The Last Fast Mile
A conversation with Chuck Moyer, Board Member, Customized Logistics and Delivery Association and CEO, Express Courier, Inc. (an LSO company) operating a fleet of over 2,000 vehicles and 55 facilities.
Chuck Moyer has spent 37 years in the transportation industry, 31 of them in the same-day sector. A frequent speaker at industry conferences, he will be presenting a session on “The Last Fast Mile” at the Eye for Transport’s 13th Annual 3PL Summit in June. In addition, he will participate in the conference’s panel about ecommerce.
Question:How have expectations for Last Mile Delivery changed over the last few years?
Moyer:Everyone is in a race to find the right solution not just for the ecommerce rage, but also to meet other global supply chain challenges.
In today’s environment Last Mile Delivery is expected to be faster plus include superior on-time performance, world-class professionalism and technology at a low cost or for “free”.
Question:Talk about some of the challenges of today’s environment.
Moyer:Today’s environment includes many challenges such as:
· Meeting customer expectations for same-day (or faster) cost effective delivery.
· The role of app-driven driven transportation companies.
· Coping with highway infrastructure issues.
· Working in a fast-changing regulatory environment such as CSA scores, hours of service, twin 33’s and how to deal with the future of drones, driverless vehicles and security concerns.
· Finding ways to balance resource utilization with driver availability, customer demands and operating cost pressures.
Question:Why not look at some of the newer solutions?
Moyer:Good companies are always looking for ways to embrace the newest technology to get increased productivity and to control costs. But we have to be realistic. With the ever-changing and challenging environment most companies cannot afford to base their futures on unproven solutions that may or may not become reality. While things like drones, driverless vehicles or modified customer behavior strategies are attention grabbing most companies putting them into practical use or investing in them at this point is premature.
Question:If these newer approaches aren’t yet productive, what can Last Mile providers do?
Moyer:Global supply chain companies need to find ways to build cost effective solutions that gives them a competitive edge. It starts with them pinpointing their strengths and understanding what drives their profitability. They need to know what they do well and more cost effectively than their competition. That’s the sweet spot. That’s where they should be prospecting for new customers and focusing their resources. When you look at your business in a cold, hard way, you’ll also unearth existing business you have on the books that’s actually cost prohibitive. You may need to abandon these services, or serve these needs by partnering with other transportation sectors to build a cost effective customized solution and sets you apart from your competition. You should always be looking at ways to build alliances with other providers that will make both of you successful and build stronger alliances with your customer base. And, above all, you need to innovative, informed and adjust to the ever-changing supply chain.
Question:Give us an example of how one of those partnerships could work.
Moyer:Suppose you have a truck leaving Los Angeles and going to Cincinnati, with stops in Oklahoma City and St. Louis. Instead of having your resource layover and make difficult and costly deliveries in a downtown metropolitan area, why not drop the partial shipment at one of the Last Mile service provider facilities? They will use the right size vehicle for that final mile delivery, which keeps your resource costs down and profitability high. This strategy allows for a more efficient use of resources, provides additional revenue and opens you up for reverse logistics opportunities. Once you have identified the right partners for you, you can also build on the First Mile and freight consolidation benefits. These things will drive your company’s revenue and profits per mile driven per hour worked.
Question: How does this apply to ecommerce?
Moyer:The key for logistics and delivery companies that want to achieve profitability in the ecommerce world is density. By aligning with Last Mile specialists you can benefit by having a variety of delivery options to offer your customer base including one, two or four-hour delivery; same-day distribution or regional overnight small parcel services. You can get closer to your customers by having warehousing capabilities without having to rent or build facilities. You can provide local retail store fulfillment and deliveries using a local or regional provider with mutual cost benefits through a unique transportation network.
Question: How would you summarize the key ideas to success in the “Fast Last Mile” concept?
Moyer:It’s all about business and resource management. Knowing your “sweet spot” and what drives your costs and profits. Building a customized solution that strengthens your service offerings and creates customer loyalty. It’s about staying innovative, producing the most cost-effective solution to meet your customer’s needs, adding value and ultimately enhancing your competitive advantage.