Use the last mile to optimise costs and stay close to your customers
But as more and more consumers shop online, last mile locations have emerged as the perfect way to get the best of both worlds.
Why the last mile matters
With the number of deliveries happening across the UK only going up, the last mile is more important than ever. As the final step in the process that ultimately gets a product to a customer’s door, it’s crucial for everything to run smoothly, and to meet the high standards of reliability and speed that consumers expect.
Having a warehouse within this critical zone gives businesses all sorts of benefits – both operationally and financially. Perhaps most importantly, it puts them within easy reach of large urban areas that are packed with people. And being closer to customers means faster shipping times and reduced delivery costs.
But the benefits don’t stop there. A last mile location also means businesses can utilise electric vehicles for their deliveries, without having to worry about prohibitively long journeys. And this not only reduces costs even further – but also helps businesses run more sustainably.
Why last mile beats city centres
Of course, many of the benefits we’ve discussed above also apply to central locations in towns and cities. But there are still plenty of key reasons why a last mile location is often the better choice.
The first of these is cost. A central location is naturally going to come with a significantly higher rent, which means more of a business’s budget is wrapped up in paying for its space, rather than hiring staff, buying new stock, or investing in growth.
City centres can also be difficult operationally. It’s rare to find a space with plenty of parking for employees, and any commercial spaces are usually going to be much smaller than what you might be able to get a little further out.
Last but not least, a location in the heart of a single urban location might limit your business to only serving that particular area. In comparison, a last mile warehouse located between several different regions gives you more options, as well as easier access to national road networks.
Finding the right last mile location
If a last mile location ticks all the right boxes for your business, then there are a few questions to ask yourself when looking for the right property.
First, what sort of transport links will you need? That may include parking for team members and easy access for delivery vehicles, but also access to ports, freight stations, and even airports – if you’ll be importing or exporting outside of your local region.
Then, think about the size of space you’ll need. Do you want something that works for your business as it is right now? Or is it better to find a slightly larger warehouse that gives you room to grow?
You should also consider the amenities and facilities you’ll need from your last mile location. That might include electric vehicle chargers, but you may also need dedicated office spaces and security systems, or have your own size and power requirements for specialist equipment. Keep these needs in mind to make sure your space works for your operations.
No matter what that perfect space looks like, Mileway’s portfolio of last mile properties across the UK means we’ll be able to help you find it.