Last mile derivates from twentieth-century expression “Go the extra mile”, which has been used to exhort someone to greater effort. The concept of the last mile is fundamental in today’s logistics, as it draws a line between success and failure for hundreds of thousands of businesses and retailers.
This is especially important when it comes to deliveries of perishable products which require temperature-controlled transport, where maintaining the cold chain until reaching the end customer is not an option but a necessity. In this post we explain the general notions and the decisive role played by isothermal packaging.
The present and the future of the last mile
Many point to capillary distribution (a very illustrative term) as the critical phase of logistics nowadays. The delivery service to the end customer has always been there, with a bunch of complications: various shipments to different locations, and often products with particular requirements.
It has always been said that this last phase of distribution accounts for approximately half of a company’s logistics costs. But today it is even more complicated because of the tremendous increase in e-commerce that we are witnessing: in the last year alone, in Spain, it has increased by 24%.
Both internal and external conditions further complicate the issue. On the one hand, there is a commitment of the e-commerce giants, who offer the end customer immediacy and minimal additional costs. On the other hand, there are fuel prices, sustainability requirements, the complexity of big cities…
The cold chain comes into play
Proximity logistics is even more complex when the cold chain comes into play, especially in case of perishable or thermolabile products. We are thinking first and foremost of the distribution of cold chain foodstuffs (whether refrigerated, fresh or hot), but also of many other non-food products, such as medicines or flowers.
Indeed, the formula becomes very complicated when we have to add the temperature-control factor to the usual variables. We are talking about failures that lead to delivering products which are no longer usable, resulting in huge losses and negative impacts on the vendor’s reputation and customer base. This is something that many companies in the food and other sectors simply cannot afford.
Possible alternatives and solutions
Of course, there are ways to resolve this problem and optimise our services both B2B and to the end customer. One of them involves new delivery methods: in addition to home delivery, we are dealing with lockers, cash and carry and pick-up points, often located in partners’ shops, which makes it more comfortable and convenient for the customers.
Moreover, the last mile is super complicated by extreme cold weather. In such cases, we must opt for solutions centred on specially designed isothermal shippers. The success story of these temperature-controlled containers for strategically located food shops is exemplary.
The transport is definitely the Achilles’ heel of cold controlled capillary distribution. From the innovative tuk-tuk to the classic delivery van, passive cold gives us the flexibility, reliability and efficiency that can solve the logistical dilemma posed by today’s complex delivery routes.
Innovation, the key to success
We at Tempack can offer an easy solution for each business model, based on the same idea: a wide range of insulated shippers adaptable to any distribution model. Click here to check our most popular solutions.