How Carrier Diversity Drives Agility and Resilience

Recent disruptions highlighted the dangers of an overloaded supply chain, with capacity strained by the very business models that built consumer reliance on e-commerce. An agile and resilient supply chain has become one where capacity is key, and retailers look beyond legacy carriers for shipping solutions.

In a world where the only certainty is uncertainty, here are three ways carrier diversity offers small and mid-size retailers the flexibility they need to succeed in e-commerce:

Matching Volume with Capacity

There is a natural ebb and flow of parcel volume, driven by a combination of seasonality, consumer demand and product availability. Small to mid-size retailers are seeking capacity that aligns with their needs require flexibility.

By aggregating parcel volume from multiple shippers within a few metropolitan areas, AirTerra is able to lower shipping costs while getting product moving down the road to customers.

Building in Predictability

Consumers are demanding speed, reliability and predictability in their purchase process. Legacy carriers that rely on a hub-and-spoke model experience more delays, lost packages and other snafus just by virtue of their many touchpoints for each parcel.

AirTerra’s point-to-point network ships long zone parcels to major metro markets, cutting time, lowering cost, and eliminating unpredictability.

Power of Choice

The greatest benefit of carrier diversity is that it is not a one-size-fits-all solution. AirTerra provides a complete end-to-end shipping solution by offering retailers a choice of many regional parcel carriers and USPS delivery options for the last mile.

The Case for Change

A recent article in the trade publication Sourcing Journal provided an inside look at American Eagle Outfitters which is walking the talk of carrier diversity with its purchase of two logistics companies, AirTerra and Quiet Logistics, creating a network for businesses to share supply chain logistics and boost efficiencies.

“We at American Eagle are creating a supply chain platform that levels the playing field for everyone,” said Shekar Natarajan, chief supply chain officer at American Eagle Outfitters in the interview with Sourcing Journal. “Networks are built analog, but supply chains and commerce have become more digital. We’re basically trying to put the two together,” he said, adding that while the industry average is about 1.4 shipments for every order, AEO can now do it in 1.05. “And it’s not just fewer packages showing up faster at your doorstep, but more importantly, it’s showing up cheaper as well”

AEO began by asking the important question: ‘How do we get closer to the end consumer but do it in a smarter way?’” The answer: carrier diversification.