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last mile logistics are key considerations in building smart citiesOn October 16 2018 I had the good fortune to represent TECSYS on a panel session “Smart cities and the last 50 feet” at the 2018 MHI annual conference. The panel was an hour of discussion around the topic of changes in last mile logistics technologies and how they will impact industry over the coming five years and I have to say it was a lot of fun and really educational. On the panel was Kevin Condon at Kroger, Alan Amling at UPS, John Ellis at Ellis & Associates and me with the session well moderated by Scott Sopher, Principal at Deloitte.
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Increasingly we are seeing distributors being pinched between spiraling shipping costs and rising customer expectations. Orders are getting smaller and customers are demanding faster and faster delivery methods, all without expecting to pay anything extra to cover the additional costs of the shipping. I thought it might be interesting to reach out to a market-leading regional distributor and discuss what they are doing to figure out this last mile transportation problem.

 

4 Werner Electric Supply truck drivers standing in front of Werner Electric Supply transportation trucks and warehouse

 

I interviewed Rory Mueller, Logistics Manager at Werner Electric Supply to see how they took this increasingly complex problem and turned it into a market advantage and a key differentiator for doing business with them.


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Not that long ago, distribution networks happily and conveniently operated through strategically-placed distribution centers, delivering, say, a pallet a month through LTL (less-than-truckload) carriers. Things might have seemed complex at the time, but there was no real thought about what could possibly happen next.

 

Courier in the driver's seat of truck searching map routes on his smartphone

 

Now, many regional distribution centers (DCs) are being driven to try and take on the task of customized distribution services and customer delivery themselves. Why? Because of higher-than-ever customer service expectations and the increasing cost of using commercial carriers.


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