First Mile Delivery: What It Is and Why It's Important (2023)

Do you run a business that delivers goods to customers? If so, you know that the first step in the delivery process, commonly referred to as first mile delivery, can make or break an entire logistics operation.

In fact, the success or failure of the first mile can have a big impact on the rest of the supply chain.

But what exactly is first mile delivery? Why is it so important? What challenges do companies face when trying to optimize this shipping process?

Fear not, because we've got you covered. In this article, we'll delve into the world of first mile delivery, discovering what it is, why it's important, and how you can improve it.

Read on if you want to streamline your logistics operations, shorten delivery times and keep your customers happy.

Understanding the ins and outs of first mile delivery is the first step to thatdelivering excellence to customerswhenever.

Key takeaways:

  • First mile delivery is the critical first step in the supply chain. It consists in transporting the goods from the place of origin to the next stage of the delivery process.
  • Optimize your first mile delivery by focusing on reducing inefficiencies and streamlining processes. This includes optimizing routes, automating tasks, and reassessing packaging and labels.
  • You need to prioritize first mile deliveries to ensure seamless delivery for your customers.
  • Key challenges in first mile delivery include a lack of focus on the first mile experience and reliance on manual processes.

What is first mile delivery?

First mile delivery is the critical first step in the supply chain. It forms the basis of the entire delivery process.

It involves transporting goods from their point of origin, such as a manufacturing facility, to the next stage of the supply chain process.

But here's the thing: the first mile can look different in different industries.

For retailers, this can mean delivering goods from a regional warehouse to a local distribution center or store.

For logistics services, this can be a same-day service or an on-demand service. For example, when they collect the goods from the sender and deliver them to the consignee (the person who receives the goods).

For removals and warehousing companies, this involves collecting inventory from the client's home or store and bringing it back to the warehouse.

Regardless of your industry, the first mile delivery process can be complicated. This involves loading and unloading shipments multiple times, managing different drivers for the same goods, and coordinating shipments from multiple retailers.

First mile delivery versus last mile delivery

First mile delivery andlast mile deliveryare the two critical ingredientssupply chain. They are responsible for delivering the goods from the place of origin to the destination.

(Video) First Mile And Last Mile Delivery | Flow Of Material | Urdu-Hindi-SCM

However, they do have a few key differences.

First mile delivery involves transporting the goods from the point of origin to the next stage of the delivery process.

It can be a local distribution center, a store or even a logistics service warehouse. The emphasis is on moving the goods from the starting point to the next leg of the journey.

Last mile delivery is the last step in the delivery process where the goods reach their final destination, such as a customer's home or business.

This is the most critical phase of the delivery process as it involves the transfer of the goods into the hands of the final customer.

Both first mile delivery and last mile delivery are part of the supply chain. The first mile is to deliver the goods from the starting point, while the last mile is to deliver them to the consumer.

If your business specializes in last-mile deliveries, we can certainly help. Our Circuit for Teams tool can help you easily manage multiple drivers and routes. All this helps to save time and money!

Why is first mile delivery important?

First Mile Delivery: What It Is and Why It's Important (1)

The first mile of the delivery process is like the foundation of a home. If it is strong, you can easily build the rest of your house on top of it. But if the foundation is weak or faulty, the whole house can collapse.

Similarly, first mile delivery is the foundation of any supply chain. Optimization and efficiency can lead to a smooth and successful delivery process.

But first-mile delivery errors and inefficiencies can impact the rest of the supply chain. It worksdelays, increased costs andfrustrated customers.

Businesses that prioritize first-mile deliveries can provide customers with a hassle-free, hassle-free experiencepositive delivery experience.

This leads to customer satisfaction and can giveCourier servicescompetitive advantage in the unforgiving world of e-commerce.

Key challenges of first mile delivery

Companies have to overcome a number of hurdles to ensure that their first mile deliveries run smoothly.

Let's take a closer look at some of these challenges.

(Video) How it Works: First & Final Mile

Not prioritizing the first mile experience

While companies often focus on the last mile delivery experience, the first mile is just as important. Neglecting the first mile can lead to delivery delays, errors, and ultimately a poor customer experience.

Take the example of a customer who orders a product online and is promised delivery within two days. They may feel frustrated if the carrier doesn't pick up the product on the promised date.

