October 15, 2019

The Final Mile: Challenge or Opportunity?

If you’ve been following our blog recently, you may have seen our two-part series on final mile logistics management. We are now concluding the series by summarising our findings as well as offering you insight as to whether or not final mile logistics is the best way to lower costs.

Let’s begin by refreshing what we’ve already learned and then use it as a jumping-off point in understanding the pros and cons of final mile logistics:

What is transportation and logistics management?

Transport logistics is the business arm that manages the transport of inventory from one place to another in an efficient and effective manner. In fact, transport logistics is a subcategory of logistics management since it focuses explicitly on the transportation of goods.

It’s a specialized area of logistics that actively manages and supports:

  • Operations Management
  • Vehicle and Fleet Organization
  • Infrastructure Administration

Logisticians who use their resources wisely can leverage them to improve processes and services. Doing so can contribute to the organisation’s bottom line.

Managing transportation under logistics

The active practice of logistics management requires the lead to swiftly respond the needs of a business while remaining efficient and cost-effective. It’s critical to optimise the performance of your supply chain to accomplish this goal.

The good news is that automation and data logging can assist in this process. Business applications and Software as a Service (SaaS) technologies operate entire networks free from error at the lowest price possible. What project manager doesn’t love that idea?

In addition to automation and data logging, transport logistics companies are wise to invest in circumstance monitoring and data collection and analysis in industries that have special management needs.

Aside from the competitive market, there are several convincing reasons to actively manage your company’s logistics and transportation business units including:

  • Order fulfilment
  • Inventory flow optimisation
  • Reduction in carbon footprint
  • Gaining preferred shipper status

Transport logistics are challenging to manage, but without attention to detail, the entire system will derail. Orders may go unfulfilled which can lead to unhappy customers in the end.

Tips for effective transportation and logistics management

As you previously learned, it’s important to manage every aspect of the transport logistics process. More steps mean that there is even greater room for error. Follow these top 7 tips for practical transportation and logistics management:

  1. Determine Your Transport Logistics Goals Before Implementing a New Strategy
  2. Use Contingency Planning to Your Advantage
  3. Leveraging Business Automation Applications and Software Programs
  4. Get Your Employees to Communicate Regularly
  5. Ensure You Keep Your Customers “in the Loop”
  6. Take Service Delivery Cues from Your Competitors
  7. Use Data Collection and Analytics to Improve Your Results

Now that we can easily recall the fine details of effective transport logistics management, we can now incorporate the final element of three-part series: final mile logistics. In this next section, we draw upon our foundational knowledge of project management and use it to evaluate whether or not file mile logistics is worth your company’s resources.

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What does integrated final mile logistics mean?

Incorporating final mile logistics into your strategy changes everything for shippers who want to increase customer-side transparency during the final mile delivery of an order. It’s a process that requires you to combine the available systems with your existing network.

Since customers want faster service at the lowest price possible, companies are crowdsourcing their final mile logistics efforts now more than ever. ‘Uberized’ deliver drivers handle every aspect, including delivery, handling, and set-up.

It’s an exciting aspect of transport logistics management, albeit one that is slow to gain total acceptance. Aside from popularity, there are several key benefits that final mile logistics to companies that integrate it with their service offerings.

Pros of integrating final mile logistics

For shippers, integrating final mile logistics is an excellent way to reduce labour and maintenance costs while simultaneously providing faster shipping options. Companies can find delivery drivers who specialise in specific industries and locations, which means that you can cost-effectively ship smaller volumes of product.

In addition to these benefits, you can even gain exposure to white glove delivery options where they may have previously been unavailable. While most consumers would like to have assistance with their new products, it’s not always an option. By integrating final mile logistics into your overall delivery strategy, you may be able to set your sights on new ways of serving customers.

Cons of integrating final mile logistics

As you already know, there are so many challenges associated with managing the final mile side on deliveries. An increase in e-commerce and demand for same-day fulfilment, final mile logistics is more critical now than ever to operate efficiently and effectively.

A significant downside to final mile logistics integration is mostly related to technology. Companies are finding it challenging to develop the right systems and models to enhance service while leveraging automation. It’s even worse for same-day shipments.

Lastly, the least transparent process in logistics occurs on the final mile. Customers aren’t entirely sure of where their delivers are except that it’s on the truck somewhere and contains an 8-hour delivery window. These are issues final mile logistics must attempt to solve.

Final thoughts and considerations

Final mile service is a great way to supplement that existing structure of your supply chain. Doing so leads to higher customer satisfaction and lower shipping costs. Unfortunately, it goes overlooked by many companies. Try finding a dedicated system that incorporates data logging, circumstance monitoring, and data collection and analysis to improve your final mile efforts.

Thank you for reading our three-part series on transport logistics and final mile management. If you enjoyed this article, check out our post Cargo Insurance: Why You Should Take It. For more information about some of the technological concepts regarding data collection and analysis introduced in this article, please refer to What Is Data Logging?

At this point you may also be interested in taking a closer look at the Logmore service, we might be able to help you with your problems. Also, you can book a meeting with us if you'd rather talk!