Global freight transportation and logistics services provider XPO Logistics Inc. said this week that next month it plans to roll out a new interactive last mile technology, which, it said, will help consumers manage retail home deliveries.
XPO is the largest provider of last mile logistics for North America-based heavy goods, handling roughly 13 million carrier-based deliveries and installations per year.
XPO said that this web-based offering is geared towards meeting what it called the unique requirements of heavy goods bought by consumers via e-commerce and traditional, or bricks-and-mortar stores. And it added that the main objective of this new offering is to provide consumers with personal visibility and control over the delivery of heavy goods, appliances, and furniture. These types of shipments, it added, typically require a person to be available in order to take the delivered item into a residence, as opposed to package shipments that can be dropped off.
Some examples of the features that this last mile technology offers consumers, cited by XPO, include managing orders in real time, rescheduling delivery times electronically, integrating calendars and opting to receive weather and traffic alerts, as well as providing consumers with the flexibility to set their preferences like notifications through e-mail, text message, or voice.
Mario Harik, Chief Information Officer for XPO, told LM that e-commerce is the number one driver for this offering.
“More and more consumers are buying online,” he said. “They have new expectations of the shopping experience, and retailers need to meet those expectations. A consumer who buys something online wants visibility, control and a frictionless experience. That’s especially true when the item is large and heavy, or needs installation, like an appliance, or heavy fitness equipment. Someone needs to be home to take delivery.”
And as the largest last mile provider for heavy goods in North America, he noted that is where the company’s technology is focused.
“We’re giving retailers and consumers high-tech control over the delivery,” said Harik. “The consumer clicks through online, and our technology platform powers the process in the background. It’s a major advancement that improves the consumer experience. We’re continuing to develop new technology for last mile and our other lines of business, to keep innovating for our customers.”
When asked what this technology offers, or provides, to customers that was not previously available, Harik explained it goes back to the idea of heavy goods, where someone needs to be physically available to take delivery inside the house, which he added is very different than having a package left on your doorstep.
“Our new technology helps a consumer prepare for a delivery, and if their circumstances change, it’s easy to make adjustments,” he said. “Maybe the homeowner thought she’d be at the house during the communicated delivery window and now she has to work. She can easily change the delivery day electronically. The technology can also narrow the time range, as the delivery gets closer. Order management functions like this used to be done by calling our customer service team. What we’re launching is actually a more personalized experience for the consumer because of the customizations we’ve built into it –– like the calendar updates and weather alerts.”
About the Author
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management
, Modern Materials Handling
, and Supply Chain Management Review
and is a contributor to Robotics 24/7. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis.
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