The Circuit for Teams app allows you to track your driver's movements, so you can keep your customers updated on the estimated delivery time. They will know about shipping delays in advance (instead of getting disappointed at the last minute).

Relying on manual processes

The first delivery mile is often characterized by manual processes and paperwork. This can lead to inefficiencies and errors.

Digitizing the first mile allows businesses to improve speed and accuracy.

For example, usingelectronic signaturesinstead of paper ones, they can speed up the first mile of delivery. It can also reduce manual data entry errors.

Circuit for Teams also giveselectronic proof of delivery. This reduces manual processes while ensuring customer satisfaction.

No visibility

The first mile of a delivery can involve multiple pages and transfers, leading to a lack of visibility into the status and location of your shipment.

This can lead to delays and frustration for both businesses and end users.

Suppose you are a company that transports essential and perishable items, such as medical supplies. You'll needreal-time visibilityto the location and status of each shipment. Thanks to this, you can be sure that they will be delivered on time and in good condition.

The Circuit for Teams app allows you to track your driver's location. You can use this information to give your customers visibility.

5 tips to optimize your first mile delivery operations

First Mile Delivery: What It Is and Why It's Important (2)

We've put together five top tips to help you optimize your first mile delivery operations right away.

They include:

1. Plan an existing process and check for inefficiencies

Imagine your company relies onthird party logistics services(3PL) for first mile delivery.

(Video) The importance of the last mile in delivery

Zauważasz pewne problemy podczas mapowania istniejącego procesu. Należą do nich brak komunikacji między Twoim zespołem a partnerem logistycznym, jeśli chodzi o czasy odbioru i okna dostawy.

So you experience missed pick-ups, late deliveries and dissatisfied customers.

To optimize this process, you might consider implementing a digital platform like Circuit for Teams. This will enable real-time communication between your team and 3PL.

Thanks to this, everyone will be kept informed about pick-up times and delivery windows. It can improve overall performance and customer satisfaction.

Mapping your existing process and identifying areas of inefficiency means you can take targeted steps to optimize first mile delivery and improve your entire supply chain.

2. Collect relevant data

When it comes to optimizing your first mile delivery operations, data is your friend!

Collecting and analyzing the right data can help identify areas for improvement in your supply chain and streamline logistics processes.

Think of it this way: if you don't understand how long it takes suppliers to ship orders, or how often products get damaged in transit, how can you make informed decisions about optimizing the first leg of delivery?

Collecting and analyzing metrics (such as shipping times, storage times, and transit damage rates) can help you identify bottlenecks in your supply chain and make data-driven decisions to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

And with tools like inventory management software andwarehouse managementsystems, collecting and analyzing this data has never been easier.

3. Look for processes to automate

Do you know the key to optimizing the first mile?logistics management? It's automation!

With the right technology, you can turn your spending into growth. Automating first-mile operations means greater efficiency in truck loading and shorter delivery times in last-mile logistics.

Forward-thinking manufacturers are always looking to optimize logistics and speed up deliveries.

They collect data across multiple operational and logistics phases to improve product quality and offer products at a lower cost. This helps them gain an advantage in the ruthless competition.

One way to automate processes is to audit the tasks of company employees and find ways to reassign some human tasks to automated tasks.

(Video) What is the First Mile/Last Mile problem?

This generates operational savings, increases employee satisfaction and reduces high turnover rates.

You can do this by manually controlling people's working hours, asking your team for feedback, and looking for repetitive processes. Most repetitive processes can be automated today.

Assigning employees to new and more complex tasks makes them feel valued, making them more likely to contribute to the company's growth.

In addition to cost savings and increased efficiency, automation also helps to reduce errors and improve the quality of delivery services.

For example, Circuit for Teams can help reduce manual data entry, such as recording pick-up times and calling drivers to ask where they are on the route. You can track all this automatically through the platform.

Ultimately, this translates into a better customer experience. This is a win-win situation for all parties involved!

4. Optimize the warehouse receipt process

Optimizing the inbound process is critical to a smooth first mile delivery.

Without a working systeminventory trackingbecomes a nightmare and orders get confused or lost. This can lead to delays and customer dissatisfaction.

Here are some additional tips for optimizing the inbound process:

  • Streamline communication with suppliers to ensure they ship accurateshipping informationand delivery date.
  • ImplementbarcodesLubradio frequency identification (RFID)technology to quickly and accurately scan inventory as it arrives at your warehouse.
  • Use a warehouse management system (WMS) to track inventory levels in real time and be confidentproducts are stored in the most efficient locations.

