By embracing multimodal options in last-mile delivery, retailers can effectively draw on an "unlimited" pool of carrier capacity, according to Matt Schultz, vice president of logistics partnerships with OneRail.
What does it mean to have multimodal delivery options and “unlimited” capacity for serving the last mile? To Schultz, it means “the ability to do deliveries across every mode, at any point during the day,” regardless of the type of vehicle that’s required.
Doesn’t the driver shortage make that difficult, if not impossible, to achieve? Schultz believes the current “shortage” of drivers can be solved by “putting the pieces together” — specifically, by deploying a single optimization platform across all delivery networks. “All of a sudden,” he says, “you see there isn’t a driver shortage. Drivers are asking for more deliveries and volume.”
Having unlimited capacity on hand to complete the last mile is a function of the ability to deliver at any time and by any mode, while adhering to the carrier’s promised service-level agreement with the customer. Again, says Schultz, it’s the delivery orchestration platform that can make the decisions needed to satisfy the customer’s requirements and adhere to the SLA.
Aggregating the network allows carriers to draw from a pool of potentially millions of eligible drivers across the country, although the task becomes easier in areas of greater population density — and, therefore, more available drivers.
“Multimodal” is another requirement of the successful provider of last-mile services today. Schultz says it describes the ability to perform all types of deliveries, even in specialized areas such as the cold chain and “white-glove” service, or when the customer specifies the use of an electric vehicle. Increasingly these days, however, that customer should be prepared to pay more for the privilege of selecting a type of vehicle that’s still available in smaller numbers than conventional options.
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