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How To Choose the Best Location for Your Last-Mile Distribution Center


Consider customer geography, transportation infrastructure, the local talent pool, and cost when choosing a location for a last-mile distribution center.

Last-mile distribution centers can help retailers improve the most challenging and important aspect of delivery. These sales centers are not only convenient for customers, but they can be financially beneficial for businesses as well.

The success of your center, however, is dependent on your choosing the right location. So what should you be looking at when picking a site for your last-mile distribution center?

Go where your customers are

It sounds almost too obvious. But sometimes the obvious answers are the best ones. The proximity of your last-mile distribution center to your customers will determine how many people will travel to the center to pick up their orders. This saves everyone both time and money on shipping.

Analyze the geography of your customer base. Where do most orders ship? Which cities consume the most product? Or, if you have individual distributors, where do most of them live? By examining these figures, you can determine a location that will allow you to serve the most people and eliminate the most cost associated with shipping.

Planes, trains, and automobiles

The transportation infrastructure surrounding your last-mile distribution center is vital to its success. After all, if your customers can’t easily get to your center for pickups, they may opt to have products shipped instead. Ensure that public transit runs close by, and that major highways are easily accessible.

Also consider your internal logistics. How will you deliver products to these centers? If they are far from your regular distribution hubs, you may want to consider locations with major airports so that you can next-day fast-selling products to stock your shelves.

Good help is hard to find

Don’t overlook the depth of the talent pool in any given location. After all, once you have opened your last-mile distribution center, you will need to staff it.

Before you put the help wanted sign out front, you should do your due diligence on what the workforce looks like in any potential site. Will there be enough talent to fill critical positions? Is there enough talent with the proper education or training in that area? What is the pay scale for this line of work in your potential city?


Of course we would be remiss if we didn’t mention cost. Real estate markets fluctuate and vary from city to city. Understanding how much it would cost you to set up your center in a particular city is of the utmost importance.

It is important to understand that this cost does not exist in a vacuum. There will be other factors that will influence your decision. A thorough analysis is vital in determining the perfect location for your center.

Related posts:

solving last-mile delivery problems

Topics: distribution strategy last-mile distribution center