Last mile delivery is the movement of goods from a transportation hub to its final delivery destination, whether a residential or commercial address.
Our streets are getting busier than ever. With the relentless rise of e-commerce, the final mile delivery of goods can mean the difference between a happy customer and a dissatisfied one.
From trucks and cars to bikes and drones, there are many ways of getting a package from a transportation hub to its destination. The mode of transportation will largely depend on the delivery area—what works for densely populated cities may not work well for remote locations.
For logistics providers, the line between making a margin or a loss on a package can be thin. For this reason, carriers eagerly explore ways of gaining efficiencies in last mile delivery and reducing associated costs.
The emergence of Uber-style platforms for connecting packages with carriers is one development, as is technology such as UPS’s Orion that optimizes a driver’s daily route and improves the fuel economy of each package delivered. Building new transportation hubs to better accommodate the forward stocking of goods is another way of improving last mile logistics . It’s easier to meet spikes in demand if the right goods are already placed close to the point of need.
Being able to receive packages from the convenience of your home is great, but is not without its challenges—nobody wants a rain-soaked package or a delivery that went missing to a porch pirate.
Security solutions like Latch, which allows delivery drivers to leave packages inside multi-unit buildings, reduce the risk associated with unattended packages. Similarly, the growth of secure pick-up locations within communities gives customers increasing control over how they receive their deliveries.
In the coming years, the demand for efficient last mile delivery will only intensify. Residential streets and central business districts will get busier, as delivery vehicles service the burgeoning needs of the on-demand economy—from e-commerce requests to home healthcare services. Drone technology may disrupt last mile logistics, bringing a radical new delivery mechanism to healthcare, manufacturing, and e-commerce.
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