The year of 2020 has been a tough time to be a shipper.
As retailers and their suppliers try to maintain smooth supply chain operations throughout the pandemic, they are also faced with challenges like a shortage of warehouse space, a tightening freight market, and rising fees from parcel carriers, according to the third party logistics provider (3PL) and freight broker GlobalTranz Enterprises LLC.
At the same time, the long-term shift from business to business (B2B) to business to consumer (B2C) consumption patterns is driving hot growth in e-commerce that will only grow faster in coming months under the pressure of consumers working from home to avoid spreading coronavirus and of the looming annual winter holiday peak season.
Despite those pressures, the nation’s logistics flows must go on, said Bob Farrell, the former Globaltranz CEO who recently returned to the corner office after previous chief Renee Krug left the company for personal reasons after a little less than two years at the top.
“The business we’re in is an essential business; people need to move things, and go to places of manufacturing and build things,” Farrell said in a phone briefing. “Shipper customers of ours are looking to have as many SKUs as possible as close to their customers as possible, and some of them are even carrying ‘just in case’ inventories because they’re worried about disruptions.”
As a response to those challenges, Phoenix-based GlobalTranz is continuing to follow the aggressive growth path it has followed since being acquired in 2018 by private equity firm The Jordan Co. L.P., and then in 2019 sold back to its previous owner, Providence Equity Partners LLC. In recent months, the company has launched offerings like a final-mile, white-glove delivery service called “Doorstep Delivery” and a “Popup Fleets” platform that offers high-volume shippers access to pre-set rates while avoiding the need to manage multiple brokers or seek capacity on the spot market.
Of course, as a non-asset-based transportation provider, the company supports those services through its data networks, not through its own physical truck fleets. “We leverage data around visibility, like the locations of assets across modes, and we make that visibility available to both customer partners and carrier partners in real time,” Farrell said. “As a technology-driven company, we continue to deepen and widen the amount of data we have, and make it a ‘competitive weapon’ for us to offer services to customers.”
Logistics industry trends such as supply chain digitalization and the federal mandate for electronic logging devices (ELDs) have helped GlobalTranz in its quest to capture that expanding pool of data, but according to Farrell, there has always been a lot of information to be had in the sector, if you just know where to look.
“If you’re a broker and you know what day that asset will arrive at Point A and you know what day that asset will arrive at Point B, then what are you going to do with that information?” Farrell said. “We’re seeing continued pressure on capacity. And that was already true, independent of Covid, tariffs, and other macro conditions. It’s not going away, so you need to optimize the utilization of the capacity you do have.”
For example, the company launches its Doorstep Delivery plan at a time when the market has seen massive increases in home delivery, and parcel networks are “absolutely jammed,” all before the arrival of pending e-commerce surges like amazon.com Inc.’s delayed Prime Day date in October and the jump in online shopping expected on Black Friday in November, said David Commiskey, vice president for customer solutions at GlobalTranz.
The service targets companies shipping furniture, exercise equipment, and other items that are too big and bulky to fit on conveyors. By moving those shipments out of the parcel network into a white glove network, the strategy can help support more efficient operations in both spheres, he said.
Globaltranz achieves that by arranging an array of services—such as using truckload shipments to get the inventory into a local market, then switching to regional providers for last-mile service—all while providing customers with a single, consolidated invoice and one point of contact for shipment tracking. The company is marketing the program with rates that are comparable to using traditional parcel carriers, arguing that even if the delivery fee is about the same, GlobalTranz’ approach offers more predictable service, Commiskey said. And in the turmoil of current freight markets, predictable e-commerce delivery is an increasingly rare—and valuable—commodity.
In our latest white paper, we explore shifting consumer spending habits, #transportation challenges for #ecommerce and #retail shippers, and share the latest #logistics solutions to help you prepare your #supplychain for peak season success. https://t.co/f0scf0AW7z pic.twitter.com/nprxpyFT0s— GlobalTranz (@GlobalTranz) September 30, 2020