Your business is growing. Out of convenience, you started making your final mile deliveries with a national carrier, but now you’re evaluating your supply chain costs, and are rethinking your current final mile plan. How do you know if it’s time to make the switch from the “large big three” carriers, to a regional or local final mile player?
Each kind of carrier is uniquely position to serve your business.
Types of Final Mile Carriers
When you think of a national carrier, you’re likely thinking of one of the “big-three”: UPS, Fedex, and USPS. They have large fleets, good technology and can get your package to anywhere, for the right price. Their size can make them more rigid when it comes to certain delivery times and specializations your business requires.
A regional carrier typically covers a region of the United States, such as the “Midwest” or “East coast.” You will need to have multiple regional carriers to provide coverage for the whole United States.
Local carriers cover an area typically around a large city, such as “Metro Atlanta”. They may venture 200+ miles outside this city to make deliveries. What they lack in coverage, local carriers make up for in flexibility and personalized service.
Should I use a national carrier?
The national carrier market is dominated by “The Big 3”, also known as UPS, Fedex, and USPS. Each company has experienced their own share of turbulence the past few years, but they offer unique benefits for companies with cut-and-dry parcel delivery needs who are looking for a “one-stop shop”.
While a national carrier can help provide a quick and easy way to reach the final mile, they may not always have the most competitive rates or services you require. They typically lack flexibility and add surcharges for many of your final mile delivery needs, increasing your costs.
Should I use a regional carrier?
While regional carriers do not cover as much area as a national carrier, your company can build relationships with a few regional carriers to cover your whole final mile footprint.
Compared to national carriers, regional carriers may offer additional services to fit your companies needs. Many regional carriers are also able to provide cost savings and a reduced transit time. The cost savings stem from a lack of surcharges, such as “additional handling”and “signature required” charges, as well as more dimensional divisor options.
Utilizing a regional carrier may require you to transport your goods to a warehouse or distribution facility in the regional carriers area.
Should I use a local carrier?
Many local final mile carriers began their business doing quick on-demand deliveries, where they had just hours to get a package to the consignee. Their businesses evolved as technology changed, but their operations and processes are uniquely designed to make quick deliveries.
Local carriers typically provide the most flexibility and brand control for making final mile deliveries. They have the most extensive and unique service offerings to specifically fit your company’s needs. For white glove deliveries, for example, these carriers can offer both one-man or two-man deliveries, drop items off in room-of-choice, or even put together furniture.
While they may not service vast areas, these carriers know the ins-and-outs of the areas they do service. They’re on top of everything from traffic patterns to local regulations for specialized deliveries.
Building Your Ideal Final Mile Network
There may not be one simple solution for building your final mile network. A mix of national, regional, and local carriers may be required to provide you with an optimal supply chain through the last mile.
If you’re looking for new carriers — national, regional, or local — we’re here to help. Our shippers and 3PL’s connect with thousands of carriers in our network through a single point of integration. Learn more about how we help you onboard new carriers here.
Do you have more questions on how to build your final mile? Listen to our recent webinar here.