Highly customized service, complex routes and various stakeholders make perfecting the last mile a challenge
Editor's Note: This article is part of a series on perfecting last-mile delivery. All stories in this series can be found here.
The last mile is extremely inefficient. It is the final frontier of logistics, a cost so habitual yet burdensome to supply chains that it begs for futuristic ideas, e.g. drones, flying warehouses or self-driving cars, to capture our imaginations.
Such dreams of a seamless delivery experience are hardly new. The United States Postal Service has been trying to perfect its process for centuries; and United Parcel Service (UPS) and FedEx, for decades. Only now, the digital age has pulled last-mile delivery to the forefront of retailers' minds as e-commerce and the Amazon effect require them to offer fast and free delivery, or become uncompetitive.
Consequently, the industry returns to an age-old question: How can we perfect this process? Except this time, the technology and intent to do so may finally be in alignment.