By Emily Henderson Marketing Manager & Carrier Partner Program Administrator at eTrac
Monogamy is so pre-pandemic. It’s time to open your minds, and relationship status, to a larger network of delivery carriers. If the pandemic highlighted anything, it was the need to stop depending on a singular national carrier to fulfill all your last mile delivery needs. After a holiday season where over one million gifts went undelivered because of capacity caps, companies are still dealing with skyrocketing customer complaints and returns. Nearly a year after the pandemic hit the United States, there is still no end to demand in sight, what is a shipper to do?
Play the field. UPS, Fedex, and USPS aren’t the only carriers who can deliver packages. There is unlimited untapped potential within networks of regional and local carriers. Their smaller size and localization make it easier to address capacity issues, strengthen customer relationships, and save your company money.
How does one dip their toe into the pool of a diversified carrier network?
Making the Matching
When opting to not utilize a large national carrier, there are many notable retailers and shippers who have spent nearly a decade building their logistics networks. They’ve slowly been searching for and adding carriers, starting with major markets and moving outward. While their efforts were commendable and time-consuming, given today’s access to networks of carriers, it’s no longer necessary.
When moving towards a diverse carrier network, keep in mind that much of the work has already been done for you. There are many places where you can tap into an existing network of regional and local carriers, ready to help you reach your last mile.
Before jumping into a long term commitment, it’s wise to move into your new relationship with open eyes. Establish your expectations and service requirements to share with your carriers during the selection process, providing a solid foundation for moving forward.
One of the primary reasons companies select a large national carrier to help them reach the last mile is the built-in visibility available, for them and for their customers.
Regional and local carriers have similar technological capabilities. Once you integrate your system to theirs, you can share complete visibility on your orders and gain valuable metrics for analyzing your last mile.
Most carrier systems provide insight on all order details including delivery times, POD’s, photo capture and touchless POD’s, appointment creation, driver delivery details, GPS locations, and more.
Grading the Relationship
Should they stay or should they go? Regardless of which carriers are making your deliveries, it’s important to your business and your customers to keep an eye on how your last mile is doing.
Checking in on your last mile data regularly to see which carriers are complying with your established service requirements is essential to the process. Utilizing a dashboard to look at historical data and trend analysis regularly is the best way to do this.
After integrating with your carriers’ systems, aggregate your data into one navigable dashboard. Examine the data for consistencies between customer complaints, carriers who are frequently missing delivery deadlines, not providing POD’s, or meeting your other service level agreements.
If you’re a part of a network of regional and local carriers, you can easily shift capacity from carriers who aren’t holding up their end of the relationship to another carrier.
It’s important to facilitate a seamless move and ensure no service interruptions for your customers.
A Relationship Built to Last
In business, the relationship that matters most is that with your customer. Maintaining that relationship can make or break your business.
When working with a large national carrier, high delivery costs, order delays and questionable delivery experiences can negatively impact the relationship with your customers — costing you.
In today’s world, you no longer have to be dependent on a large national carrier to help make your deliveries. Access one of the networks of regional and local carriers, establish communication, and monitor your relationships with them to build a better last mile. ✷