What is Last Mile Delivery? | Descartes Routing UK

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What is Last Mile Delivery?

Last-mile delivery is the last leg of a parcel’s journey to its final destination. This is often from a supply chain hub to a consumers’ home but could also be from a retail store to the delivery address.

Good examples of last-mile delivery are the letters you receive in the post, with the last part of the delivery being made on foot, or in the case of many things we buy online, delivery by a person with a van or car.

What is the last-mile delivery problem?

The last mile of delivery can be the most challenging due to terrain; rural, suburban, or metropolitan locations require different last-mile strategies for fulfilment. For example, a large lorry will not work in a metropolitan environment where parking is difficult and congestion charges may be prohibitive, while in rural locations there could be a large distance between delivery addresses.

If you have ever bought an item online and then monitored its delivery and wondered why you have to wait so long for it to arrive from “out-for-delivery” until it is delivered to your door, then you will already appreciate that the last-mile delivery problem is efficiency, with so many multiple stops and so many parcels to deliver a route needs to be efficient.

The rapid increase in online sales during the Corona virus pandemic, has created a surge in the number of last-mile deliveries to consumers who are having to isolate or work at home. Retail shops being shut has dramatically increased the importance of last-mile delivery logistics and resulted in 1/3rd of sales by value (ONS: Nov 2020 36%)  being purchased online.

Technology and last-mile delivery

Just as in other areas of business so technology is playing its part in improving the last mile of delivery. Delivery optimisation software is reshaping how companies organise the last mile.

The adoption of internet-based software or SaaS solutions is making the management of last-mile deliveries easier to manage, from the optimisation of the routes, to tracking the delivery and even the digital proof of delivery at the door step.

The software integration of these stages in the last-mile delivery process is enabling improved service levels, better customer loyalty alongside efficiency savings and reduced carbon footprints.

Contact us to find out how you can keep up with the demand for home delivery and improve your last-mile.

last mile delivery van driver