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Ryder System Inc. opened a facility in Caldwell, Idaho, as part of a strategic expansion of its last-mile network, the company announced May 17.
The Ryder Last Mile service is a customizable delivery solution for big-and-bulky goods.
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Caldwell, which is near Boise, was picked as the newest location within its network as part of a broader strategy to continually position customers using the service closer to their end-consumers.
“We have been looking at markets that we want to have a brick-and-mortar presence in, really over the last one to two years,” Thomas Regan, vice president of operations at Ryder Last Mile, told Transport Topics. “So, a lot of this has been in motion and it’s just finding the right market, with the right facility, with the right customer mix, at the right time.”
Ryder considers demographics, customer needs and the availability of facilities, much of which are trends that have shifted because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Caldwell multiclient facility is 70,000 square feet with room for expansion. It will serve the Boise area.
“It is a very fast-growing market,” Regan said. “We certainly have our lists of markets that are going through revitalizations and certainly on the tailwinds of COVID and just overall population shifts, as a byproduct of COVID, we’ve seen a lot of people move into markets that previously wouldn’t on paper been an attractive market for us.”
Ryder is confident the trends are here to stay despite being somewhat driven by the pandemic. The investments into new facilities and technology as part of the strategic expansion will help the company not only take advantage of current conditions but also will allow room for growth. Regan noted that a part of that is people becoming much more comfortable buying product through an omnichannel e-commerce environment.
“All the research that we have looked at over the last few years, even pre-pandemic, showed a very attractive secular trend on big and bulky activities through the e-comm channel,” Regan said. “I think COVID accelerated a lot of trends that were already pre-existing. I don’t think anybody knows how things are going to play out in the coming years. But the one constant that we look at is big and bulky following that traditional e-comm path of parcel.”
The strategic expansion is focused on areas that have growing population as well as high demand for e-commerce fulfillment of big-and-bulky goods. The Boise market had a lot of existing customers so when a favorable facility became available the company moved to secure it.
“We found a really great site and we’re excited to get that done,” Regan said. “If we see an attractive opportunity for a facility that makes sense, some markets may jump the line. Certainly, Boise fits that bill.”
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Ryder also opened a 100,000-square-foot multiclient warehouse in Smyrna, Tenn., back in February as part of strategic expansion. Both facilities provide quick access to highway and rail networks to increase speed-to-market.
“We had a customer that had some space available that we were able to partner with,” Regan said. “We frequently work those types of value adds with our customers where we’re sharing our real estate strategy and vice versa. And oftentimes we do give each other opportunities. So that was right place, right time. Nashville was on our list and we had a customer that had some space available.”
Regan added the company has also relocated or is in the process of relocating six existing markets into larger facilities. Sometimes double the space they were before. Regan described it as a dual plan strategy to make sure that the company has the right bandwidth in existing markets while also expanding into markets that are attractive for big and bulky operations.
“We’re not seeing a slowdown and we still feel even outside of our existing customer base that with the technology investments, we believe we have positioned ourselves as a best-in-class provider from a technology standpoint,” Regan said. “This is a very fragmented industry. The technology is expensive. Maintaining the technology is expensive and we have a very good model where we have invested wisely and it's paid dividends.”
The Ryder Last Mile network includes more than 100 additional locations that covers 95% of the country within a two-day time frame. The customizable delivery options encompass four tiers of service including front door, over the threshold, room of choice and white-glove delivery that covers assembly, hook-up and installation.
Ryder Supply Chain Solutions ranks No. 11 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America and No. 13 on the TT Top 100 logistics list.