Are Your Trucks Ready for Last-Mile Logistics?admin
A recent study by BigCommerce.com revealed that 51% of Americans prefer online shopping, with e-commerce growing by 23% every year. The research predicts this trend will pick up its pace as brands increasingly embrace omnichannel and voice platforms to simplify customers’ digital shopping experiences.
As e-commerce escalates, so will last-mile logistics, defined as the final step in the delivery process from a distribution center or brick-and-mortar store to the shipment’s destination, be it a smaller regional store, office building, or even a customer’s residence. Though this last mile often involves the transport of smaller-sized packages by parcel or small package carriers, more and more shipments include larger items, such as furniture or appliances, that are ordered online and delivered directly to the customer.
The e-commerce explosion has presented both opportunities and challenges to retailers, as well as regional fleets, LTL and truckload carriers. One headache is getting products into areas that were never designed for Class 8 rigs. Once carriers successfully navigate narrow streets fraught with obstacles such as mailboxes, low power lines, trees and people, drivers then must move products off trailers, many of which have been spec’d to deliver shipments directly to docks rather than unloaded on city streets or in residential driveways.
Companies such as XPO Logistics have responded to these new demands by adding smaller straight trucks and updating their fleets with new technologies designed to meet the unique challenges of last mile logistics. XPO Logistics Chief Operating Officer Troy Cooper explains in a press release that as the shipper works to grow its last-mile footprint to 85 service hubs, it also has had to “make significant investments in facilities, technology, staffing and training.”
One technology being added by companies such as XPO isn’t new, but is gaining in popularity.
“The explosion of last-mile deliveries in the last couple of years has resulted in more liftgates being put on trucks than ever before,” says Anton Griessner, vice president of marketing and business development at Maxon Lift, a Santa Fe Springs, California-based liftgate manufacturer celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.