What is First/Final Mile Delivery?

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What is First/Final Mile Delivery?


No matter what industry you’re in, every supply chain begins with the first mile. It’s the beginning stage of a timely and rewarding journey that every commodity, material, and product goes through to reach the consumer. Parallelly, the final mile encompasses the transportation of the good or product from its final warehouse or hub to its destination. Although they seem to live on opposite ends of the spectrum, the two points are quite connected.

First Mile Delivery

Depending on your relevant field, first mile delivery can mean a variety of things, but they all share the same essential goal. In the manufacturing space, first mile is the transportation of completed goods or products from the factory or production plant to a distribution center. Alternatively, in the retail space, first mile delivery service represents shipping products or goods from a nearby distribution center to the desired store.
Additionally, in the moving and packing space, first mile entails picking up goods from the store or customer’s home and moving them to a storage location, new destination, or warehouse. For example, if you chose to ship an item through FedEx, the first mile of this process would be your item going from your warehouse or location to the nearest FedEx warehouse. From there, the journey would continue.
For other fields or spaces, each first mile process is slightly different, but they all share the same beginning goal in mind: taking the first step in the process to deliver the desired products or goods to the consumer or retailer. In short, it is the essential and much-needed beginning stage everything we purchase or relocate goes through to get to us.

Final Mile Delivery

Alternatively, final mile delivery is the last step in the supply chain for products, goods, and materials. Last mile operations include relocating these products or goods from a transport warehouse to the desired delivery location. For retailers, this entails the shipment going from their nearest distribution center to the selected store. For an everyday person, this would be your package or delivery moving from your nearest distribution center to your front door.
Although final mile seems simple, it’s the most challenging step in the supply chain process. Since large delivery vehicles are inefficient most of the time, companies typically must come up with creative solutions and take many steps to make the final mile a successful and time-efficient process.


The Delivery Process

Any good or product goes through a set delivery process to reach its necessary destination. As we discovered in this article, every item begins its delivery life in the first mile. Whether the item starts out in a factory or a distribution center, they all travel to the next milestone: the middle mile.
In most cases, middle mile delivery refers to goods or products moving from a distribution center to a fulfillment center. For some items, there can be several middle mile processes needed depending on the difficulty. This is where tracking becomes a pillar to the success of the process. With accurate tracking information, the customer and logistics provider can follow the location and progress of the order.
Finally, the item or good is now in the final mile. As we’ve established, final mile delivery can look different for every company or item, but it’s relatively the same overall. Final mile is the last step in the process before the customer or store receives their respective items. Once final mile is completed, the delivery and fulfillment can be celebrated as a success.

The Important of First and Final Mile Delivery

First and final miles in any space are the key pillars to success. If the product or good begins its journey efficiently and is well managed, the likelihood of it arriving on time, undamaged, and at its desired location skyrockets. If the product or good ends its journey on the final mile with a courier who is responsive, attentive, and time efficient, the customer receiving it is much more likely to be satisfied with the process.
On the other hand, if the first or final mile deliveries are inefficient, unresponsive, or unprofessional, the success of the journey and the happiness of the customer plummets. At this stage, consumers or stores wouldn’t be receiving their products on time, delivery services wouldn’t be able to provide accurate tracking information, and the once harmonious supply chain would shift into disarray.
This is why first and final mile deliveries must always function with the utmost attention, planning, and communication. They are the true key to successful deliveries and set the tone for all companies involved in the middle. Make sure you choose the right first and final mile delivery companies for your goods and products.

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