Currently, there is a lot of stress on both developing and developed countries to adhere to certain standards when it comes to urban planning. Cities today are all pitched to be smart cities in that they not only have the modern technologies and conveniences but are also aiming to be clean, pollution-free and energy-efficient. The one aspect of urban planning that affects almost every one of the above criteria is the concept of last-mile delivery logistics.

Last-mile delivery and its importance

What exactly is last-mile delivery logistics? To understand that particular concept, we have to look at the most popular business model that is prevalent currently, which is e-commerce. People today are using the internet and mobile technology to purchase everything from basic necessities like groceries and clothing to specialized services. This has forced companies and corporations to adopt a new business model which involves businesses delivering goods to the customer’s doorstep, the planning and execution of which is known as last-mile delivery logistics. The whole concept, the planning and implementation are so complicated and yet important that not enough attention can totally disrupt urban life.

The importance of proper and detailed last-mile delivery logistics is that not planning for it properly can adversely affect human life and make it hard for the governing bodies to plan for and regular cities so as to elevate them to the current smart city ideals. These are some of the reasons that make good last-mile delivery logistics so important:

1. Problems for normal people

The importance of last-mile delivery logistics is important from the normal person’s perspective too. The concept of e-commerce and related and unrelated deliveries is so prevalent these days that there are a number of vehicles, including transportation vehicles and delivery trucks that belong to different corporations/delivery companies in transit. Hence improper logistics can result in congestion of roads which can be very problematic to normal people especially during peak hours. There is an actual situation where such last-mile delivery vehicles have been the cause of immense traffic congestions that resulted in an increase in commute times by a few hours. Hence, the importance of sustainable last-mile delivery options, especially in cities with already bad commute times, cannot be stressed enough.

2. Disastrous effects from the environmental perspective

The environment can also be on the receiving end in case of improper planning and execution of last-mile deliveries. Air pollution is one of the most acute problems in most of the global cities these days with the air quality in many cities being too poor for human habitation. In such a dire situation delivery trucks and transportation vehicles idling due to traffic, congestions can cause vehicles to release massive amounts of air pollutants including greenhouse gases that can further reduce the already bad air quality. Thus, last-mile logistics are important from the environmental perspective too.

3. Customer expectations

Customers these days have very high expectations of companies, especially when it comes with delivering products. Whether we are talking about food delivery vehicles or the normal product delivery, concepts like Amazon Prime with the promise of same-day delivery and 30-minutes delivery (when it comes to food) is in some ways inflating customer expectations. So, proper last-mile delivery planning and implementation are essential as it has a large enough impact on the speed of delivery and thus customer satisfaction. And in a situation where there are unlimited choices for the same product, customers have the luxury of throwing brand-loyalty to the wind and exploring options more in-line with their expectations.

4. Inflated costs for corporations

Given that the concept of last-mile delivery is so important for customer satisfaction and customer retention, most corporations invest a lot into this aspect of the business. There is a lot of financial investment from the corporations all through the planning, partnership with delivery companies and the actual execution of the deliveries. This means that any delays even by a few hours can cost the businesses in the tune of millions and billions. Minor issues like problems during transportation or delay due to traffic congestions, etc. can be financially detrimental for the company. Thus, proper last-mile delivery logistics is important from the company’s perspective too.

Thus it is obvious that sustainable last-mile delivery options are important on many counts and improper planning and implementation can cause inconvenience on a small scale and harm on a large scale to many different entities like customers; the company involves the common people and even the environment.