5. Re-evaluate the product packaging and label

Packaging and labeling are critical factors to consider when optimizing the first mile delivery process.

Improper packaging can damage inventory and inconsistent labeling can lead to inventory management issues.

Here are some ways to reassess your product's packaging and labeling:

  • When choosing a supplier, evaluate the quality of their packaging to ensure that goods reach your warehouse intact.
  • Use enough dunnage material, top and bottom load restraints, corner/edge boards and stretch wrap to prevent breakage, weight distribution issues and load shifting during transport.
  • Consistently tag your products between supplier, warehouse and distribution center. This will allow you to easily track stock levels and re-order products as needed.
  • If you work with 3PL, follow their labeling guidelines to streamline the in-warehousing process.

See how Circuit for Teams helps you manage your drivers and routes quickly and easily

Remember, whether you're a small business just starting out or a large enterprise with multiple locations, there's always room forstreamlining the delivery process.

Following best practices - such as using technology to automate tasks, optimizing the inbound process, and reassessing product packaging and labeling - can help you stay ahead of the competition and succeed in the long term.

And if you're looking for a tool to help you manage your delivery operations, consider thisTeam circuit.

(Video) First Mile, Last Mile And Everything In The Middle

With the latest product updates, Circuit for Teams offers even more features to help you optimize routes, manage drivers, and streamline first and last mile delivery logistics.

They includeproof of delivery (POD), dynamic stop status icons and the ability to modify routes in real time.

To tryTeam circuittoday and see what difference it can bring to your company.


Why is first mile delivery important? ›

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 is first mile delivery? ›

What is meant by first mile delivery? This is a process where the products are moved from a manufacturer or retailer's warehouse to a holding center. From this location, a carrier, shipping company, or logistics partners picks up the products and takes it to the next leg in the destination.

What is the most important for success in last-mile delivery? ›

Communication, consistency and control are the foundations of a successful delivery partnership that will improve customer satisfaction and create repeat customers.

What is the last-mile and why is it important? ›

The last mile is the distance a product travels from a logistics facility to the end user. Often the most expensive journey in the supply chain, the last mile itself is a relative distance that can be anywhere from a single block to 100 miles.

What is just in time delivery and why is it important? ›

Just in time delivery means the process of creating goods in a ready state, or completing their production, so that a minimal inventory can satisfy demand and a delivery can take place with immediate effect in order that consumers receive what they want precisely when they want.

How important is it to deliver on time? ›

On-time delivery helps build better customer retention for brands. It also ensures reliability to the customer which will increase the customer's trust in the business. This is critical for converting once-off customers into repeat customers by creating loyalty.

What is the first mile process? ›

First mile delivery refers to the first stage of the transportation. This is when the parcel leaves the seller's warehouse and is taken by the courier pick up agent to process it or take it to the warehouse.

What is the meaning of first mile last mile? ›

First Mile: Getting from your start point (e.g., your home) to an RTD stop/station. Last Mile: Getting from the RTD station/stop to your final destination (e.g., your job)

What is the meaning of first mile connectivity? ›

First-mile connectivity (FMC) refers to the transportation of coal from pitheads to dispatch points.

What are first mile last mile challenges? ›

One of these challenges, known as the First Mile/Last Mile (FM/LM) problem, is the requirement of the rider to get from the starting point of their journey to the place of transportation, which in turn requires another leg of their journey from the transportation station to their destination.

What skills do you need for last mile delivery? ›

Key skills and competencies for last-mile delivery drivers and managers include strong communication skills, attention to detail, time management, problem-solving abilities, and adaptability.

What is the most important aspect of last mile? ›

1. Auto-dispatch. Auto-dispatch is one of the essential features in any last-mile delivery logistics solution that helps in the hassle-free and efficient management of important assignments and on-demand orders for last-mile carrier companies.

What is the goal of the last mile delivery? ›

The goal of last mile delivery is to deliver goods as cost-effectively and quickly as possible to keep transport costs low and customer satisfaction high.

What is the significance of a mile? ›

It originated from the Roman mille passus, or “thousand paces,” which measured 5,000 Roman feet. About the year 1500 the “old London” mile was defined as eight furlongs. At that time the furlong, measured by a larger northern (German) foot, was 625 feet, and thus the mile equaled 5,000 feet.

