Dominating The Last Mile Through Technological Innovation


The consumer market demands convenience and expedience, and that has led to the inexorable rise of last mile strategy as key in any supply chain. As the Wall Street Journal highlights, crucial last mile real estate is being snapped up at an astonishing rate; urban-based warehousing now has a vacancy rate of under 2%. With such fierce competition in place, businesses face a tough task of making their own mark and ensuring that they dominate their own last mile proceedings. Turning to technology to make the most of every single delivery is crucial.

Fine-tuning the route

A quick and relatively simple way to start improving last-mile delivery is through fine-tuning route finding software. GPS and map applications have come a long way since they became commonplace in delivery vehicles, but inaccuracies remain that can have a serious impact on delivery times. As the New York Times highlights, this includes the re-routing of vehicles into potentially dangerous areas during highway closures and traffic jams. Businesses should seek to find bespoke route optimization software into their plans, especially if you work regionally. There’s a greater level of finesse that can be obtained through route optimization apps that work at the local level, and this will give local delivery businesses an edge over the much larger, national and international players.

Resolving inefficiencies

Within the actual day-to-day running of a business there are, inevitably, inefficiencies. According to Forbes, these aren’t a bad thing per se – after all, blue-sky thinking is by definition inefficient, yet can yield the most exciting new plans for a business. Conversely, looking to streamline or innovate in a way that doesn’t actually add new revenue to the business, or solve existing problems, is a waste of time. Look to innovate in a way that meets problems, or finds new solutions for your overall delivery process. Problem-solving is the name of the game, and will help you to improve the entire supply chain cycle.

Turn to automation

Black and Gray Motherboard

Removing the efficiency problems associated with human input is the ultimate way to improve your last mile. Automation is already being deployed by some of the bigger deliver firms; a report analyzed by Robotics & Automations News estimates that robotic last-mile deliveries will generate $50 billion in revenue by 2050 as a result of that. While robotic deliveries are far off for many businesses, automation can still have a big impact on the last mile. Removing any processes that would otherwise demand human resource attention, and replacing them with automated processes, removes administrative time and gets parcel into the vehicle, and to their destination, much faster. It’s also a forward-thinking way to run a business. Automation is undoubtedly the future of operational delivery, after all.

Turning to technology will help to give a slight edge against fierce competition in the last mile stakes. It can be difficult to overcome physical logistical barriers, such as volume. Using technology to instead eek out an advantage is the way forward for most businesses.