Last Mile The New Frontier In The E-Commerce Supply Chain Analysis

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Last Mile: The New Frontier in the E-commerce Supply Chain
Beginning upstream with Distribution Center network design, implementing fulfilment rules at the order management and WMS levels, and streamlining processes in the DC all pave the way for an efficient “last mile” e-commerce delivery
Unless a storm washes your shipping container off the deck of a ship, supply chains tend to work well—at least until the final mile. That last mile is fraught with logistical hazards that include confusing delivery instructions, signature issues and theft. With an estimate that final delivery represents one-third to two-thirds of overall transportation costs, it’s not surprising that the final mile of the supply chain attracts a lot of attention.
E-commerce
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Users of ADSI’s software include Legendary White Tails, an online retailer of clothes and equipment for hunters, which deployed Pack-IT and Ship-IT at its Slinger, Wis., distribution center, integrating the software with its order management system. The solution is credited with improving order accuracy to greater than 99 percent, while accommodating the high volume in the fall peak season for sales of hunting gear.
With shipping software, it’s also necessary to establish carrier selection rules so that the people running the shipping station can have the system automatically select the best carrier for an order given factors such as dimension or weight.
Todd Everett, COO for Newgistics, a logistics services and e-commerce solution provider for direct-to-consumer retailers, agrees that systems at the DC level have to be ingrained with the proper rules for final delivery to work smoothly, as well as to speed returns
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As Tompkins sees, prowess with final delivery takes strategic thinking about the fulfillment and returns network, backed up by the right structure and supporting systems at each point in the process.
Alternatives to Home Delivery
The introduction of ‘Click and Collect’ options overcomes many of the challenges with home delivery and offers retailers, consumers and logistics service providers a Win-Win solution for all stakeholders.
By offering the buyer the option to collect merchandise from within a bricks and mortar retail store or from other convenient locations such as post offices, networks of convenience stores such as Seven-Eleven, smaller shops or gas stations, retailers can ship multiple individual orders in bulk to a single delivery point, thus reducing much of the cost and avoiding many of the drawbacks of the last mile element of home delivery.
Many consumers prefer this method of collection because they can pick up their merchandise at a time that suits them, perhaps on their way to or from work, without having to be at home for a prescribed period – typically two or four hours – to receive and sign for their delivery – a process that typically takes less than five minutes. Thus, in addition to more efficient and cost effective logistics, this provides greater consumer

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