Global markets are now accessible to small and midsize businesses (SMBs). The biggest challenge SMBs face is resources or, more specifically, personnel. Most small firms simply can’t afford to have experienced shipping professionals on their payroll. In many cases, responsibility for shipping is added to another role.
Additionally, shipping on a smaller scale, such as one or two pallets a week, amplifies the cost when a delivery arrives late or damaged. SMBs simply can’t afford it, nor should they, says Barry Craver, Old Dominion vice president-business process and innovation.
Old Dominion works closely with SMBs, learning about their needs and priorities, to help them be more successful. Educating, teaching, and coaching SMBs to build a shipping solution right for their business is a big part of how Old Dominion operates, Craver says.
While Old Dominion is now a $4 billion publicly traded logistics powerhouse with more than 21,000 employees and 235 nationwide service centers, it, too, was once a mom-and-pop trucking company. It knows how important each and every delivery is to an SMB.
What truly sets Old Dominion apart isn’t its size or history, however, but its customer-first focus, on-time delivery rate of over 99 percent, and claims ratio below 0.3 percent. Those achievements are the direct result of how Old Dominion operates-;hiring the best in the business, building a culture of performance, and investing heavily in technology.
Incorporating advanced technologies, such as the internet of things (IoT), Old Dominion helps SMBs compete with larger competitors and win. Its industry-leading, on-time rate provides cost savings, improves shipper dock efficiency and inventory control, and enhances the SMBs’ reputation with customers, explains Craver. Claims-free deliveries help SMBs to grow through more shipments, more orders, and more shelf space, among other elements.
“Your ability to deliver your promise to your customers is what’s going to ultimately drive your growth,” Craver says.
Leveraging advanced technologies
Old Dominion has also moved away from heavy-duty “rugged” devices most carriers use in favor of the more advanced technology of smartphones to reduce operating costs and improve customer service. Drivers can take photos of freight as it is being delivered, access maps to find the best delivery routes, and use Bluetooth headset capability for safer communications. Overall, the technology contributes to improved efficiency and reliability. “We’ve always used technology to help us monitor and measure the movement of a shipment in our network so we could spot opportunities for improvement,” Craver says. “In the transportation logistics space, tracking and tracing are a big part of what we provide our customers,” he says.
And that’s where advanced technology is playing a role. With IoT, all pieces of the shipping process can be linked by technology. And as early as 2020, the proliferation of 5G will facilitate more granular information about delivery status. Thanks to time-stamping, customers can now see exactly where their shipment is, en route.
Taking into account all cost factors of the supply chain, Old Dominion is a value. Its deliveries are faster. Its service standards are higher and its performance superior, which is why more SMBs are turning to the company for shipping peace of mind.
“SMBs that come to Old Dominion find they get and retain more satisfied customers because their customer gets the service and the shipment when expected, on time and damage free,” Craver says.