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Supply Chain 2 min read

Why the last mile is crucial to your shipments

Delivery driver view of road and mirror

It doesn't matter how seamless a package's journey has been if the last mile (the one that ends with it landing in the customer's hands or on their doorstep) isn't perfect.

The "last mile" — a term first coined in the 1980s telecoms industry — is the final distance a product travels to arrive with the consumer.

It is also the most important and the key to customer satisfaction. A successful last mile can surpass expectations, but it can also be expensive to fix if it goes wrong.

The last mile can make up roughly 28% of an entire shipment's total cost, despite representing just 10–15% of the total distance traveled.

For example, in the five boroughs of New York City, the total toll costs for last-mile deliveries could add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars a year if shipping departments don't select the right routes.


Any disruption in the last mile — be it due to slow delivery speeds, bad weather or traffic congestion — can severely disrupt the entire supply chain, especially if the product is perishable; concrete or food for example.

The last mile of the supply chain is particularly challenging due to its complexity and customer-facing nature. It requires an advanced level of location technology to successfully execute.

Using location data to provide full visibility, companies can accurately track the progress of each delivery in real-time, streamlining delivery operations, and resulting in significant cost savings and increased customer satisfaction.


New technologies and methods of transportation like bike couriers, e-cargo bikes and drones are helping to reduce overall transit times too, streamlining efficiency and reliability and improving customer satisfaction.

By using location technology, businesses can gain visibility into where their goods are in transit and reduce potential delays or issues with delivery. This allows them to optimize the last mile and reduce costs while ensuring that their customers receive their goods on time. By making use of these tools, businesses can ensure that the last mile is as efficient and cost-effective as possible.

Clare O'Reilly, Contributor, HERE360

Clare O'Reilly


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