Footwear and Apparel Supply Chain: Making the Last Mile Difference

Footwear and Apparel Supply Chain: Making the Last Mile Difference

By 2018 over 1.35 billion online originated deliveries are expected to be made annually.  Clothing and footwear are expected to maintain the highest percentage of these deliveries.  As the volume of these orders continues to grow, so will the importance the last mile delivery.  The “last mile” is defined as the movement of people and goods from a transportation hub to the customer’s door.  With online retail making up 10% all purchases, supply chains have adapted to address the challenges of omni-channel fulfillment.  But as consumers discover more options, and demands in terms of speed, cost, and convenience increase, this last mile can create new obstacles.

Cost, transparency, and efficiency are all hurdles that commonly stand between a fulfilled order and a streamlined and cost effective delivery.  However there are some ways that footwear and apparel companies can turn the last mile into a competitive advantage. 

Visibility Tools

Customers now expect real-time updates regarding order and delivery status.  Your webstore, fulfillment center and small package carrier must all have the technology to provide order-to-delivery visibility to enhance the customer experience.

The Importance of Packaging

Broken, torn, dented, and otherwise unattractive packaging can be a direct negative reflection on you brand.  As the package travels down this “last mile” it should be delivered with care, and arrive in pristine condition.

Supply Chain Wide Optimization

If each element of your supply chain is working in an integrated, streamlined and efficient manner there are numerous savings that can be passed along to the customer.  With all pieces working together, from the manufacturer, to the fulfillment center to the transportation provider, there is accurate and real-time information that can also be shared with your customers to enhance your brand.

While these are only a few things to consider when it comes to last mile delivery, there are still several challenges.  As the number of “last miles” continues to grow each year, understanding and solving this challenge can be a key differentiator.  Barrett Distribution Centers creates customized supply chain solutions to meet the challenges of e-commerce and omni-channel fulfillment.

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