What is First Mile Delivery? And its relevance in a Transportation Management System
The process of transferring a product from the manufacturing unit to the final customer is not a single-step action. There are multiple steps involved, which can be classified under three categories:
1) First Mile Delivery (usually from the origin of product destination to a warehouse/collection hub)
2) Middle Mile Delivery (hub to hub movement between destinations)
3) Last Mile Delivery (delivery to the end customer location)
Delivery Management stages in Logistics
First mile delivery involves the transportation of products from the merchant or manufacturer’s premises to a central warehouse. Middle mile delivery generally involves the transportation of products from the warehouse to retail locations. The product can be transferred to a local warehouse from where it can be sent for delivery. Final mile delivery or last mile delivery involves sending the product to the customer.
Although last mile delivery is generally the center of focus for a lot of companies as it involves direct contact with customers, modern eCommerce platforms also focus on the first and middle mile to improve operational excellence which in the process serves the end customer better. This makes visibility and tracking over the first mile tracking very important.
What comes under first mile delivery or first mile tracking?
Managing manufacturers’ updates on orders, fleet management, packaging, loading, and transportation come under first-mile delivery.
The eCommerce industry puts a good amount of emphasis on speed. So, the transportation of goods from the manufacturer’s unit to the warehouse is now carried out by the seller to have better control over the delivery process.
Thus, first mile delivery involves tracking the item when an order is ready to ship, arranging vehicles to pick up the order, transporting it to the warehouse, and then ensuring proper storage so that the goods can be shipped efficiently.
A significant portion of the first mile delivery process is carried out manually through phone calls. Manual tracking is done to ensure that the goods are packed and loaded properly. It also involves physical documentation and signatures. This is where software like LogiNext Mile comes in handy to digitize, optimize and automate order allocation.
Areas of concern in First Mile Delivery
The process of tracking an order when it is ready to ship and arranging vehicles for its transportation to a warehouse may sound easy, but it can involve a lot of manual input. Manual steps leave more room for errors.
Nowadays, when a customer places an order, he or she gets a tentative delivery date. Customers can even track their products at every stage of the delivery process. So, they want the sellers to stick to the given delivery date. Delays in first-mile delivery need to be compensated with a rushed last-mile delivery to meet the deadline, which makes the process complicated.
- Packaging and labeling errors are likely to happen in first mile delivery
- Visibility in the logistics processes between the manufacturer and shipper are almost non-existent
- Suboptimal packaging can damage the products
- Labeling errors can cause delays in the delivery process. Products may even go missing
- All this can lead to reduced customer satisfaction and low customer retention
Improving first mile delivery tracking
Automation can help companies overcome a lot of challenges in the logistics management process. Automating packaging and labeling makes the process much faster. It also reduces the margin of error.
Digital solutions allow companies to track products throughout the delivery process (see how ePOD works). This increased visibility can reduce delays and issues caused by rushed manual packaging. Digitally tracking products also helps pinpoint processes that need to be optimized.
Having easy access to information can help companies implement an efficient transportation management system to make better route choices, increase efficiency and reduce fuel costs. Shippers can also be questioned about damaged or lost goods if a company can track the process from start to end.
LogiNext can help you improve first mile delivery tracking
LogiNext’s smart technology helps companies make better automation decisions and configure logistics management tools according to their needs.
LogiNext Mile is a complete logistics management software that ensures a 30% reduction in delivery costs. Bringing the entire delivery process to a digital platform increases end-to-end visibility and makes tracking easier.
- Features like InScan and OutScan improve that tracking accuracy.
- Greater packaging efficiency can be achieved with the help of 3D packaging and loading solutions.
- Partnering with LogiNext allows companies to utilize a better transport management system with optimized route management.
- Linehaul tracking can be enhanced with the help of features like real-time intercity tracking, dynamic detention and delay alerts, route planning, and route optimization.
Altogether, these features make the processes involved in first mile delivery much easier. An efficient tracking process and a quick delivery process can significantly increase customer satisfaction.