There are several different types of transport logistics that help to get a product from a manufacturing facility or warehouse to your door.
Generally, when you order a product online, it is picked from a storage warehouse to a fulfilment centre (although for some companies both are on the same site) where it is safely packaged and sent on the first stage of its delivery.
After this, the delivery ends up at a transportation hub relatively close to where you live. The reason why it goes to another hub rather than directly to a customer is that the first stage of the delivery has packages being sent in large quantities, which need to be sorted into shorter, manageable deliveries.
The final step is last-mile logistics, although for many deliveries this is a misnomer as the last step of the journey is often far more than just a mile, so other industry leaders prefer terms such as “last stop” or “last leg” instead.
Given the explosion of popularity in online deliveries over the past two years, in particular, many specialists in logistics have been looking at different solutions that can provide sustainable, effective delivery that can work at scale.
For some larger companies, this involves taking advantage of click-and-collect, where an item can be ordered and shipped to a participating store, or delivery lockers that work similarly but rely on automatic lockboxes in prime locations.
One of the more unique solutions that was frequently proposed was the increased use of autonomous vehicles and drones, such as those that had been trialled in London.
Whilst services such as Prime Air garnered a lot of attention, there were fundamental regulatory and technical issues that have at present stopped drones from dominating the delivery space, such as unreliability, an inability to effectively handle contingencies and a lack of air space.
This vision of the future may still occur, albeit much further in the future than was perhaps predicted. But for the foreseeable future, last-mile deliveries are undertaken by hard-working, dedicated drivers.