One thing is clear. Growth in e-commerce and omni-channel distribution, combined with consumer expectations for fast and free delivery, are driving increased demand for Final Mile Logistics. This is the final stage in the supply chain that brings the goods we buy online from a nearby transportation hub to our homes and businesses. This last leg of the shipping journey is shaping up to be the most important – and the most challenging and costly.
A host of recent reports have surveyed stakeholders (logistics providers, supply chain executives, retailers, manufacturers, distributors and consumers) to try and get a handle on the challenges and coming innovations in ‘Final Mile’ logistics.
Here are some interesting highlights to consider.
One of the biggest challenges is finding a balance between customer satisfaction and profitability. Consumers have high expectations for a quality delivery experience with fast and/or free delivery. Meeting that demand has both retailers and shippers looking for ways to improve performance and profitability.
Surveys of business leaders in Transportation and Logistics reveals that they are actively exploring new approaches and technologies to optimize the final mile segment of the supply chain. Public sentiment, government regulation, and labor costs Vs technology investment costs will influence how fast these approaches are implemented and how successful they will be in improving last-mile performance and lowering costs.
Some of the new final mile technologies are being field tested now but many will take years to implement broadly. In the meantime, who knows what other new and novel ideas may come along to streamline the supply chain. Stay tuned.