Last Mile Delivery: Definition, FAQ and More

Last Mile Delivery Definition

The last mile delivery segment represents the movement of goods from local distribution hubs to their final destination, whether it be a residence or business. Commonly referred to as the last link in the supply chain, examples include FedEx, Amazon, and UPS.


How Does Last Mile Delivery Work?

Starting with an online order through an ecommerce or retailer site, the request is verified through an order management system and then a message is sent to the corresponding warehouse or distribution hub. The package is packaged and labeled for delivery at the warehouse, then the retailer’s delivery partner, or private/branded delivery service, picks up the package and schedules it for final delivery at the home or business.


What is a Last Mile Delivery Vehicle?

In most cases, last-mile delivery providers use vans or step vans to transport goods. There are exceptions, as some courier services use light-duty cars to delivery smaller, more compact packages. Many fleets are testing zero-emission vehicles like battery-electric step vans to reduce their carbon footprint.


What is a Last Mile Delivery Fleet?

A last-mile delivery fleet can either be privately run/branded, as in the case of Amazon, or can be a partner to retailers, which included UPS and FedEx.


Last Mile Delivery Technology

Last mile delivery includes a variety of different technologies that improve overall operations, cut costs, and ensure customers have a positive experience throughout the process. Everything from online ordering management to vehicle telematics data helps streamline the process. The influx of big data has allowed these fleets to develop efficient, streamlined fleets that keep fuel costs down and ensure on-time delivery. Some businesses even employ the use autonomous warehouse and on-road equipment and vehicles.


What is Last Mile Delivery Software

To provide insight to all parties, last-mile delivery fleets use software that can provide not only transparency into the different process steps (order received, order processed, order sent, etc.), it can also give an exact location of the goods along the way. The retailer, shipper, and customer are given clear picture of where the order is from when it leaves the warehouse to when it arrives at the home or business. This, combined with fleet management software, help ensure that the packages are being delivered in a timely and safe manner.


Benefits of Last Mile Delivery

Last-mile delivery allows consumers to go from ordering to tracking to receiving in a matter of days, instead of weeks. Giants like Amazon offer even guarantee next-day, and sometimes even same-day, delivery to its customers. This has ramped up the online retail industry, creating a massive surge in the last few years.


Challenges of Last Mile Delivery

While the increased revenue has created a windfall for last-mile fleets, there are challenges as well. Fleets are dealing with continued driver retention and recruitment issues to meet the current and increasing demands. There is also a call to reduce emissions, which have seen an uptick caused by more delivery vehicles on the streets in urban areas.


Future of Last Mile Delivery

Answering the call to reduce emissions, many last-mile fleets are looking to replace their vans and step vans with near-zero and zero-emission vehicles. Amazon has all begun pilot testing battery-electric vans in their major markets, while companies like FedEx and UPS have been reducing emissions with natural gas, propane, and other alternative fuel vehicles for the past decade. Some carriers are also testing the use of autonomous vehicles and drones to increase efficiencies, lower costs, and increase safety.


How Does LifeSaver Mobile Supplement Last Mile Delivery?

Partnering cell blocking technology with last mile delivery software can mitigate distracted driving behaviors. We work with some of the largest last mile delivery fleets across the U.S to provide in-vehicle behavior correction of phone distraction and speeding.