Last Mile Shipments - Rise in volumes in COVID times

by 90MIS

Posted on August 25, 2020 at 12:00 PM

Covid rise

During  the last few months we have witnessed the changes in the lives of billions due to Covid-19 pandemic. While Healthcare systems and governments are still overwhelmed by the situation, there is an unprecedented rise in the number of failing businesses and level of unemployment. With easing of lockdown, green patches in the economy have been seen, however it cannot be missed to notice that once bustling streets are thousand times quieter, indicating a long time ahead for arriving at what was normal before . 

Another unprecedented scenario during the pandemic is surge for online orders and e-commerce. Online shopping was already popular for non-essentials over the last decade, promising major shifts in last-mile delivery practices, but due to COVID-19, these shifts are likely to be in acceleration mode. Last-mile delivery firms are rushing to adapt to this ‘new normal’. The logistics industry will now have to adapt fast to changes, to the way things are delivered for the last-mile ecosystem.

Adapting to rise in volumes for essentials delivery has been challenging. Absence of proper systems to manage inventories while adjusting to customer’s same-day or within hours delivery expectations for essential goods, have put businesses in a tight spot.

Adoption of technologies in last-mile delivery has been accelerated by the pandemic and it will continue to do so in the aftermath creating a competitive advantage among key players in the industry.

last mile delivery

Intra-city freight movements are a function of economic activities, the domains of geography and city economics. They are also a function of consumer demand, the domains of economics, and sociology. Freight mobility is managed by competing transportation and logistics service providers who are constantly seeking new efficiencies, the domain of logistics. 

Traffic congestion, time restrictions, parking spaces and distribution spaces are few major concerns that are to be kept in mind before finalizing any last-mile delivery strategy to meet modern customer’s expectations without burning cash.

Companies should focus on incorporating technology in their current logistics management strategies which is essentially:

  • Scalable and can adapt to rise in volumes 
  • Supports Dynamic routing of orders
  • Supports 24*7 operations 
  • Real time tracking of fleets
  • Incorporate returns 

The complexity of last-mile freight distribution along with the potential conflicts between key stakeholders- cargo owners, consumers, retailers,distributors and regulators require a comprehensive approach. These stakeholders are each able to influence and shape last-mile logistics.