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eCommerce Logistics at Scale: The Journey of a Thousand Miles Hangs in the Balance

Apr 24, 2019 5:54:00 PM

The push to a customer’s location is a crucial home stretch for parcel carriers. The last mile may be the final leg of the journey, but it’s often first on the list of logistical problems – and costs.

“Last Mile” is a dreaded term when it comes to deliveries. It’s the final step in logistics and refers to the distance between. Efficiently handling this distance can be a huge headache for even the largest seller, a transportation hub, and the final delivery destination, regardless of how long or short it is.

In terms of expense, the last mile takes a huge bite of the pie chart, claiming 53 percent of overall delivery cost. The fewer last-mile issues a business can control, the more it will affect their service and annoy their customers, especially at a time when eCommerce purchases are rapidly increasing. What exactly makes the last mile so problematic, and what can your business do about it?

A list of last-mile troubles for retailers

  • Traffic woes – Urban areas can really tie up parcel carriers and sluggish carrier mobility can account for as much as 28 percent of total transportation cost. Big towns and cities burn through gas as carriers visit stop after stop – as many as 120 deliveries a day per UPS driver. 
  • Missed delivery signatures – Businesses need to consider packages that require signatures and may be missed. This means further delivery attempts and greater cost. The type of goods in transit can also affect last-mile logistics if they’re fragile, toxic, or perishable. 
  • Package theft  1 in 4 Americans have been a victim of porch thieves, with an average package value of $140. Arrests are rare and theft hard to prove – so the blame will fall either on the parcel carrier or the retailer.
  • Poor stem time – This is an industry term for the delivery time itself. If the stem time between a distribution center and the delivery address adds up to over an hour, this means there’s too much distance between the two for today’s speed-seeking consumers. Distribution centers with insufficient locations to meet that demand will slow down the last mile of parcel delivery, which reflects poorly on retailers.
  • The time sink of paperwork – Checking and triple-checking issues like residential surcharges, lost and damaged packages, and other carrier-related charges and failures often eats up too much time and expense for businesses. This can lead to oversights in last-mile shipping, which stick retailers with bills they shouldn’t be paying.

So, is there any way to take make the last mile more efficient? There is, and it’s us!

71lbs helps master the information flow

The last mile continues to be a thorny problem for even the biggest shippers and things can still go wrong as it’s being addressed. Improving how you track your orders is a major step in conquering this issue, and 71lbs exists to help you make that improvement.

We aid our customers by keeping close tabs on their parcel carriers to save every cent possible from the first mile to the last. The hassles of last-mile logistics can mean parcel carriers deliver to your customers late, and why should you have to pay for that?

As your shipping advocate, we ensure that your carriers comply with their agreed terms, so you continue to reduce costs and reach your goals. If your FedEx or UPS carrier is even 60 seconds late, we’ve got your back. Shipping fragile items? We’ve got that covered. Our invoice auditing experts can check 65 parcel carrier service points that are unknown to many shipping managers.

Throw in premium analytics, invoice audits, and freight and LTL savings (to name just a few of our solutions) and you’ve got the power to make that last mile as cost-efficient as it can get. We understand that feeling: When a package leaves your hand, your control over how well it’s delivered leaves along with it.

You may not be able to control every nuance of the shipping chain, but you can team up with us and get a last-mile logistics partner who will optimize your order fulfillment and ensure you don’t suffer if UPS or FedEx drops the ball. Check out our testimonials to see how we’ve been saving some of our customers thousands of dollars every month; then get in touch and learn how your business can save too!

At 71lbs, we uncomplicate the shipping process for our customers, making it easier and faster for them to access refunds and reduce their expenses. Our automated platform gathers all your shipping information into one easy-to-use custom analytics dashboard. Drop by the contact page to get in touch.

Topics: Logistics, Shipping Costs, eCommerce

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