Yet another e-commerce and logistics term to get yourself familiar with – first mile delivery – this refers to the very first step in the entire order fulfilment process, and it is arguably the most important.
In a nutshell, it’s the part where the product is taken from the factory to the fulfilment warehouse. So what’s last mile delivery? You’ve probably guessed, it’s the opposite of first mile delivery. The last step in the process, where the product is shipped from the fulfilment warehouse to the customer.
We’ve outlined some tips to help improve your first mile delivery, ensuring you get the very best start to your order fulfilment journey.

The first and most important thing is to make sure you have a good, reliable freight forwarder. Here are some things to think about when considering who to use:

  • Experience – The freight forwarding industry in the UK is unregulated, which means that essentially anyone can set themselves up in the industry, so make sure you choose a reliable freight forwarder who has plenty of experience to help avoid any issues.
  • Accreditations – Do they have ‘stamps of approval?’
  • An extensive network – A freight forwarder relies on its network of carriers to be able to successfully carry out their service. Do they have a wide network? Having a bigger network can enable flexibility and even cheaper pricing.
  • Excellent customer care – The focus of a good company is usually built around excellent customer care. If something goes wrong, which is inevitable at times, having a team dedicated to fixing it is essential. For example, you may want to go with a freight forwarder who uses online tracking so that you can have good communication with them and track your shipment along the way.

Understanding your supply chain

It is important to look at the big picture instead of just focusing on certain aspects of the process. Take a look at your current first-mile delivery process and ask yourself – is there room for improvement? Make sure you go through each individual step, and ensure that all parts of the supply chain are optimised to achieve maximum results. 

Once you have looked at everything, you will be able to see what areas need improvement, and what the weaknesses are in your process. One thing that could be slowing down your process is having to do everything manually. Using an automated system could massively improve the process and minimise natural human error, which brings us to the next tip.

Partner with a tech enabled 3PL

Managing everything by yourself is always an option, but is it the best option?
Depending on the size of your business and the order volume you receive, you may be able to manage everything by yourself, but working with a 3PL could help a great deal.
This can also help you when it comes to collecting and analysing data if you are using a tech-savvy 3PL since they will usually have some kind of inventory/warehouse management system in place. For example, have you considered any of the following?
For example, have you considered any of the following?

  • Time to ship – the number of days it takes for your supplier to ship stock after an order is placed.
  • Time to stock – the time it takes to break down pallet loads and stock inventory that’s ready to be shipped.
  • Transit damage rate – the number of products shipped by your supplier that become damaged during transit.

The Storage Place is the fulfilment warehouse that has all that you need. Did you know we’re a tech-enabled 3PL? This means our inventory management system can help you reduce overstocking, boost sales, minimise backorders, and efficiently reorder stock as and when it is needed.
Not only this, but we also understand how important it is to ensure your shipments turn up safely and on time. That’s why we partner with the best freight forwarders, and our parcel tracking system transmits data in real-time with outstanding accuracy to help ensure the first-mile delivery stage runs smoothly.

Create a labelling system

Are you consistent with the ways in which you label your products? Is your system easy to understand? These are questions to ask yourself when reviewing your labelling system, especially if you are using a 3PL partner.

Let’s say that your supplier labels products differently to how you or your 3PL label them, this can cause a lot of confusion and really slow down the process.

Make sure everyone is aware of the labelling system, and remain as consistent as possible. Want to know more about how to efficiently label your products? Head over to our SKU blog for more information.

Consider your packaging

This doesn’t need to be discussed in great detail, but it is extremely important to make sure you select the right packaging to ensure damage is kept minimal as damaged items can slow down the entire process. Sustainable packaging is highly recommended, as customers and businesses adopt eco-friendly practices to ensure they are compliant in changing the future of our planet. We’re proud to say that we’re now officially carbon-neutral, sustainability is at the heart of all what we do.

Streamline your first-mile and last-mile delivery with TSP

Here at TSP, you can benefit by partnering with freight forwarding experts who have vast experience in effectively managing a fulfilment warehouse. We’ll help you manage everything you need, from receiving inventory to shipping orders, and even handling your customer service.
The Storage Place handles the entire order fulfilment process for you, helping to take some weight off your shoulders so you can focus on what matters most- growing your business. So, why not speak to one of our experts today?

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