Shipper Spotlight: tailored solutions for volatile shipping environments

Drivers, Resource, Technology and Innovation

How one shipper’s boutique solution powered their logistics operation.

Consider all the reasons you’ve been to a home improvement store — maybe you needed an extra can of paint, a specific tool, or a truckload of lumber for a backyard project. Every shopper needs something different than the customer before them, and often they need hard-to-find parts or items in massive quantities, to say nothing of frequent seasonal changes that affect inventory — it’s difficult to predict. Customers don’t usually arrive to gather their weekly shopping list like they may at the supermarket. If you oversee logistics for one of these stores, how do you begin to plan this out?

That’s the exact question one of our Houston-area shippers asked. The home improvement retailer faced an uphill battle planning their loads — some days they needed three loads to move their goods, while others called for over 20.

Accounting for this volatility was front and center when they came to us, especially as they entered spring and summer, two distinct, back-to-back seasonal sales spikes. On top of this, shipping in Houston presents its own challenges: traffic, an enormous, tangly infrastructure, and weather can throw quick, unforeseen wrenches in even the most well-prepared of shipping operations.

In the past three years, we’ve used a Dedicated fleet of nine professional drivers to service this customer. Though serviceable, this solution couldn’t take on the large swings in demand the customer needed. It could stand to be reformulated. They needed a solution built with those swings in mind from the ground up.

Now, we service this account with 11 more Dedicated, professional drivers for a total of 20. When they need more capacity, they tap Xpress Technologies, our brokerage division, to fill in the gaps. It’s a fully integrated solution that handles surges with ease.

“By using brokerage, the problems caused by unpredictability are mitigated,” said Zach Moore, a Regional Operations Director for Dedicated. “If this shipper needs more capacity, all they do is tap into Xpress Technologies’ pool of drivers, and we handle the rest.”

This combines two reliable shipping methods into one streamlined, custom solution for our shipper. We find that typically, these custom pairings are exactly what a shipper needs. Their expected and largely predictable volume of goods is serviced with ease, and when they need to expand, Xpress Technologies gives them a large amount of breathing room at a moment’s notice.

Each Friday, this customer sends out a report grading their carriers, ranking them from highest performance to lowest performance. Carriers are penalized for late deliveries or problems with service. And each Friday, we’re excited to see our name at or near the top. Just like we want it to be.

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