overcoming last mile delivery challenges are achieved through better planning and a more educated workforce that adheres to operational practices and policies. Planning that more accurately represents the real-world constraints and operational policies and practices combined with optimization technology that effectively models the last mile delivery goals can create routes that meet customer service objectives while maximizing financial performance.

Optimized planning can also address the complexity of shorter lead times, tighter time windows and value-added services. Delivery workforce performance can be enhanced through mobile technology that guides them through the delivery process, allows them to communicate their status to dispatchers and ensure that the right goods get delivered to the customer.

Drivers can be tracked to help ensure they follow route instructions, correctly capture proof of delivery information and are driving safely.

Connect with our team to take the next step towards transforming your business.

Fleet Resource Center

Discover Tutorials, Success Stories, Thought Leadership, and More to
Deepen Your Routing, Mobile, and Telematics Expertise.

Recommended For You

Home Delivery Resource Center
Descartes’ Home Delivery Solution provides a differentiated customer experience while reducing costs, growing revenue, and optimizing your last mile delivery.
Increasing operational efficiency and improving the last mile delivery experience
BC Sands takes advantage of same-day optimization capabilities to book its online and phone orders directly into the dispatch schedule. Real-time status updates from GPS-tracked vehicles help ensure accurate availability, while providing visibility into deliveries enroute and the ability to notify customers of delivery progress.
Brook Furniture Optimizes Delivery Appointment Scheduling
Descartes home delivery solution provides an end-to-end platform for home and last-mile delivery operations that spans the delivery appointment booking, route planning and execution, mobile proof-of-delivery (POD) and notifications processes.