What types of retail final mile services can we offer – from large and small and just depending on what our customer might need?
The most popular services that we’re doing today are final mile pool distribution type services. We can then drive efficiencies for those customers being able to co-load where we can maximize that truck’s capacity with one, two, three customers on that truck, delivering to a certain point that’s relative to the other stores that we’re delivering to, ultimately buying down that truck cost for that customer.
So one of the biggest questions from our retail pool distribution customers is going to be, “how quickly can you start working with us? As soon as we reach out to you and we tell you our needs then how quickly can you guys get a quote back to us? And how quickly can we start working together?” As far as integrating IT systems, measurement systems, etc. what goes into that and exactly how quickly can we make that happen?
It varies depending on the expectations and what they’re asking us to do. If it’s a simple TMS integration or a final mile integration, depending on a platform. Can we use our own software, or are we to use this system that they are dictating that we use? Any of those options, the answer is we can move fast.
We have a very experienced IT team. This is we do for a living. Integration is an expectation this day and age. You have to be able to do that. So, I would say the answer to that is ‘quickly’. But again, there’s going to be some quirks and nuances we’ve got to work through, but at the end of the day, it’s a relatively easy task [to start working together quickly].
What types of services are we great at and what’s something really unique about USPack that differentiates us as far as providing these retail pool distribution services?
I think that depends on the freight profile, depending on what you’re looking at – is it floor-load trailers, sort and seg type operation – which we can accommodate in multiple terminals across the country from East coast to West coast – or is this a smaller parcel type company where we have the vehicle profile to support that pack type.
But really in my opinion, the answer to that question, it would be the diversification we have of network. We have asset-based operations. We have agent non-asset based operations. We have a truckload division. We have the expertise in the final mile delivery piece of it. We have the dispatch people. We have the operations staff. We have a tremendous amount of resources as a company at the size we are and we’ve got a lot of diversity within our customer base to be able to leverage – we talked about volumes – leverage volumes to help buy down those costs and build a more efficient supply chain.
The last piece is being able to create not so cookie-cutter-type solutions for their network. So if a lot of retail brands are looking to build more volume in store and create these ship from store type programs, whether it be curbside pickup for customers, placing orders online that are being fulfilled through the backend of the store, or it’s postal infusion type programs where you have companies like us going into those malls, making those deliveries, we can do sweeps in those stores, pick up that product, drop at the post office on the way back to the terminal, and then hit next day home delivery from there. So you’re, you’re competing with the Amazon model constantly. Everyone’s trying to find speed within their supply chain. Companies like us have the ability to execute that for them.
Looking into the future of final mile retail pool distribution, and the needs of our customers and with the services that we provide, how do you see that relationship continuing into the future?
I think the synergies between retail and the final mile partners – there’s a ton of opportunities there. A lot of retail customers are building DCs that are eCom capable. We’re moving to that time where you’re seeing the volumes step up year after year. So to be able to execute that, they’re having to restructure the way they’re thinking their DC layout. You look at the flip side to that, a lot of guys like us are pulling line hauls out of those DCs. So the ability to leverage the volume on those line hauls, build density on those line hauls, run through a cross dock type scenario or sort and seg, or even a pick and pack and ship from the terminal – whether it be a postal infusion or a ship from store, the idea they’re gaining efficiencies.
They’re able to co-load they’re able to maximize their supply chain with companies like us that have a network across the country to be able to handle programs like this. There’s a ton of upside there. So I think as these stores are able to, from a tech standpoint, create those orders that are being processed online and do the curbside type pickups or a postal infusion, or even parcel deliveries, there’s a ton of opportunities there. With eCom growing to the point that it is, it’s a no brainer to partner with guys like us that have the footprint, that have the density, and the capacity to deliver on it.