First Mile Delivery: Simplified Definition

First-mile delivery refers to the transportation of products or orders from a merchant’s or retailer’s warehouse to the next stop of the shipment process. First-mile can mean different things for different platforms, for example for a manufacturer it could mean transporting goods from the manufacturing plant to the distribution centre or warehouse. Whatever be the platform, first-mile delivery is usually the first stage of the whole shipping and logistics process.

First Mile Delivery: Technical Definition

ClickPost defines First-Mile delivery as the first stage of order fulfilment in ecommerce logistics, as it describes the process of transporting products from an initial location, like the supplier’s facility to a retailer’s warehouse or distribution centre, and it includes activities related to order tracking and supply chain management.

Why is First-Mile Delivery Important?

First-mile delivery is as the name suggests the first stage of the logistics process. As the first stage in the order fulfilment process, it has a major impact on the whole delivery and supply chain. First-mile delivery is important as it provides accurate information of the package for later delivery processes, helps in keeping the supply chain and inventory organized and packaging shipments properly. It ensures that the middle mile delivery and last-mile delivery is smooth and efficient.

What are the Challenges of First Mile Delivery?

Though the process of first-mile delivery sounds relatively simple on paper, it is a crucial and complex stage, where if something goes wrong then the whole shipping process is affected. Some of the challenges that are faced in the course of first-mile delivery are:

  1. Limited focus on first-mile delivery or lack of first-mile delivery experience: Many businesses focus on improving customer experience by improving last-mile delivery and reverse logistics. This sometimes leads to a poor focus on first-mile delivery systems. However not being efficient in first-mile delivery ultimately affects the later stages of the delivery process and delays the order fulfilment.

  2. Inefficiency in shipping labels: Shipping labels are an important aspect of the delivery process, as it contains all the necessary information required in the later stages. Inefficient labelling can cause lots of logistics problems.

  3. Improper packaging: Correct packaging ensures that the product remains safe and sound when being transported from one centre to another. Improper methods of packaging can result in in-transit damages that cause inconveniences for the customers.

  4. Lack of visibility: Once the order is packaged and shipped it should be properly tracked in order to ensure that it reaches its destination smoothly. Inefficient tracking may lead to poor handling, en-route delays and poor transparency in the delivery process.

How long does first-mile delivery take?

First-mile delivery is the first stage of the delivery process and usually,  the delivery time depends on how far the warehouse or fulfilment centre is situated from the supplier and what kind of package is being transported. Delivery times can also depend on the fulfilment model chosen and various other factors like package size, delivery location and delivery instructions.

How much does first-mile delivery cost?

First-mile delivery costs mostly depend upon the mode of delivery chosen, the amount of inventory transported, and the distance from the supplier. It is usually recommended to keep the first-mile delivery cost-effective and order only as many goods as you are required to fulfil. This will help you keep the costs down and help in a more efficient and smooth delivery process.

What is the difference between first-mile delivery and last-mile delivery?

First-mile delivery is the first leg of the logistics journey and involves transporting the packages and orders from the supplier and manufacturer to the nearest fulfilment centre or warehouse. Last-mile delivery is basically the last stage of the logistics process where the package is transported from the middle-mile location to the customer’s doorstep.

 

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