Today, much of the supply chain press is hyper-focused on the last mile. But why is that? While finishing well is all a customer sees, shippers must understand middle mile infrastructure to optimize their supply chains better. Middle mile delivery consists of transporting goods (normally pallets) from one facility to the next, often between a manufacturing plant, packaging center, or warehouse to stores or a distribution center that arranges shipments to customers.
Warp exists for two reasons: to battle ‘out of stocks’ and time-in-transit delays. Our middle mile delivery solutions enable a higher number of successful curbside pickup and ship-from-store purchases and fewer transit delays on DTC shipping. We do this by providing better, faster, and more visible transportation and cross-docking services, which make inventory and transportation planning easier than ever.
The National Association of Wholesale Distributors’ data for 2020 found that “$5.824 trillion worth of goods were distributed over the course of the year, down 4.3% from 2019’s lofty $6.088 trillion.” With growing distribution, shippers must look at how their logistic choices affect transportation efficiency, particularly in the middle mile.
On-Time In Full (OTIF) rates are crucial to transportation execution success. Amidst the abundance of disruptions over the past two years, some shippers regularly expedited the final mile of a shipment for their customers. However, we disagree with that approach. In many cases, an expedited delivery is an unnecessary cost burden. An optimized middle mile infrastructure will support OTIF rates without pursuing costly expedited services. Utilizing a curated carrier network to move freight from one warehouse to the next can raise OTIF rates that boost customer satisfaction and minimize cost loss to damaged, partial or late orders. Here are six factors that impact the success of the middle mile.
Due to the sheer magnitude of capacity needed in the supply chain, individuals who decide to become a carrier must choose a niche where they can do their primary work. While contracting directly with such carriers may work for some shippers, others thrive partnering with a 3PL whose business relationships provide for various shipping needs. Instead of being limited to internal resources and contracted external help, 3PL-supported shippers can access more consolidation techniques en route and warehouses that maximize speed and remove logistic limitations.
Micro fulfillment centers in the e-commerce supply chain have increased in use to shorten delivery times to customers to maximize time and space efficiency. As e-commerce continues to grow as a total percentage of all retail sales, optimizing the middle mile to micro fulfillment centers has advantages for many industries shipping products, whether mushrooms or household goods. Developing a sufficient middle mile infrastructure enables shippers to move their products more efficiently.
Some companies and service providers offer more value when they provide optimized shipment tracking to give customers the visibility they demand. Real-time visibility during middle mile delivery results in a better customer experience for DTC and retail purchases.
Shippers that use different carriers can complicate the process of data collection. Even shippers who operate exclusively through digital means can struggle to ensure that all incoming data is convertible to an analyzable format. By gleaning from a middle mile resource hub, retail and shipping companies can find innovative solutions to streamline their supply chains.
When we talk to customers, we hear time and time again the main reason they work with Warp is that we give them peace of mind. They can switch off for the night. We do that through our Customer Success team. When we first started the business, it was the fundamental flaw across the space. We knew if we could get that right, we would forever change the space of the middle mile. Talk to your shippers. Take them by the hand. Give them peace of mind, and they will never leave you.
Middle mile operations may be daunting as this growing logistics model increases, yet, with the right industry partnership, shippers can access carrier services that prioritize efficiency and visibility regardless of the shipment size. To learn how Warp delivers peace of mind and great customer experiences through middle mile services such as direct carrier injections and warehouse-to-warehouse transport, get in touch with a Warp expert today.