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Small parcel trucks handling last mile delivery service

03 Aug, 2021

What’s a Last Mile Carrier?

Understanding Last Mile Carriers and How to Find a Strategic Partnership

The term last mile carrier is thrown around a lot in the transportation and logistics industries these days. But what exactly is a last mile carrier? How do you find the right one? Read on to learn what you need to know about last mile delivery and choosing a carrier that is in line with your strategy.

What do Last Mile Carriers Do?

The term last mile carrier refers to companies that handle last mile delivery, which is the final leg of a package’s journey from the warehouse, distribution center, or store to the customer’s doorstep.

Once upon a time, a customer could count on last mile delivery taking several days, up to several weeks, and they’d almost always pay shipping and handling. Now, in order for a company to compete, packages arrive within days of the order and customers expect shipping to be very inexpensive or even free. For these reasons, it’s critical to most companies’ bottom lines that last mile delivery is both expedient and cost-effective.

Why is Last Mile Delivery So Important?

Even when it’s carried out by a carrier unrelated to your company, final mile delivery is oftentimes the most direct interaction you have with your customers. Their delivery experience provides them with an impression of your company. That impression needs to be a good one or they’ll find someone else to buy from.

How Much Does Last Mile Delivery Cost?

Despite it potentially (and ideally) being the shortest leg of your freight’s trip to your customer, last mile delivery can be expensive. One study found that last mile deliveries cost companies more than on average, but that customers pay an average of just over $8.

Making Last Mile Delivery More Efficient

The first component to more efficient last mile logistics involves where the product is located for shipping to the customer. A centralized location can help cut down the miles between your product and your customer. For instance, top fulfillment centers in Canada are often located in Mississauga because of its centralized location. In fact, Newl has a warehousing and distribution facility in Mississauga for this very reason.

The location of goods is important, but the capability to fill orders expediently is also critical. Accurate and speedy order fulfilling helps improve brand trust and keeps customers coming back. The ability to quickly ship orders from your fulfillment/warehousing center also means that maybe your last mile delivery timeline isn’t quite so tight. That could potentially leave room for savings in that department.

Along with warehousing and fulfillment, solid inventory management can help companies ensure they have goods to deliver. Real-time product availability visibility on websites keeps customers from ordering items they don’t currently have on hand.

In general, 3PLs can help companies fill in the gaps in their last mile delivery capabilities throughout the whole process. With warehousing, technology, and transportation help available, they offer scalable solutions when you want to give your customers a better experience but don’t have space, infrastructure, or manpower to do so on your own.

Do You Need Your Last Mile Carrier to Go the Extra Mile?

When Amazon introduced 2-day shipping, it changed the game all across the e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retail industries. Every company that made deliveries directly to customers either had to scramble for a way to match (or at least almost match) Amazon’s new speedy promise or get left in the dust. This singular move by one company changed what customers expect from delivery. Over time, those expectations have only grown.

The pandemic delivered yet another major shake-up to the last mile delivery industry. All of the sudden, no one was doing their own shopping and everyone was relying on home deliveries. Everything from grocery staples to new furniture and everything in between were showing up on people’s doorsteps. One report showed that the top 500 companies experienced a 45.3% year-over-year increase in online sales in 2020. While the e-commerce industry was already expected to continue the rapid growth we’ve seen for years, the pandemic blew up that ticking time bomb long before many companies were fully prepared for it.

Now, customers simply expect 2-day or even same-day shipping. Real-time package tracking, simple returns, and many more “extras” that were the exception and not the rule a decade ago are standard practice now.

White Glove Delivery is the Future

White glove delivery service is the act of delivering large products into residential homes or commercial buildings. These are not your typical dock-to-dock or small parcel deliveries. As covid made online business essential, this put significant pressure on retailers who deal with bulky, heavy items. Though online demand increased in the home furniture and home renovation industries, companies struggled to find a logistics company that could handle the final mile delivery of these larger items. It has been more important than ever to find a last mile delivery service that can support white glove delivery service in both Canada and the US.

This demonstrated the importance of finding a logistics partner who can service white glove deliveries across major cities in the US and Canada.

To compete with other retailers, these premium white glove services are almost a requirement. They need a little more care and a lot more tech, but it’s often worth it, in the end, to invest in the infrastructure and extra delivery charges to make white glove happen for your customers.

Finding the Right Last Mile Carrier

When you’re seeking out final mile delivery, you’ll want to choose a carrier that covers your delivery area and covers it well. It’s important to keep in mind that national and international final mile carriers, while convenient when it comes to coverage, may not offer the same level of service in every region.

Another important point you should consider when seeking out a quality last mile carrier is visibility. Customers want to know where their package is and how long it will take to get to them. Ask potential candidates about their real-time shipment tracking technology and how they deliver updates to the customer.

 

In today’s world, last mile delivery can make or break a company in spend or reputation. Finding the right balance between the two is key.

Need help developing or streamlining last mile delivery? Newl has more than 50 offices in the US that offer white glove delivery at the right price. Contact us to schedule a consultation to see how we can help your company reach their logistics goal.

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