Last mile distribution is known to consist of the entire delivery process to the end consumer, i.e. the routes from a distribution center to the customer's home or business. In many cases, special emphasis is placed on distribution within large cities and other densely populated towns because of the challenges of traffic and delivery by assigned zones.
However, what about last-mile distribution in rural areas? Despite being places with low population density and less traffic, distribution of goods has its own challenges due to the long distances and lack of facilities that urban areas often have. In this case, how does last-mile distribution in rural towns differ from urban areas?
If you want to learn about the challenges of the last mile in rural areas and how it is distributed in such environments, read on.
Partnership with local companies
Nowadays, it is already common to see logistics operators and other companies having partnerships with small businesses and other local companies to use their physical spaces as urban hubs or delivery points. In rural towns, such partnerships are more frequent and essential to optimize the rural last mile.
This is because local businesses located in agricultural areas have a better understanding of distribution areas, such as logistics social services that facilitate the delivery of products to families. Therefore, they have the potential to offer better logistical support, such as temporary storage areas or delivery points for delivery routes that are very extensive or difficult to access.
Use of specialized vehicles
Due to the uneven topography and road conditions, transport vehicles must be adapted to the usual rural road conditions. Sometimes it is even necessary to have an off-road or four-wheel drive vehicle.
However, there are a number of trucking companies and other organizations with a fleet of vehicles adapted for rough terrain. Either having your own fleet of adapted vehicles or relying on the services of another company that offers them are suitable options for adapting last-mile distribution to the rural environment.
Use of community delivery points
One of the most obvious challenges in rural last-mile distribution is its capillarity, where there are long distances between delivery points and they are often difficult to access due to unreliable infrastructure that can cause delays. To this end, as mentioned in the collaboration with local businesses, the key to facilitating deliveries is community delivery points.
Community delivery points have the advantage of centralizing deliveries from more remote destinations where home delivery is not feasible. This brings out the potential of better-connected locations in a rural setting such as stores, post offices and other community gathering spaces to become collection points.
Apply delivery tracking
In modern logistics, more and more customers have the need to know in real time the location and status of their order to ensure that the goods arrive on time at the right address. In a challenging environment for logistics in general and last mile distribution, this demand is doubled.
For this reason, the best allies to achieve real-time tracking in deliveries are GPS systems, tracking tags and other devices to ensure visibility at all times and updating it at each passing checkpoint. In addition, delivery tracking technology is vital to employ route optimization for carriers to make routes more efficient in rural areas.
The challenges of last mile distribution in rural areas seem to be even more challenging than the urban last mile, mainly because of the lack of adaptable infrastructure in villages compared to cities. However, there are a few challenges that have more in common than they seem, such as delivery points and others that cover totally different needs, such as vehicles adapted to irregular topography.
At Hedyla we adapt the route optimization parameters according to the sector and use cases operated by the customer, covering their specific needs and guaranteeing a quality level of service.
SEO & Inbound Marketing
Video Game Design and Production graduate currently training in Digital Marketing with a focus on SEO and Inbound Marketing.
Creating articles of value and supporting communication to the technology sector.