For most of our clients, a multi-carrier strategy is the new normal. We think this is a wise approach, similar to the strategy of diversifying your personal investment portfolio. Most shippers will want to maintain their relationships with national carriers. If you have customers in places like Missoula, Montana, or Omaha, Nebraska, FedEx or UPS are probably your best shipping options for those customers. In large, densely populated urban areas where companies like AxleHire thrive, you can often expedite deliveries, improve service levels, and reduce delivery costs by moving parcel volume to regional carriers.
This strategy does create some added complexity for shippers in determining which package goes to which carrier, but most leading shipping software packages can be configured to manage that decision-making process. The improved convenience to the consumer through better messaging, the ability to update delivery instructions in real-time, and a faster delivery can create a payoff that differentiates merchants from their competitors.
As consumer demands for an Amazon-like delivery experience grow, delivery speed and cost will become more of a market differentiator for online sellers. Strategically moving volume from traditional carriers to regional carriers can create a competitive advantage in this environment.
But how do you measure the success of that strategy? Mark Ang at Supply Chain Brain has some suggestions for sifting through the massive amounts of data available from Order and Warehouse Management Systems and carrier data and identifying the critical metrics that identify the health of your shipping operations and how to get the most from that data. It’s a combination of identifying the most meaningful metrics and the right tools and frequency for tracking data over time.