What is the point of a mile? ›

The statute mile of 5,280 feet originated in the Roman mille passus, or “thousand paces,” which measured 5,000 Roman feet. A Roman pace equaled 5 Roman feet, measured from the point at which the heel of one foot was raised to the point at which it was set down again after an intervening step by the other foot.

What is the key factor for just-in-time delivery? ›

Demand forecasting plays a central role in just-in-time (JIT) delivery services because it helps businesses to predict the demand for their products or services accurately.

Why is just-in-time delivery important for customers? ›

The benefit of JIT delivery is that customers don't have to order the products until they need them. This saves them from setting aside the necessary time and space to manage inventory. Restaurants are a great example of just-in-time delivery.

What are three advantages of just-in-time? ›

Advantages and disadvantages of just-in-time production
  • preventing over-production.
  • minimising waiting times and transport costs.
  • saving resources by streamlining your production systems.
  • reducing the capital you have tied up in stock.
  • dispensing with the need for inventory operations.
  • decreasing product defects.

How do you deliver effectively? ›

Use your voice expressively and meaningfully.
  1. Minimize the uhs, ums, likes and y'knows.
  2. Enunciate words clearly. Don't mumble or garble them.
  3. Speak with appropriate loudness and speed. Consider audience, place and topic.
  4. Use variations in speed, inflections, and force to enhance your meaning and hold audience attention.

What is the best delivery time? ›

Babies born too early may have more health problems at birth and later in life than babies born later. Being pregnant 39 weeks gives your baby's body all the time it needs to develop.

What is the most common delivery time? ›

Sixty percent of babies are born during the day, between 6 A.M. and 6 P.M. And, 3.5 times as many babies are born at exactly 8:00 A.M., the most common minute to be born, than at the least common, 3:09 A.M.

How do I prepare for a 1 mile run? ›

How to Prepare for Running a Mile
  1. Study: Learn what it takes to run a mile without stopping. ...
  2. Sleep: You're going to need energy to run a mile and recover from each build-up run, so give your body time to rest.
  3. Eat: It takes fuel to run. ...
  4. Hydrate: Drink enough water to fuel your run.
  5. Relax: Don't stress.
May 8, 2023

How do I prepare for a 1 mile race? ›

7 tips for running your best mile
  1. Know the distance. ...
  2. Familiarise yourself with the track. ...
  3. Brush up on your track etiquette. ...
  4. Decide on your goal pace beforehand. ...
  5. Pace yourself! ...
  6. Focus on the third lap. ...
  7. Try to relax and enjoy it.
Jun 15, 2017

How do you run a fast mile strategy? ›

  1. Run longer distances. Running longer than a mile will boost your endurance. ...
  2. Do hill sprints twice a week. ...
  3. Improve your lung capacity. ...
  4. Use proper form. ...
  5. Run a one-mile race every week. ...
  6. Rest for at least two days a week. ...
  7. Use the stairs if you can't find hills. ...
  8. Run with a frenemy.

What is the difference between first mile and middle mile? ›

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.

What is the difference between line haul and first mile? ›

The first mile is picking the order from the seller/or fulfilment centre and deliver it to the logistic partner hub. line haul is the process from the hub to deliver it to the destination city. the last mile is from the destination city or DC to deliver the order to end consumer.

How long does first mile shipping take? ›

FirstMile uses several couriers to offer the best price and service. Because of this, there is no guaranteed time of delivery for international packages. Depending on the courier, international deliveries can take anywhere from the next day to 10 days or longer.

What are the benefits of first mile connectivity? ›

Reduced manual intervention, precise pre-weighed quantity, quicker loading, and better coal quality are all benefits of FMC projects. Rakes and wagons will be more readily available if loading times are reduced. Less traffic on the roads means less pollution and diesel consumption, the ministry said in a statement.

What are first mile facilities? ›

This is where the parcel first leaves the merchant's doorsteps. Merchants could either drop off their goods at specific points such as at the post office or the mailbox or request for logistics companies to pick up their goods from where they were stored.

What is first mile traceability? ›

First mile traceability: First mile traceability tracks the source farms and farmers from which cocoa enters the direct supply chain.

How can I improve my last mile? ›

Better Communication: Solving the last mile problem often involves improving communication between the customer and the delivery provider. This can result in better communication about delivery times, tracking updates, and any issues that may arise.

