Perspective: Dealing With Specialty Goods When Consumers Expect Overnight Delivery

This article first appeared in Transport Topics on July 29, 2019

By Adam Fields | Founder & CEO, ARTA

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Often overlooked in a thriving e-commerce landscape in which nearly any online order can arrive within days, is the reality that overnight delivery simply doesn’t apply to every type of good.

Today’s global supply chain for conveyable goods — small, lightweight items and shipments handled through traditional conveyance systems — is vibrant, but it doesn’t have a one-click solution for packing, shipping and delivering precious objects. Supply chains for goods like fine art; furniture and design; oversized, overweight or fragile objects are fragmented and lack technology innovation to help streamline the distribution process. Given the robust demand for purchasing nonconveyable goods online — items such as exercise equipment and designer furniture — there exists for capable logistics providers a significant market opportunity.

Shippers and carriers looking to capitalize on this trend should consider the following investments:

Air-Ride, Climate-Controlled Trucks: Large, expensive or fragile items can require specific types of trucks for safe transport. In some cases, goods in transport must be kept at a cool temperature. Or, due to fragility, goods must travel via truck with extra shock absorption.

Trained Technicians: Nonconveyable goods often require special installation, have complex assembly, or are simply too large or heavy for a consumer to unpack and situate on their own. Trained technicians can provide carriers with a competitive advantage in securing the transport and delivery of different types of nonconveyable goods.

Transport Tracking: It’s difficult to find a one-stop shop that provides end-to-end fulfillment of nonconveyables. The supply chain tends to be fragmented, with different providers servicing the first-mile, freight and last-mile components of the supply chain. Thus, consumers that are used to easy online tracking with a single confirmation number are unable to track these goods in similar fashion. The market is ripe for a technology solution that allows customers to track these goods while they are in transport across multiple carriers.

Documentation: Another area of inefficiency within specialty logistics is related to documentation management and billing. Common carriers have fully automated these two areas, but specialized providers have been slower to follow. Investing in easy solutions for storing, managing and organizing documents and automating payment can provide big returns for companies serving the nonconveyable market.

Agile Operations: Servicing this growing market doesn’t mean you have to be a big operation. These goods often require very specialized services. Find a niche and own it — being small and agile can be a win in this environment.

Many transportation vendors are primed to capitalize on the market for shipping specialized items. The key is to strike while the market is moving.