What if your company could ship products better and faster than ever before?
Last mile transportation is a game-changer that helps any company to improve the way it mails products. Unfortunately, many companies don’t understand what last mile transportation is and how it can benefit them.
If you’re ready to learn how to improve your company shipping, keep reading to learn all about it!
What Is Last Mile Transportation?
We’ve prepared a solid guide to what last mile transportation is and how it can benefit you and your company. First, though, we need to define exactly what “last mile” really is.
Simply put, “last mile” refers to the final stage of any shipping process. Thus, this isn’t a measurement of actual distance but a reference to something going from a local shipping hub to someone’s house.
Arguably, this is the most important stage of shipping a product. While it’s easy enough to mail something from hub to hub, actually getting a product to someone’s house has its own unique challenges.
Other Key Terms
The process we are describing is most commonly known simply as “last mile transportation.” However, there are alternative terms you should be aware of surrounding this issue.
Some call this process “last mile logistics.” It essentially means the same thing, though this name underscores what a logistical nightmare the final stage of shipping can be.
Other times, this last leg of the journey is described as “final mile delivery.” This helps to emphasize that the last part of shipping a product is like an entirely different delivery journey of its very own.
So, while there are different ways of referring to this step, one thing is for sure: this step of shipping remains surprisingly difficult.
Why Is Last Mile So Difficult?
Most people don’t understand what makes last mile transportation so difficult. From the consumer end, things are simple: you hit the “order” button and get your product within a few days and that’s all there is to it.
From a company perspective, though, one of the biggest difficulties is “the Amazon effect.” Customers now routinely expect to receive their packages within two business days, and it is difficult for many companies to make that happen.
The delivery area presents its own challenges. Extremely rural areas may have homes so far apart that speedy delivery is almost impossible. And extremely urban areas may be so clogged with traffic that it slows the whole process down.
Finally, there are further complications to consider, including the simple fact that customers aren’t always at home to sign for important packages.
Who Benefits From Last Mile Logistics?
We firmly believe that every company will benefit from improving their final mile delivery. However, certain types of companies stand to benefit from such an improvement more than others will.
In particular, smaller companies tend to benefit more from this process. Last mile is a vexing problem for larger companies, too, but they tend to have more resources that they can throw at the problem.
Smaller companies, though, really feel the brunt of costs being added to the shipping process. And as we outline below, these costs are often significant enough to impact your bottom line.
Again, we want to emphasize that any company benefits from better last mile logistics. Why throw money at a problem when you can sidestep that problem entirely?
What Makes Last Mile So Important?
You may still be wondering why these improvements are so important. And it all comes down to winning customers over in a competitive global economy.
As we said before, Amazon changed the entire game by offering cheap and speedy delivery. And now, everyone with an Amazon Prime account can get two-day shipping on most of their products for no additional cost.
Imagine a customer finding a product on your website and seeing a shipping estimate for “5-7 business days.” Many customers would rather have something quicker than that and will quickly try to find product alternatives on Amazon.
While it may seem slow burning, this is a crisis point for many companies. If they are unable to offer faster shipping, they will lose customers to companies that do offer that.
The trick is offering faster service without breaking the bank for you or your customers.
The Cost Issue
Last mile shipping is not just the most important part of the shipping process. It’s also the most expensive!
According to some estimates, final mile delivery can account for more than half of the costs for any given shipment. And attempts to speed the entire shipping process up end up magnifying the overall costs.
What happens next is simple economics. The costs of faster delivery must either be passed onto the customers or taken on by the company.
Here’s an open secret: many customers do not want to pay a premium for shipping. Even on Amazon’s website, customers will go out of their way to find items with speedy Prime shipping instead of anything that costs extra.
Therefore, improving final mile is very complex: companies must find a balance between fast shipping and affordable shipping that satisfies all parties.
Different Ways to Solve the Problem
There are many ways to potentially solve this problem. For example, many companies hire specialists to help improve their routes: even a few key changes in a delivery route can make a big difference in delivery time.
Other companies try to lure in more delivery help. By offering truck drivers better pay and better benefits, a company can build up a better delivery force.
The best solution, however, remains the simplest. Companies can turn to third-party delivery specialists who offer affordable same-day logistics.
And with the right company by your side, your delivery game will never be the same.
The Bottom Line
Now you know more about last mile transportation and why it’s so important. But do you know who can help you improve your own final mile delivery?
At Need It Now, we offer national and international delivery solutions, including same-day logistics. To see how we can speed up your shipments, come request a quote today!