The Official Blog of Penske Transportation Solutions
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Last Mile Delivery Solutions

Four ways commercial truck rental can help you get ahead in the supply chain

While every part of the delivery process matters, the competition to optimize the last mile (or final mile) of delivery has never been more intense. As the volume of e-Commerce shopping rises every year, a large percentage of today's consumers expect two-day, one-day and even same-day shipping to get their purchase to its final destination. That leaves shippers with increasing concerns about expenses and other last mile problems, since total costs associated with the last mile run at about 50 percent of overall logistics costs across various industries.

Independent contractors who work for some of the nation's largest shipping companies feel the squeeze to deliver shipments as soon as possible, provide real-time delivery updates, and meet other expectations of being a last mile carrier. And with consumers now buying large and oddly shaped items like mattresses and couches online, contractors often must deliver both parcels and larger-than-parcel shipments and do so on time and on budget. These ever-increasing demands mean many independent contractors who work with prominent shippers need additional trucks and more last mile delivery options than in the past.

Penske works with independent contractors to provide commercial truck rental solutions to meet your last mile supply chain needs. Rely on our expertise to improve these four areas of your business:

1. Scalability – Truck Rental Helps You React Quickly

As demand peaks, customer expectations and last mile delivery needs grow. Shippers offer late-night pickups, real-time updates for deliveries, and extended hours during periods of high volume, and independent contractors must follow suit. A commercial rental contract with Penske Truck Rental allows you to scale last mile delivery needs up or down to meet fluctuating demand during peak times.

Our fleet includes more than 98,000 vehicles, giving you access to the trucks you need when you need them. And with pickup and drop-off available at more than 2,500 rental facilities across North America, it's a good bet that our trucks will be at locations nearby.

2. Flexibility – Truck Rental Helps You Stay Nimble

For last mile carriers, parcel sizes often vary along with demand. Using the wrong type—or wrong size—truck can create multiple headaches. A contractor with a fleet consisting solely of large trucks may find itself running multiple less-than-truckload shipments. A contractor with only smaller trucks may find itself making multiple trips. In both scenarios, total costs may skyrocket.

Penske helps shippers control supply chain costs, resolve the last mile problem, and optimize load planning by providing different sizes and types of trucks and trailers, including:

Light-duty trucks such as cargo vans, box trucks and cabovers
Medium-duty trucks, including larger box trucks, refrigerated trucks and flatbeds
Heavy-duty tractors, including single-axle, tandem-axle and sleepers
Semi-trailers measuring 48 ft. and 53 ft.

3. Dependability – Rental Trucks Get You There in a Pinch

A major breakdown during last mile delivery can remove a truck from your fleet for days, weeks and even months. And breakdowns that happen during the last mile also create supply chain headaches for customers, drivers and shippers alike.

Penske's commercial fleet is one of the youngest and best maintained in the industry, minimizing the risk of breakdowns. We provide 24/7 roadside assistance to keep your drivers and deliveries moving toward their final destinations. With more than 9,200 trained technicians and more than 2,500 Penske facilities across North America, your vehicles will get the attention they deserve, and we’ll remove the stress from your last mile.

4. Accountability – Rental Trucks Help You Stay in Control

Contracting with a commercial truck rental company for last mile delivery needs doesn't mean losing oversight of your drivers or your vehicles. Penske permits drivers and fleets to use their own portable electronic logging device (ELD) systems in rental vehicles.

As another option, Penske offers the free Penske Driver™ app. It provides last mile carriers with the tools to complete their daily tasks and keep them compliant with the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate when in Penske rental trucks. The Penske Driver app allows drivers to:

  • Log Hours of Service (HOS) in Penske rental vehicles and fully comply with the ELD mandate
  • Submit 24/7 roadside assistance requests and view real-time updates
  • Submit fuel receipts digitally, eliminating the need to submit paper receipts
  • Find rental, leasing, service, parking, fueling locations and more
  • Access vehicle information, service history and 24/7 history

Don't let the last mile of delivery cause you sleepless nights. Gain peace of mind with a commercial truck rental from Penske.

A Quick Guide to the Last Mile

What Does Last Mile Mean?

The last mile is the final stage in the shipping process. For example, when a customer buys something online, the last mile refers to the delivery of a product from a warehouse to its final destination, typically the customer’s home. This type of delivery aims to deliver items as quickly as possible.

Why is Last Mile so Expensive?

Last mile delivery is the most expensive part of the fulfillment chain. It’s costly due to labor, a higher rate of failed deliveries, unoptimized and more complex delivery routes, idling and downtime, fuel costs, and the stop-and-go required when delivering to multiple addresses in a day.

Why is the Last Mile a Problem?

Last mile carriers run into many problems including outdated technology and unoptimized and inefficient routes that lead to longer delivery times. However, the last mile problem can be tackled by improving these four areas of your business: scalability, flexibility, dependability and accountability.

Why is the Last Mile Important?

The last mile is a crucial part of the supply chain. It impacts total costs and, if issues arise, customer experience will suffer. Because customers don’t see everything that comes before the last mile, they often only remember how a product got to their hands.

What is the Difference Between First and Last Mile Delivery?

First and last mile delivery both work to move goods through the supply chain. First mile deliveries occur at the beginning of the delivery chain. They refer to the first leg of a product’s journey within a company’s supply chain process, whether that’s from factory to warehouse or supplier to retailer. Last mile deliveries are the last step of the supply chain and refer to the movement of packages from the shipper or warehouse to the end customer or final destination.