“Final Mile” or “Last Mile” logistics is an industry term that refers to the last mile of a shipments lifecycle. This is when your shipment hits either the end users dock door, or front door step. As a shipper, we can think of this as “we have 1 minute left on the game clock”. If all parties are executing on their portion of the business, the customer is going to get their goods on or before the “promised delivery date”.
During the Final Mile, the product has typically gone through several portions of a shippers supply chain. The package will start and be fulfilled at a Warehouse, loaded onto a parcel or LTL/FTL truck. From there it may hit what is called a “sort center”. A sort center will intake freight, consolidate, and put items on the same truck where there are common destination zip codes.
New Technologies in Final Mile Delivery
There are emerging final mile logistics technologies and protocols that exist or are being put into place to ensure the package that is delivered is actually received by the end-user. These technologies and protocols can be something as simple as “photo on delivery”, all the way to the shipper placing the order in your garage. These are all protocols to ensure the end-user receives the items they purchased and are expecting.
Final Mile and Consumer Buying Patterns
If 2020 has taught us anything it is that more and more customers are shifting their buying patterns to an online option. Depending on the shipper, the customer has the ability to shop, place orders, and receive “free” returns if the item they ordered doesn’t match what they expected to receive. E-Commerce is continuously changing before our eyes. If we can better understand the client’s perspective, you can gain a deeper relationship with your customer to grow both sales today and capture the client’s lifetime value of tomorrow.
The Pulse of Online Shoppers
We live in a world where our clients have an expectation of ordering something on a retailer’s shopping cart, then receiving a bouncing “gif” the same day saying their order is on the way. There are a few major shippers that are giving this level of satisfaction, and they’re doing it well. According to UPS’ “Pulse of the online shopper report”, 92% of B2B firms, globally, track some of their packages. 64% prefer to track via the carrier’s website. 49% prefer the supplier’s website. UPS notes that 57% of retailers are reaching out to their clients via email just to update the status of their order, 26% via App, 32% via text message. Understanding how your clients prefer to communicate is fundamental. In today’s world, electronic integration is more paramount than ever.