Businesses face a long list of challenges related to managing and supporting their supply chains, everything from rising fuel costs and shrinking talent pools to the need to adopt new technologies and improve business processes. A recent addition to the list is the challenge of last-mile performance in an omni-channel environment where consumers demand faster speed, more liberal return policies, and true continuity across all aspects of the customer experience.
"Last mile excellence is only achievable if all the supply chain components that come before it are working optimally,” says Jeff Abeson, chief commercial officer of Ryder Last Mile, LLC. “Visibility and control in the supply chain are important, all the way from point of origin to final delivery and everywhere in between. Companies that can optimize costs and resources while still meeting the new heightened levels of customer service expectations are the ones that will succeed in the long run. The best way for businesses to do that is by leveraging partnerships to turn their supply chain into a true competitive differentiator as opposed to an oppressive cost center.”
With more than 310 supply chain engineers on staff and decades of industry experience, Ryder offers a variety of outsource solutions to manage all kinds of supply chains, small or large, simple or complex. Ryder partners with businesses to provide them with end-to-end visibility and optimized supply chain performance that enables them to get products to market quickly, drive growth, and focus more of their time and resources on improving customer experience.
Ryder manages 55 million square feet of warehouse; it employs proven LEAN methodologies that boost efficiency and productivity; and its business intelligence and analytics systems provide end-to-end supply chain visibility with unmatched accuracy. Ryder’s outsource supply chain capabilities include:
- A continuous improvement method that fosters a culture of operational excellence through the use of innovative tools, systems, and processes.
- A suite of warehouse and distribution services to support all of its customers’ distribution management needs, including staff hiring and training, inventory management, packaging, value-added services, reverse logistics, and co-located warehouse facilities.
- Supply chain engineering and analytics for everything from site selection to capacity planning to help customers design their perfect supply chain network with the agility and cost control needed to enable growth.
- Transportation management to move customers’ goods in the most cost-effective and efficient manner possible with Ryder’s industry- leading transportation solutions.
Most recently, Ryder has focused on last-mile delivery with omni-channel fulfillment capabilities. Ryder e-Commerce Fulfillment leverages a network of more than 125 e-commerce fulfillment hubs that can provide two-day delivery to more than 95 percent of North America . The network can service any industry and is capable of handling both big and bulky products and small and large parcels.
“This solution can create a real benefit for startups and growth companies that are looking to expand into new markets,” Abeson says. “Since it’s a pay-as-you go solution, a local or regional business can create a national presence without the significant capital expenditures that would be required for an in-house delivery service.”
Ryder Last Mile provides home delivery of big and bulky products with white glove installation through multiple tiers of service and a network of carriers throughout the U.S. and Canada. From customer contact through shipment tracking, delivery, and follow-up survey, the service is designed to create a lasting memory of a positive shopping experience that turns into repeat business for Ryder’s customers.
“Quite honestly, this is absolutely the most challenging part of the supply chain, simply for the fact that you’re entering into a consumer’s home,” Abeson says. “It’s really not like a B2B delivery or leaving a parcel on someone’s doorstep. You’re dealing with a specific delivery window, which requires you to be time-definite. You have a product that a consumer has spent a significant amount of money on. And, you’re going into the most intimate part of someone’s world—their home. Accomplishing this in a way that makes everyone enjoy the experience and represents the retailer’s brand in a favorable light is a significant challenge.”
Ryder Last Mile services meet a growing demand in the marketplace and represent the final link in a truly end-to-end lineup of outsource 3PL services, Abeson says. “Our rationale behind adding these new capabilities is to become a truly one-stop provider for all our customers’ supply chain needs. Now we cover everything from inbound transportation all the way through warehousing, distribution, transportation management, and the last-mile component.”
This article was first published by Entrepreneur Magazine, and was reprinted with permission.