What is Last-Mile Tracking?

Last-mile tracking is an important part of the last-mile delivery process, which refers to tracking the package from the warehouse or distribution center to the customer’s doorstep. The last mile tracking number is a key element in this process. When a package arrives at the local distribution center, it is assigned a unique last-mile tracking number, also known as the final mile tracking number or delivery confirmation number. This is a unique identifier assigned to each package. Customers can track and monitor the real-time status of the package through this number.

In the entire last-mile delivery tracking process, the last-mile carrier is responsible for the final delivery of the package. When the package reaches the hub closest to the destination, the last-mile carrier, such as USPS or FedEx, will pick up the package for delivery. Local last-mile carriers focus on delivering packages from the final hub to the delivery address. At the same time, the original carrier can focus on delivering between its hubs without spending resources on unfamiliar local deliveries.

How Does Last Mile Tracking Work?

The following are the important steps in how last-mile tracking works.

Real-Time Updates

  1. Carrier Websites: 

Customers can visit the official website of the carrier, enter their tracking number and get the latest updates on their parcel.

  1. Mobile Apps:

Many carriers offer mobile app updates with real-time tracking, allowing customers to monitor their parcels from anywhere. To keep a close eye on the last-mile delivery status of your parcel, universal parcel tracking websites such as TrackingMore can be helpful.

TrackingMore simplifies the tracking process for last-mile parcel delivery by pulling complete tracking information from over 1,500 carriers worldwide. Additionally, the website features carrier auto-detection for added convenience. You can enjoy real-time tracking updates from over 1,200 carriers worldwide,

Visit the tracking page of TrackingMore to see a full list of supported carriers and start tracking your parcels with confidence.

  1. Third-party Tracking Platforms:

Third-party tracking platforms offer enhanced tracking capabilities by aggregating information from multiple carriers. For e-commerce brands with strong technology resources, integrating tracking APIs into their systems can greatly enhance their tracking capabilities. With real-time tracking information, brands can help customers stay up to date on the whereabouts of their parcels.

TrackingMore provides a comprehensive freight tracking API. Here are some of the benefits TrackingMore can provide:

  • Set up your own branded tracking page, automate the tracking process, and reduce the need for manual tracking and data entry, thereby improving operational efficiency.
  • Easily integrate with existing logistics and e-commerce platforms. It can be quickly integrated into your system in just 1-7 days for seamless data synchronization.
  • Centralized API queries reduce the time and resources required for multiple independent tracking queries.

Tracking API not only provides an efficient and convenient tracking solution but also helps companies improve service quality and enhance customer trust.

Proactive Notifications

Customers can sign up for proactive notifications via email or SMS. These notifications provide timely updates on the progress of the package, including when the package departs and when it arrives. This helps manage customer expectations and reduce concerns about delivery status.

Exception Management

Packages may encounter anomalies during delivery. Common anomalies include weather-related delays, address issues, or the recipient is not at home. The tracking system will provide updates and reasons for delays. Real-time updates help to resolve these issues promptly to ensure minimal impact on delivery plans.

Delivery Confirmation

After the package is delivered, the tracking system will update the status to “delivered”. Some brands will also send photos of the package at the customer’s doorstep to remind customers that their package has arrived and reassure them.

How to Track Last Mile Carrier

Tracking a last-mile carrier requires the following steps:

  1. Get a Last-mile Tracking Number

You can find this number in the shipping confirmation email or on the order details page of the retailer’s website. If you don’t have a tracking number, you need to contact the retailer or shipping company to get one.

  1. Visit the Carrier’s Website

Once you have the tracking number, visit the website of the corresponding last-mile carrier and navigate to the tracking section. For example, if your last mile carrier is USPS, visit the USPS website.

  1. Enter the Tracking Number

Enter the last mile tracking number in the Find Tracked Package option.

  1. Track the Package

Once you enter the tracking number, you will receive updates on the current status and location of your package. This includes information such as the current location of the package and the estimated delivery time.

  1. Contact the Carrier

If you encounter any problems or have questions about the status of your package, contact the customer service of the last-mile carrier. Provide them with your tracking number and they can provide more information or assistance.

Challenges of Last-Mile Tracking

Last-mile tracking is critical to ensuring timely and accurate deliveries, but it also presents its own set of challenges. Some common issues are detailed below.

Address Accuracy

Incorrect or incomplete addresses can result in significant delays, failed deliveries, and additional costs. Misdirected packages need to be returned to the distribution center, re-sorted, and then redelivered, which increases operational expenses and extends delivery times. Ensuring address information is correct and up-to-date is critical to efficient last-mile delivery.

Security Concerns

Package theft, also known as “porch theft,” has become a major problem, resulting in significant financial losses and heightened consumer anxiety. This theft typically occurs when packages are left unattended on porches or doorways, making them easy targets for thieves, leading to financial losses and customer dissatisfaction.

Failed Delivery Attempts

Failed deliveries typically occur when a customer is unable to receive a package, which can result in multiple delivery attempts, which not only inconveniences the customer but also increases carrier operating costs due to re-delivery attempts.

Cost Management

The last mile is often the most expensive part of the delivery process, accounting for a significant portion of total shipping costs. Contributing to the high costs include the need for multiple deliveries, fuel expenses, and labor costs, but the last mile is the defining process in determining customer satisfaction.

