Last Mile Delivery Strained Amid Coronavirus Fears

Shoppers Seen Buying More Online Amid Virus Woes, Further Straining Last Mile Delivery

Industry analysts have started to anticipate that customers will shop online due to fear of the novel coronavirus, “which will further strain an inefficient retail supply chain, especially the critical last mile,” according to Women’s Wear Daily (WWD). With ever-increasing pressure on the last mile, Newmine COO Mark Holmes provided WWD with some perspective on how retailers can find success in this critical step of the supply chain:

Mark Holmes, chief operating officer at Newmine who previously held executive roles at Coldwater Creek, L.L. Bean and TJX Cos. Inc., among others, said there are “many solutions to last-mile delivery that retailers can pursue. The key is that all solutions require a sophisticated system of operational excellence, software organization and utilization of creative local transportation.”

Holmes said if retailers have inventory in a local store, they can “utilize employees to make customer delivery runs” or leverage a “ride-sharing partnership via Uber, Lyft, etc., to deliver packages.”

“The ultimate challenge is having all the sophistication to manage the process, ensure quality delivery with third parties and make it financially beneficial to the retailer,” Holmes said. “Amazon has resources that typical retailers don’t have, so they can absorb losses in the last mile that regular retailers can’t. Trying to compete with Amazon’s fast and free capabilities puts retailers’ bottom lines at risk, and this is just what Amazon is hoping for.”

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