What is first-mile shipping? Why improving first-mile shipping tracking is crucial for enterprises


By Komal Puri | October 13, 2022

A lot has been spoken about the last mile. In this post let’s get to better understand a key member of the logistics family, first-mile shipping. First-mile shipping plays a vital role when it comes to ensuring seamless logistics operations, reducing shipping costs and providing a delightful last-mile experience.

What is first-mile shipping?

First-mile shipping can be defined as the process in the first mile delivery where packages or goods are transported from a warehouse to a local distribution center. The definition of first-mile shipping depends mainly on the type of business that’s providing that kind of service. For retailers, it means sending goods to distribution centers, for carriers it means picking up goods from their customers, for movers and packers it means moving goods from a customer’s location to a storage destination and so on.

Over the years, as customer expectations evolved, the need to reimagine how first mile shipping is executed became important. Traditional logistics practices weighed down first-mile operations and that in turn directly impacted last-mile shipping and ultimately customer experience. Today, it’s clear that to ensure profitable and customer-centric delivery operations, businesses cannot isolate first-mile shipping from the rest of its counterparts, middle and last-mile deliveries. Inefficiencies in logistics operations are like wildfires, a single disruption triggers a slew of challenges that ends up increasing delivery costs and diminishing customer satisfaction. Modern digital logistics management tools and platforms must be used to drive robust first-mile shipping operations. A key area in first-mile shipping that needs to be optimized is first-mile shipping tracking. Tracking logistics operations in real-time has proved to be a game-changer for businesses across the globe.

The Role of First-mile Shipping Tracking

Tracking first-mile shipping in real-time empowers enterprises to gain visibility of ground-level shipping operations. It improves fleet productivity, eliminates shipping downtimes, optimizes costs, drives accuracy in KPI benchmarking and reduces first-mile supply chain risks.

Improving Fleet Productivity

First-mile shipping tracking ensures that delivery vehicles religiously follow pre-defined routes. It helps delivery stakeholders to respond to en-route emergencies and significantly minimize latency in delivery operations.

Eliminating Shipping Downtime

Real-time tracking eliminates unnecessary delays in shipping by drastically reducing the chances of route diversions and prolonged stoppages. Leveraging real-time tracking, delivery managers can continuously feed drivers with information that empowers them to adhere to estimated arrival time, avoid road closures and traffic congestions and boost productivity.

Optimizing Shipping Costs

Tracking first-mile shipping in real-time allows businesses to optimize fuel consumption by reducing chances of route diversions, extra miles travelled and vehicle idling. It boosts shipping productivity and optimizes resource utilization. All these help businesses significantly reduce shipping expenses.

Accurately Benchmarking KPIs

Tracking provides ground-level viability which in turn helps businesses to gain critical insights into shipping duration, fleet productivity, route efficiency, SLA adherence, driver behavior, material handling and more. Tracking helps delivery stakeholders gain real-time insights into how different moving parts of the first mile supply chain perform. This enables them to accurately benchmark shipping KPIs.

Reducing First-mile Supply Chain Risks

Tracking helps businesses quickly identify transportation risks like thefts by triggering immediate alerts in case of unnecessary stoppages and unprecedented route diversions. It also boosts transportation and environmental compliance and drastically mitigates risks of penalties and fraud.

Komal puri

Komal Puri is a seasoned professional in the logistics and supply chain industry. As the Senior Director of Marketing and a subject matter expert at FarEye, she has been instrumental in shaping the industry narrative for the past decade. Her expertise and insights have earned her numerous awards and recognition. Komal’s writings reflect her deep understanding of the industry, offering valuable insights and thought leadership.

Komal Puri
Sr. Director of Marketing | FarEye

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