Last mile to First mile delivery - An area of strategic refocus in Supply Chain

Supply Chains have always been focused rather obsessed with customer order fulfillment. Focus of Supply Chain Network design has predominantly been around the "last mile" delivery. Adding nodes to the network, latest technology adoption and many other initiatives have been about improving last mile delivery. 

Is it time to also re-focus & offer consideration for "First mile delivery"? Particularly in industries where the first mile may have the highest delta impact on the customer. e.g. In Healthcare, the first mile is the most crucial one for the customer,who in this case is a Patient (particularly in emergency cases). From the time the patient has a health issue which needs attention till the time medical care is made available is the first mile in this case. For example they say first hour is the "Golden Hour" for a person who has an health emergency. In that case even if the last mile delivery, which in this case may be a well equipped hospital, is world-class it matters less than the availability of the first mile delivery infrastructure of the healthcare Supply Chain. One can extend the same for non availability of diagnostic infrastructure in remote towns and villages. That's the first mile of the Healthcare Supply Chain.

First Mile delivery can be a large opportunity in many Supply Chains. What will it take to focus on First Mile? 

a) In my opinion is has to offer the Supply Chain an imperative to focus on the First mile. 

b) The opportunity should be scalable for make the first mile a financial prudent Supply Chain decision

c) Education / Healthcare / Agriculture can be the Supply Chains to find great benefit if they improve first mile delivery

d) Technology (e.g. Drones) can be a game changer for achieving first mile.


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