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What Is Last Mile Delivery Tracking?

Last mile delivery tracking empowers those who are involved in the supply chain in a way that helps them meet their delivery windows. It also provides customers with information as to when they can expect their deliveries. 

Last mile delivery tracking is a transparent way of keeping customers in the loop and helping drivers deliver their packages in a timely manner. This type of tracking and delivery method is important as it helps people uphold modern expectations. 

Even so, this type of tracking still presents many challenges as well. Keep reading to learn how last mile transportation companies can delight their customers while supplying their analytics and operations teams with valuable data that they need to stay on schedule.

How Does Last Mile Delivery Tracking Work?

So, what is last mile delivery tracking? Last mile delivery shows package locations throughout the final stage of order fulfillment until the customer receives the package. It provides transparent data to the following parties.

Customers Insight

In this case, last mile delivery tracking shows customers their order status. This can help companies compete in a crowded last mile delivery market to set them apart. Thanks to innovative companies like Uber, customers now expect to see their order show up on a map in real-time so the customer knows when to expect the order.

Additionally, last mile customer tracking should allow customers to set up text message alerts so that when a package is out for delivery or it has been delivered, the customer is made aware of this. Once the delivery has been completed, the customer should be able to rate their experiences. More advanced last mile tracking services allow the customer to communicate with the driver.

Internal Benefits

While last mile tracking is an outstanding service that benefits customers, it also offers many internal benefits. More data helps companies be customer-centric and optimize their business for efficiency. Some important aspects of internal tracking include knowing when a package is loaded onto a truck, real-time delivery vehicle tracking, proof of delivery and customer satisfaction insights.

With every efficiency improvement, last mile delivery companies can improve profit margins and on-time delivery rates. Learn more about the importance of tracking the last mile and answers to important questions transportation companies ask. 

What is a Last Mile Carrier?

A last mile carrier is a logistics company that ensures final packages are delivered to customers. The carrier will pick up the goods from a warehouse and drive them directly to the customer’s delivery address. This final step of the supply chain is one of the most important because it is the most visible to the customer. The customer might have face-to-face interactions with the last mile delivery team, which can become the only part of the whole experience of ordering from the company that they remember. That’s why this aspect of the supply chain is so crucial despite it encompassing the shortest travel time the goods will undergo.

How Long Will a Last Mile Carrier Take?

Modern last mile carrier timelines are same day. So the carrier picks up the goods at a warehouse and by the end of the day, the customer has them in hand. But it depends on the type of service that the shipper has contracted for. Some last-mile deliveries take several days while expedited services take closer to one or two days to complete.

Same-day last mile delivery services offer a dedicated local courier that can get the goods to the customer quickly because they are handling several deliveries in one area instead of driving all over town, which is extremely time-consuming.

Why Do Companies Use Last Mile Delivery Tracking?

Companies use last mile delivery tracking because it provides customers with transparent data and helps them prepare for their delivery. Plus, companies can confirm when a package was delivered, what state it was in and the exact location where the carrier delivered it.

Customers have come to expect real-time tracking, which means last mile delivery companies struggle to compete if they lack the service. Having delivery details can also assist last mile delivery companies in analyzing and optimizing their operations. 

Understanding Last Mile Optimization

Last mile optimization requires four steps of collecting and reviewing customer data to improve operations and exceed customer expectations.

  1. Collecting: In order to optimize last mile deliveries, you’ll need to collect data that helps you learn more about consumer behavior, expectations and internal operations. 
  2. Planning: Route planning is an essential aspect of last mile optimization. With tools that show all deliveries within a certain geography, administrative teams can build efficient routes that work to reduce operating expenses.
  3. Managing: Choosing the warehouse that is closest to the customer and has the right goods in stock will reduce the distance that a package must travel before it reaches the customer. This will help you reduce delivery timeframes and expenses, resulting in the greatest level of efficiency. But in order to do that, you’ll need excellent inventory tracking and various warehouse locations to get the products closer to the consumer.
  4. Proving: Many last mile delivery companies don’t get paid until they prove that they have delivered the package. Failing to document this step can mean lower income levels, which reduces the profitability of all operations. Proving that the deliveries have been successfully made is a way of showing that the last mile delivery company is able to meet timeline-related expectations. With digital proof of delivery, you can reduce paperwork and provide details to both the customer and the shipper, resulting in better communication among all parties.

Why Are More Companies Implementing Last Mile Delivery Tracking? 

More companies are implementing last mile delivery tracking because it’s a way to meet modern customer expectations by improving tracking insights. When a company implements tracking, it puts pressure on all other companies in the industry to do the same to compete with one another.

It’s also making documentation easier and allowing carriers to look for efficiencies to improve profit margins and better serve shippers. Essentially, tracking insights are becoming a must-have for all parties.

5 Benefits of Last Mile Delivery Tracking

Last mile delivery tracking offers many outstanding benefits. Here’s what you and your customers can expect.

Timely Deliveries

Modern technology is helping to shorten expected delivery timeframes, taking waiting periods from four-hour windows down to as low as two-hour windows. With that comes modern ways of updating the customer instead forcing drivers to pause, make a phone call and further delay the whole process.

By shortening delivery timeframes and windows, you give customers the freedom to go about their day without having to wait on a phone call to let them know that their delivery is 20 to 30 minutes away.

Real-Time Transit Information

With real-time transit information, a customer can check to see exactly where their package is at any time. Real-time data offers insights into expected delivery windows while also showing customers an exact location for their package. This can help build anticipation while helping customers plan for their delivery based on when they will be home.


Instead of awaiting a phone call, customers can go about their day and receive alerts when their package is in transit and another when it is within a few miles of delivery. Alerts can come from an app or they can be delivered via automated SMS.

Some delivery tracking services even allow a customer to respond to a text message and get in contact with the carrier. It’s an added layer of service customers and carriers have come to appreciate.

Proof of Delivery

Carriers can document proof of delivery in one of two ways. They can collect a digital customer signature or photograph the package on the customer’s front porch. Most packages do not require that the customer be home for the delivery, which means the delivery team places the package in a safe place and sends a photo documenting the delivery.

With tracking services, the customer gets that photo on their smartphone either by a mobile app alert or a text message so they know to retrieve their package when they return home.

But for more expensive goods, the shipper might require that the customer be home to accept delivery. In that case, carriers use the digital signature option as proof of delivery.

Route Monitoring

For the carrier, route monitoring can be insightful in case of bad weather or traffic. When a delivery gets behind, real-time location monitoring offers the office staff insights to help the driver get the delivery back on track. Optimizing routes requires route monitoring to better understand how long transportation along those roads will truly take.

Delighting Customers With Transparent Delivery Data

While the carrier certainly benefits from last mile delivery tracking, the customer is ultimately the biggest winner. With greater transparency into delivery timeframes and the added bonus of improved communication, the customer can better plan for their packages. As such, most customers expect this sort of transparent data, which means last-mile delivery tracking is not only a nice-to-have feature for carriers, but it is becoming increasingly essential for them. 

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