Why do we talk about First and Last mile in logistics?
Let’s think about the concept of the “reverse journey” that a package undergoes throughout its lifespan, starting from the final customer’s hands and returning to its original order point. Frequently, this journey is misconceived as a series of mandatory stops that the package must make to reach its destination. Everything should be perfectly connected for a seamless and successful journey from end to start.
The package has been successfully delivered to the final customers and is now in their possession. The driver reached the destination and confirmed the delivery, following the correct route and arriving on time. During the route, the driver efficiently managed to pick up and collect on-demand orders as predicted and communicated by the system. The package was initially loaded into the driver’s van with the correct information attached to it. Upon reaching the last-mile depot, the package was collected and loaded onto the appropriate van by depot personnel. The depot manager was well-informed about which van the package should go in and what information was necessary. Before arriving at this specific depot, the package had to be delivered on time through line hauls that connected it to the depot of origin. This process is similar to the one at the destination depot and can occur either from a shipper’s warehouse or when a shopper returns an item or sends it to the second-hand market.
It can seem simple if you only think about it in blocks, but it requires the collaboration of multiple actors managing multiple steps to make the whole process work smoothly predicting and avoiding possible mistakes.