For small businesses that may not have the resources to invest in the necessary technology and infrastructure, managing these costs while maintaining efficiency and customer satisfaction is a significant business challenge.

By addressing these challenges with innovative solutions and strategic planning, companies can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their last-mile delivery operations, which can improve customer satisfaction and reduce operating costs.

5 Technologies to Solve Last-Mile Tracking Problems

Here are some common and emerging technologies for tracking last-mile deliveries

GPS

GPS (Global Positioning System) technology can track delivery vehicles in real time, providing accurate location data and helping to optimize delivery routes. It enables logistics companies to accurately track goods throughout their journey from warehouse to final destination, which helps optimize delivery routes, estimate arrival times, and improve overall operational efficiency.

RFID

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology operates by tagging objects, scanning them with specialized equipment, and accessing data through an RFID platform. Unlike barcodes, which require scanning each item one by one with a direct line of sight, RFID can quickly scan multiple items or packages.

The benefits of RFID in last-mile operations include:

  • Provides visibility into inventory, inventory quantity, and precise location, which makes the picking and packing process very fast, thereby reducing order shipment preparation time.
  • Real-time tracking of product movement in the supply chain ensures that each package reaches the right location, improves delivery tracking accuracy, and reduces errors.
  • RFID enables businesses to automatically provide real-time notifications and status updates to customers, thereby increasing transparency throughout the delivery process.

Mobile applications

Mobile applications provide drivers with real-time updates on traffic and route changes. These applications are usually integrated with GPS functions to provide customers with real-time tracking updates and notify recipients of delivery status.

Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT has transformed the logistics industry with its advanced telemetry capabilities, monitoring solutions, and improved decision-making capabilities.

Parcel storage is undoubtedly one of the most important parts of the transportation process, especially for fresh fruits and vegetables. So optimizing storage is crucial, and stored assets are valuable. They deserve your undivided attention.

IoT sensors can help with this task by monitoring the environmental conditions (e.g., temperature, humidity) of perishable goods during transportation. IoT can also track the status of transport vehicles and packages in real time and automate processes such as inventory management and route optimization.

Blockchain

Blockchain technology is expected to bring about a huge change in freight tracking. Combined with the advancement of the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain can track the entire life cycle of any digital or physical product, providing real-time visibility and tracking of goods and products throughout the supply chain. Blockchain has the potential to revolutionize freight tracking by improving cost-saving efficiencies and enhancing consumer experience through traceability, transparency, and traceability.

Benefit of Last-Mile Tracking

Improved Delivery Transparency

Last mile tracking uses various technologies, such as a one-stop parcel tracking website, which provides customers with real-time updates on the status of their parcels, allowing customers to easily check the exact location and estimated time of arrival of their parcels, ensuring that they are informed throughout the delivery process. While effectively reducing customers’ WISMO queries, this transparency helps manage customer expectations and focus on other important tasks.

Improved Customer Satisfaction

With last-mile tracking, customers and businesses have full visibility into the delivery process. Using a parcel tracking website, we can send customers email notifications of order status updates and recommend related products on the order tracking page, successfully increasing transaction upsells and thus increasing your revenue.

This not only helps build trust but also reduces marketing costs, as focusing on repeat customers is more cost-effective than trying to attract new customers. By providing an excellent customer experience, we can build a good reputation for the brand and enhance brand recognition.

Building Brand Reputation

Sustainable last-mile logistics directly affects a company’s brand image and reputation. A positive last-mile experience not only improves brand recognition but also strengthens customer loyalty and willingness to recommend the brand. By actively monitoring the delivery process and keeping customers informed every step of the way, we provide customers with an incentive to continue purchasing and a strong reason to endorse the brand.

Case Study

DJI, a leader in drones and aerial systems, has transformed its delivery process by implementing effective last-mile tracking.

Faced with growing order volumes and customer inquiries about shipment status, DJI chose to partner with TrackingMore to integrate TrackingMore’s powerful tracking system into its logistics operations. This one-stop integration provides tracking capabilities for more than a thousand carriers, providing real-time updates and detailed cargo tracking information, as well as real-time monitoring of anomalies and delays.

By leveraging these technologies, DJI can monitor the last-mile status of packages promptly, reduce costs, and effectively manage logistics complexity, helping companies maintain a competitive edge in the market.

If you would like to learn more about TrackingMore, click here.

FAQs

  • Where is the last mile sorting and distribution center

The last-mile sorting and distribution center is usually the local hub or facility closest to the delivery destination. The center is responsible for the final sorting of the package and then handing it off to the last-mile carrier for delivery to the customer’s address.

  • What is a last-mile carrier?

The last-mile carrier is responsible for the final delivery of the package from the local hub to the customer’s address. We usually call these carriers third-party logistics providers, or 3PLs. Examples of last-mile carriers include USPS, FedEx, UPS, etc.

  • What does last mile usps mean?

The last mile USPS means that the United States Postal Service is responsible for handling the last leg of the delivery process. In this case, USPS acts as a last-mile carrier, picking up the package from the local distribution center and delivering it to the customer’s door. This service is often used by shipping companies, who drop off the package as close as possible and then let USPS handle the rest of the journey.

The TrackingMore team shares insights on logistics tracking technology, industry trends, and e-commerce logistics solutions to help businesses streamline shipment tracking and enhance customer post-purchase experience.

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