The last mile - the bigger picture
By Komal Puri | October 13, 2022
While there is a lot of talk around the last mile, let's look at the big picture. Whether one has the perfect last-mile network or not, its effect largely depends on factors outside of it. With the entire inventory cycle unoptimized, an optimized last mile is pointless.
Key Factors Impacting Last-mile Delivery
Here are some key challenges in how the factors outside the last mile affect it.
1. Inventory availability
The last-mile hub is critical in determining the last-mile customer experience. However, with the changing landscape of the demands on the last-mile hub due to the increase in home deliveries, there is a growing need to re-examine it. The surge in demand for home deliveries has not just shattered the ecosystem but also impacted the way inventory is managed.
2. Store management
With the rise in curbside deliveries, efficient space management in-store and outside becomes critical. With constraints such as traffic, hours of operation, movement restrictions, social distancing norms, the last thing you want is confusion in the usage of space where unloading activity happens and where curbside pickups happen. There is also another major challenge where the schedules and tracking of vehicles arriving at the storefront to unload need to be synchronized with shift timings of store workers. Another challenge is avoiding long queues of trucks waiting to unload at the store. With three key variables in play, one needs an efficient system to manage the warehouse-to-store leg.
3. Carrier management
While delivery partner management is an emerging challenge with surging deliveries and the growing dominance of third-party marketplaces, the same challenge exists in warehouse storage too. While retail is all about margins, every opportunity to cut costs and save operational expenditure is a wishlist item for every C-suite leader. It is also a massive area of opportunity where moving away from panic and emergency-based decisions can make a significant contribution. In addition to the cost benefit, it also tightens the SLA adherence requirements for last-mile carriers. This would ensure timely delivery at stores, solve queue management issues at the unloading points at the storefront, ensure that inventory is readily available for last-mile delivery.
While the last mile is critical for customer experience, it is clearly evident that the first and mid mile play a huge role in it as well. To achieve end-to-end efficiency in delivery logistics, it is important to take a holistic approach to managing your last-mile carrier operations with predictive intelligence. This is exactly where a platform like FarEye can help.
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.