April 3, 2019

XPO extends freight marketplace to last-mile service

XPO extends freight marketplace to last-mile service

Move supports growing volume in home delivery of heavy goods, firm says.

By DC Velocity Staff

Transportation and logistics provider XPO Logistics Inc. is extending its "XPO Connect" digital freight marketplace into last-mile service, saying today that the move supports its growing business in home delivery of large and bulky items such as furniture and appliances.

Greenwich, Conn.-based XPO arranged an average of 40,000 last-mile deliveries per day in 2018, driven by its specialty in handling heavy goods, the company said. To support that business, XPO expanded its last-mile network in 2018, nearly doubling the number of service hubs it devotes to last-mile delivery.

The company is now adding to its investment in that sector, leveraging its "XPO Connect" digital freight marketplace to support activities such as heavy goods delivery, assembly and installation in consumers' homes. The company first launched XPO Connect in April 2018, describing it as a cloud-based, fully digital freight marketplace developed with multimodal, self-learning architecture.

The move is part of the company's overall technology budget, which has risen from an estimated $450 million in 2018 to $550 million in 2019, despite financial stumbles such as the loss of a major client and a missed earnings target in the fourth quarter of 2018. Past technology investments have included the deployment of 5,000 mobile robots from technology vendor GreyOrange Pte. Ltd. in XPO warehouses, a robotic articulated arm that stacks packages on pallets at a facility in France, and a mobile robot from Knightscope Inc. that patrols the company's parking lots at a DC in Atlanta. The company also produces software products such as the XPO Smart workforce optimization platform and WMx warehouse management system.

XPO says that opening its digital freight marketplace for last-mile service could bring benefits such as: giving customers and independent contractors deeper visibility and control over the delivery process; providing retailers with capabilities for digital scheduling, geo-tracking, delivery exception monitoring, and claims processing; and allowing independent service providers to view available offers, geo-monitor tendered routes, track payments, and see their performance metrics.

"We're empowering our customers with an expansive suite of digital tools to manage growing demand for last mile services," XPO CIO Mario Harik said in a release. "At the same time, we're supporting the service providers who represent our customers' brands. XPO Connect has opened the door to widespread efficiencies across our transportation network."

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