Shaun Rothwell, Founder & CEOThe disruption posed by the rise of e-commerce has been unprecedented in the retail industry. A transformed landscape of customer expectations has created fresh challenges for players in the space—and incredible reward for those who are equipped to exceed them. Many of these challenges surround small-parcel logistics, as omnichannel and e-tail merchants cope with overwhelming consumer desire for faster delivery speed and reliability. Shipping is no longer simply a tertiary requirement of retail, but an integral, value-add aspect of the customer experience.
The challenges posed by the rapid shift in consumer tastes are compounded by an increasingly complex small-parcel carrier market. Few industries find themselves at the mercy of a duopoly for such a significant share of their operating expenses, making the exorbitant rate and surcharge increases consistently implemented by UPS and FedEx particularly threatening. iDrive Logistics’ pioneering carrier cost-model approach to contract optimization partnered with a proprietary business intelligence (BI) platform provides a solution to this challenge, helping shippers across all verticals exceed customer expectations with the greatest cost-efficiency. “We are able to bridge the gap between the customer’s expectation of receiving the product quickly and the company’s desire for enhanced profitability,” states Shaun Rothwell, Founder, and CEO of iDrive.
The keystone of iDrive’s consultancy is found in their exceedingly robust BI platform, a web-based solution providing unparalleled insight into logistics operations. The software assists in identifying solutions to both internal and external pain points, while ensuring that iDrive clients are billed accurately by the carriers. Oftentimes, the lion’s share of the cost reduction attributable to BI is found in internal process improvement, as the software provides actionable insights that can be used to drive down costs and increase delivery performance. Recently, an iDrive client embarked on a major marketing campaign in several metropolitan areas. The ROI on the campaign resulted in a significant order volume increase—and the discovery of significant carrier underperformance in one of the markets. Spurred by the information provided by BI, the e-tailer was able to allocate a volume to a different carrier to vastly improve the delivery experience and customer retention. “The business intelligence software often provides extensive assistance in building future growth plans for e-tailers,” explains Rothwell. “This success story is no aberration.”
Touted as the “Difference Maker”, contract optimization is a critical solution for shippers routinely buffeted by exorbitant, complex carrier rate increases. Most of iDrive’s competitors utilize benchmarks to perform contract optimization; this approach is woefully inadequate when considering the myriad differences in characteristics from shipper to shipper. By reverse-engineering existing FedEx and UPS cost models to suit the specific client distribution model, iDrive is able to drive down contractual rates while respecting the carrier’s profitability and the relationship between client and carrier. “This becomes a tremendous win-win for both the shipper and carrier when we perform contract optimization, as we are not simply playing whack-a-mole with a benchmark.
We are able to bridge the gap between the customer’s expectation of receiving the product quickly and the company’s desire for enhanced profitability
Instead, our involvement tends to improve the relationship, as the needs of both the customer and vendor are met,” says Rothwell.
One of the largest hurdles to small-parcel success enters when a shipper experiences trend changes. This was experienced by a medical device manufacturer and iDrive client when they launched a new product line. iDrive gathered six months of package data from the manufacturer, whose new product had substantially different cost drivers than their previous lines. When the analysis was complete, it was determined that the new product line was better served by USPS Priority Mail due to the characteristics profile. With 30 percent of the total volume allocated to the USPS and a renegotiated contract with the legacy carrier for the remaining 70 percent, overall spend was decreased by 18 percent.
Another industry-leading product offered by iDrive is ShipCaddie, a web-based small-parcel TMS software. Frustrated by the extant offerings in the market, Rothwell and his CTO, Ben Miller, set out to build a transformative solution. Characterized by prescient features and a commitment to exceedingly responsive customer service, ShipCaddie has continued to innovate. One of these innovations was the introduction of business rules, whose logic allows substantial fulfillment automation. Depending on the SKU(s), distance, and value among other selections, the warehouse staff is no longer tasked with deciding how to meet service speed requirements at the greatest cost-efficiency. This has the effect of minimizing errors, as well as reducing operational and personnel expense.
iDrive has experienced rapid, sustainable growth over the past 11 years. Featured on the Inc. 500/5000 list in five of those years, the company looks forward to continuing to assist companies in navigating the increasingly complex small-parcel environment. Current R&D projects surround the use of blockchain technology as it relates to supply chain, and the company looks forward to employing this development to further their mission of maximizing operational and pricing efficiency for their clients. “While this development is expected to yield some of iDrive’s largest accomplishments, that is not the ultimate source of pride,” explains Rothwell.
“Our greatest accomplishment is the placing of outstanding, thought-leading individuals at every level of our company. The team we have assembled gives me great confidence that iDrive will be at the forefront of small-parcel supply chain innovation for decades to come,” concludes the CEO.