In shipping, the last mile is the final step in the supply chain to the ultimate destination, which is often a customer’s home. This step represents the biggest logistical hurdle as well as the most expensive for suppliers.
Meanwhile, customers expect on-demand, same day deliveries. This shift means that traditional delivery companies need to innovate to stay relevant. That’s where startups and nimble enterprises willing to experiment are coming in to help with the local, last mile transport of goods, or even to circumvent traditional routes altogether.
Given the proliferation of the sharing economy recently, it’s no surprise that this innovation—think Uber and the like—is spilling over into the shipping supply chain. Although goods can now be delivered cheaply and efficiently right to consumer doorsteps via the sharing economy, though, we should still ask what is being lost.
Concerns over the sharing economy apply here, too, after all. No longer is a traditional supplier responsible for the shipping process from start to finish. They’re cutting loose the last mile to individuals with cars. And most of the time, they don’t offer the drivers benefits nor provide liability protection in case a package is lost.
Nevertheless, the trend cannot be denied and is likely to grow. Here are some of the relevant shipping and last mile innovators right now: