First-Mile Delivery’s Impact on Business Growth

13 Jul 2023

While last-mile delivery is a ubiquitous concept in the logistics world, few people reflect on the impact of the other end of the process in a company’s scalability. Here’s what you need to know about that first mile.

In logistics, first mile and last mile are two instances in the delivery process, namely its beginning, and end. Both concepts refer to the direct link between retailers and distributors in a supply chain.

Companies often focus on the last mile and aim to optimize it using different strategies, like the deployment of provider management systems, improved communications and coordination with providers, the implementation of real-time tracking solutions, and process streamlining to reduce pickup and handling times.

However, focusing on first-mile delivery can provide companies with more efficient, reliable, and quick supply chain operations, which will ultimately increase customer satisfaction and give them a competitive edge in the market.

first-mile delivery

Why You Need to Think About

First-Mile Delivery

“Everyone focuses on last-mile delivery, as that’s what ends up defining your service experience,” says Estefanía Sisatzky, EVP of OPS & Customer Service at Aerodoc. “However, the first mile is crucial, too. The sooner a product starts its international journey, the sooner it enters the supply chain process, the more efficiencies we will generate, and the greater the chances of a successful delivery,” says Sisatzky.

First-mile delivery goes from the moment the customer makes a request to the moment to the selection of the means of shipping, including order preparation, validation, and transportation. 

Here’s a comparison between both processes:

first-mile delivery

First Mile 101: The Basics

First-mile delivery has various operational functions that need to be organized to provide an effective, fluid service, making the most out of the available resources and optimizing costs.

The four main pillars of first-mile delivery are the following:

  • Order Packing and Consolidation
  • Picking 
  • Transportation
  • Truck Loading and Dispatch

During order consolidation and packing, workers check the number of units requested, set up the order for shipping, and print relevant documentation to complete shipping labels.

Picking is the main first-mile operation, and the most expensive step of the process – it can account for more than 60% of total costs. Orders should be prepared in advance and a quality control process should be in place to send orders for consolidation quickly, with short delivery times.

First-mile delivery often includes shipping the finished product from a manufacturing center to a central/transit warehouse before continuing to its final destination. In this case, having a good shipping service within your supply chain is essential.

first-mile delivery

The final step of the process is loading the orders into the delivery truck with its corresponding documentation to ship them to destination.

How Aerodoc Works with Its Customers

“Our customers’ providers are mostly large technology manufacturers, whose standard process has them in charge of the delivery from the manufacturing plant to the facilities, i.e., the warehouse chosen by our customer,” explains Sisatzky. “However, for shipments with tight delivery deadlines or specific dates, as they are a milestone of a larger project, we always recommend letting Aerodoc take control and handle that pickup, as a lot of inefficiencies can come up during that vital process. For example, many companies use services that may have up to three days of time in transit. Depending on our customer’s kind of project or its urgency, they may need to get it done overnight, and those three lost days can prove fatal for them.”

Furthermore, when the point of departure is not a large corporation, pickups can fail due to the lack of a reference number, wrongly scheduled pickup times or other reasons.

According to Sisatzky, “Aerodoc has a provider and service pool that allows us to adapt to each customer’s needs. Often, the solutions provided by our customers’ providers or sourcing points are not well suited for a project. Aerodoc can generate efficiencies and cut the total time in transit by focusing on first-mile delivery.”

Aerodoc provides services for the entire logistics chain; it is a one-stop shop for everything from pickup, international shipping, and IOR to last-mile delivery at the destination. “We coordinate everything and have an overall view of our customers’ projects. That’s how we know that that day or two you save on pickup is a key input.”



Topics on this article: first mile delivery | last mile | Logistics | Supply Chain

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