Why is last mile delivery difficult? ›

What is the last mile problem? If you've ever tracked a package in real-time online and saw that it was “out for delivery” for what felt like forever, you already understand that the last mile problem is inefficiency. That's because the final leg of shipment typically involves multiple stops with low drop sizes.

What are the roles and responsibilities of last mile? ›

Promote, execute, and evaluate operational plans and schemes. Support HR with hiring when needed. Help develop a company culture that promotes top performance and high morale. Manage budgeting, recording, planning, and auditing.

What are the delivery skills needed? ›

Delivery skills are comprised of effective eye contact, volume, pacing, tone, body language, word choice, and appearance. It's important to be aware of not only what you are saying, but also how you are saying it.

What skills do you need to be a delivery man? ›

16 examples of delivery driver skills
  • Technical familiarity. Delivery drivers use new and existing technologies to optimize their work performance, like computer billing systems. ...
  • Written and spoken communication. ...
  • Organization. ...
  • Safe driving. ...
  • Mathematical ability. ...
  • Physical ability. ...
  • Critical thinking. ...
  • Teamwork.
Mar 3, 2023

What is the first step of the last mile? ›

A dynamic vehicle routing process is the starting point for last-mile logistics. Process improvements that begin with a reliable transportation process connecting your company with customers, lays a solid foundation for last-mile solutions.

What is the importance of first and last-mile connectivity? ›

Public transit local stations stop far from where you are going, and you may not wish to use personal vehicles to travel such long distances. The first mile/last mile problem in the context of passenger travel, i.e., your situation, is the need for a second mode of transportation to reach work and get back.

Why is last-mile delivery so crucial in the retail environment? ›

The last mile is a crucial part of logistics because if the last mile doesn't go well, customer experience suffers. Customers don't see the supply chain process before the last mile -- they likely only remember how it got to their hands.

What are first mile last-mile challenges? ›

One of these challenges, known as the First Mile/Last Mile (FM/LM) problem, is the requirement of the rider to get from the starting point of their journey to the place of transportation, which in turn requires another leg of their journey from the transportation station to their destination.

What is the first mile last mile concept? ›

Simply put, first-mile delivery is at the start of the delivery portion of the supply chain and last-mile delivery is at the end of the supply chain. First-mile operations get the product from the manufacturer via a courier to a carrier. Last-mile operations finish when the order is delivered.

What is first mile connectivity? ›

First-mile connectivity refers to the transportation of coal from pitheads to dispatch points. New Delhi: The Ministry of Coal on Monday announced that it will be implementing 19 additional first mile connectivity projects for Coal India and SCCL with a capacity of 330 million tonnes by the financial year 2026-2027.

What is the objective of last mile delivery? ›

Last mile delivery, also known as last mile logistics, is the transportation of goods from a distribution hub to the final delivery destination — the door of the customer. The goal of last mile delivery logistics is to deliver the packages as affordably, quickly and accurately as possible.

How do I overcome last mile delivery challenges? ›

5 Ways to Address Last-mile Problems in the Supply Chain
  1. Improve customer-warehouse proximity. ...
  2. Invest in technology for delivery optimization. ...
  3. Optimize delivery vehicle routes and dynamic vehicle routing. ...
  4. Communicate with customers in real-time. ...
  5. Implement an effective real-time delivery tracking system.

Why is the last mile the hardest mile? ›

The last mile is the hardest. Pushing through the discomforts, the obstacles, the excuses, and even the pain to finish is what makes finishing worth it. Over time, most of us lose sight of the beauty that surrounds us. Why?

Do you know what is the difference between first mile middle mile and last-mile? ›

What is the difference between the first, middle and last mile? In first and middle-mile deliveries, the goods are often moved in palletised or crated batches, whereas last-mile deliveries usually involve labelling and transporting individualised goods or SKUs (stock-keeping units) to the final destination.

What is first mile vs line haul vs last-mile? ›

The first mile is picking the order from the seller/or fulfilment centre and deliver it to the logistic partner hub. line haul is the process from the hub to deliver it to the destination city. the last mile is from the destination city or DC to deliver the order to end consumer.

Why is middle mile important? ›

The middle mile of the delivery process provides a significant opportunity for cost savings and increased productivity, among other benefits. Many retailers have started bringing middle mile logistics in-house to give them better control over their own supply chain.


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