Last Mile Delivery Comes Into Focus as E-Commerce & DTC Explode

Last Mile Delivery Comes Into Focus as E-Commerce & DTC Explode

If the pandemic highlights anything, it’s the importance of last mile delivery. E-commerce and direct-to-consumer (DTC) shopping continue to ramp up the competition within the supply chain industry. The last year highlights the significance of last mile delivery; and also sheds light on the challenges that businesses face during delivery. The supply chain industry confronts a new, explosive dynamic in the era of e-commerce and DTC. And before the pandemic, says Redwood Logistics, e-commerce was anticipated to account for 16% of total retail in the US. But with the pressures of the last year, the last mile is now the principal focus for supply chain leaders.

The Challenges of Last Mile Delivery

Many challenges plague the supply chain industry, especially during last mile delivery. The final or last mile of delivery sometimes proves to be the most challenging.

There are several inherent challenges in last mile delivery: planning, traffic delays, inclement weather, driver scheduling, cancellations, reschedules, and where the delivery team is to leave the package, and more. Each challenge all impacts customer satisfaction and the costs to execute the deliveries. The ability to adapt and advise all the stakeholders in the delivery automatically is key to efficient operations. The last mile is already costly and challenging, with delays in deliveries often resulting in penalties.

An increasingly difficult challenge to overcome stems from the ever-growing expectations by consumers for faster delivery times. Many people arrive at their online checkout ready to pay for expedited delivery. Meeting these frequent expectations does not always come to fruition. Companies like Amazon continue to set the bar higher and higher for businesses, according to DC Velocity. That can be detrimental to other companies looking to expand or compete with the e-commerce giant.

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E-Commerce Often Involves Parcel and Requires Faster Than Full-Truckload Shipping

With the growing use of e-commerce and DTC, consumers like to wait for less than the typical five- to seven-business day transit window. The demand for a faster delivery service requires a much quicker shipment option than a full truckload. More often than not, e-commerce often involves parcel shipping. Parcels ship individually, and as a result, it may be challenging to figure out how to consolidate parcels to leverage LTL and FT for the bulk of the journey. The secret sauce rests with optimizing the network in advance to lessen the risk and move products closer to customers through brick-and-mortar fulfillment and urban distribution centers.

Additional Ways DTC Reshapes the Standards for Last Mile

While the last mile poses many trials and tribulations, it also presents a grand opportunity. The standards for the last mile have taken a drastic turn for the better. DTC offers a lucrative prospect in the world of on-demand shipping and e-commerce. By offering DTC, businesses eliminate the middlemen and provide lower prices for their customers. This creates a loyal following and keeps consumers from seeking out competitors.

Enhance Your Last Mile Delivery Capacity With the Right TMS Partner

One way to enhance cost-cutting measures and last mile deliveries would be implementing the right transportation management systems (TMS) from a world-class partner. Executing deliveries with the booming e-commerce industry is made easier with a TMS as a single source of truth. A TMS provides much-needed insight into the transportation process. It gives access in real-time and offers updates as well. The right TMS will also extend data consolidation to spend less time on paperwork and more time maximizing the next shipment. Of course, the TMS should be used in conjunction with the steps above too.

Learn how a TMS empowers last mile efficiency to streamline e-commerce today

Jeff Groenke
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