What is last mile delivery?

last updated 08-22-2022
by FreightPrint

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Last Mile Delivery for Beginners

There’s a lot of buzz in the supply chain market about last mile delivery operations. Gig workers are bombarded with ads from Postmates, Uber, Amazon Flex, etc.

Many of us hadn’t heard the term “last mile” until recently. So what is “last mile,” anyway?

How does last mile delivery work?

The supply chain consists of many links. For example, let's take the case of buying a book through Amazon. The book you purchase from Amazon has to go through several steps in the supply chain before an Amazon driver can deliver it to your doorstep. It may include the publisher printing the book in Hong Kong, then shipping it in a container to New Orleans, then finally transporting it to a warehouse close to where you live.

When you click on the “buy” button, the book gets ready for its trip to your door.

This final trip is what is called “last mile” or “final mile.” This final leg in the product delivery journey seems to be the one the customer cares about the most.

Although it may sound straightforward, last mile delivery presents some of the most challenging aspects of the delivery process.

For example, a last mile delivery route may typically involve multiple stops with low drop sizes. Customers in rural areas may take longer to service due to how far apart the stops are, whereas urban areas may require higher dwell time due to higher traffic and more frequent stops.

Last Mile delivery solutions

Shippers and carriers spend a lot of time and energy on last-mile delivery. Due to high customer demand for visibility, last mile becomes even more complicated for those carriers who don’t use routing or last mile delivery software.

There’s been a lot of interest in hiring contractors or gig workers to service this leg of the supply chain. Apps like Postman, DoorDash and Amazon Flex are designed to meet this ever increasing demand for last mile delivery.

Shippers often see last mile as a cost center. Many use third-party expeditors to deliver their final mile operations.

The Future of Last Mile logistics

Demand for last mile delivery is not waning; it is only going to keep increasing. Retail giants like Walmart and Amazon have been investing billions into last mile capabilities, and started even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finding and retaining commercial truck drivers is harder than ever. However, anyone with a valid driver's license can drive a box truck or a delivery van. The future of last mile delivery companies is looking brighter than ever. The retailers are just getting started, and the battle for capacity to deliver their last mile is already here.


Trucking companies who are paying attention to the last mile delivery problem and using technology like FreightPrint™ could reap the benefit of solving last mile problems.

If you are a transportation and logistics company and are looking to learn more about last mile logistics, schedule a free consultation with FreightPrint™ today.

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