In our latest installment of Better Yet, Denise McCann spoke with Nate Endicott, SVP of Growth at Enveyo, and Josh Fredman, SVP at Better Trucks, to talk about how technology is a game-changer for shippers utilizing parcel services. They discussed the multicarrier movement, the dynamic between national and regional shippers, strike threats at the Big 2, and how continuous improvement factors into successful tech in this arena.

The ability to adjust on the fly can be the difference between sinking and swimming for shippers, especially when technology and logistics are involved. The last few years have shown us that the ability to be flexible and to pivot when necessary is crucial.

But how can shippers ensure their supply chain stays resilient through tough times and unexpected events? Denise McCann leads Nate Endicott and Josh Fredman through a candid conversation about the role data and tech plays in the ability to pivot, ways companies can adjust on the fly, and why they would need to.

Denise kicked off the conversation by asking Nate and Josh about how data and the impact it’s having on the parcel industry.

“He who has (data) is going to gain a competitive advantage and he who uses it, is going to win.”
- Nate Endicott, Enveyo
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Nate kicked off the conversation about data by stating just how important it is and that it means something different to everyone.

“It's not just about having data. How do you make it useful? How do you get accurate, complete, and timely data? I think the toughest spot right now that we see is it just sits in multiple places, whether that's your ERP, WMS, TMS, OMS, all the Frankensteins. IT data just sits everywhere and you've got to be able to leverage it. And when shippers and 3PLs need this data, they're typically needing it to be able to make better decisions faster,” said Nate.

“Data not only helps convert clients, but also helps create better transparency not only to the shipper but also to the end client. And that's really what folks crave today. I think that any data that we can get our hands on and make into usable, actionable information is really beneficial to everyone involved,” said Josh.

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“It’s about how can you provide transparency, how you can provide actionable information, but then how can you make it easier for the shipper to realize that opportunity?”
- Josh Fredman, Better Trucks

When Denise asked whether a big part of the challenge shippers face is data siloing and knowing what to do with that data once they have it, Josh and Nate both had great answers.

“I think that data is a big part of the issue in this industry,” said Josh.

“Think of a shipper, a retailer, manufacturer, distributor, someone that's got, especially on this last mile side, a ton of data. I think what they lack is maybe the actionable insights they're looking for, the answer they're looking for. Can this be done? They have archaic systems. It's hard to integrate new final mile providers. It's telling them it's going to take 16 to 32 weeks. They've got a current system that might be a 10-month integration to a carrier,” said Nate on the difficulties companies face in using data and tech effectively.

“It doesn't matter if it's a national carrier picking up at a dock or Better Trucks, we can still service a large percentage of where those packages need to go and make it easier for the client.”
- Josh Fredman, Better Trucks
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When Denise brought up the multicarrier movement, the unsettled nature of the current market played a big role in the discussion.

“We're constantly having conversations with retailers and anybody that's kind of fighting to figure out, ‘Hey, how do we win in this last mile space?’ I think it really is going to depend on a few things which I think we'll touch upon here briefly. But I think that the multicarrier piece is something that has been around obviously for many, many, many years. Regional guys way back when tried to all hub together and figure out, ‘Hey, can they go do this?’ and I think what you find is that, again, data and technology enter than can they really pull it off? Talk is cheap. And that's where I think in the next few months to even probably for the next year and a half with money softening and banks having a hard time keeping some of these guys afloat, it's going to come down where the proof is not in the pudding, it's in the eating,” said Nate.

Josh pointed out that on top of technology, the ability to offer a variety of services plays a role when shippers are looking for alternatives to the Big 2.

“One of the things that I think is also important aside from the technology and information piece is, really, what services do you offer? What problems can you solve for the shipper, for the client? Maybe that's parcel. Maybe that's parcel and something else. And so if there's an opportunity to be working with a shipping client, and solve many opportunities or many problems that they have, parcel might be part of it. Other parts of the supply chain might be, whether it's moving pallets around, moving other parts of freight around,” said Josh.

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“Talk is cheap. Money has gotten a lot of people a long way and spending other people's money is easy to do.”
- Nate Endicott, Enveyo

Denise leveraged her experience working with national carriers to bring up the dynamics between national and regional carriers stating, “Now with 26 years at one of the Big 2, I found that the barrier to entry could be mental actually,” meaning that shippers don’t take business elsewhere simply because national carriers are the most obvious option.

“In terms of technology, I actually think that we have a leg up on a lot of the national carriers. You might have heard in the news recently that FedEx just started doing proof of delivery photos at each delivery. We've been doing that since the beginning of Better Trucks. I think there's a big differentiation there. Transparency I think is very important,” said Josh.

“I think it comes down to just the service aspect,” was Nate’s response to the biggest dynamic between regional and national carriers.

“This highlights the need within the industry to diversify carriers.”
-Josh Fredman, Better Trucks, on labor woes at national carriers.
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When Denise asked what impact potential strikes at national carriers would have on the parcel industry, Josh and Nate had similar thoughts.

“We've been hearing from many different shippers that we've never had an opportunity to talk with previously because they're trying to figure out what type of opportunities there are if there's a strike. And so we're glad to have those conversations and we are hopeful that despite the fact if there's a strike or if there's not a strike, we'll have an opportunity to make inroads with those clients,” said Josh.

“Carrier diversification has always been talked about and it's one of those things people are like, yeah, there are options and we like what we have. They're now being kind of put in check. It's like checkmate, hey, here you go, push comes to shove if something happens, are you prepared?” said Nate.

“You need all the leverage you can get with UPS and FedEx. Having 10 to 13 mathematicians on their staff is not in your best interest. They're not looking out for you. Now they're great carriers and they've provided great service and they still will. But I think where the regional guys come into play right now around this potential UPS strike and FedEx on the pilot side, again, he who has data in the technology and wants to think outside the box to go do this better, to ship smarter, faster,” added Nate.

“A lot of folks think that if they give regionals a small piece of the pie, that they're going to lose their tiered discounts. And I think one of the opportunities is if you lose a tiered discount, but you've made up for it by the savings that you've generated using a regional, you're ahead of the game,” finished Josh.

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“It’s not just data, it’s giving them actionable insights, making it credible, making it mean something.”
- Nate Endicott, Enveyo

Denise brought up continuous improvement and the role that has played in both companies and in the industry.

“How do you continuously help shippers get better, smarter, faster, and deliver on their initiatives? We're constantly trying to improve. There's a lot of stuff that we're doing that's constantly moving forward. Enveyo actually means to send, to push forward, to move forward. So we're constantly trying, not just from a marketing side, but from a product side, how are we helping move the product forward to help our customers move the needle forward.” said Nate.

Denise then asked Josh about Better Trucks’ views on continuous improvement, pointing out that she’s seen that type of thinking from the company since its inception.

“I think it's continually trying to find ways to help clients solve their issues. And so whether that's from a partnership standpoint, whether that's from a service level standpoint, whether that's from a, hey, how can you help me get packages to areas that you don't serve today standpoint. It's a problem-solving type mindset that continuously drives value to a partnership,” said Josh.

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