Fulfillment is to last-mile delivery what Pippen was to Jordan — each needs the other to be successful. If on-time delivery over the last mile is like a clutch Jordan jumper in the fourth quarter, then fulfillment is like Pippen’s quietly steady presence through the first three quarters. Just as that clutch Jordan shot would never happen without Pippen helping keep the team in the game, last-mile delivery would never happen without fulfillment.
But many last-mile delivery services don’t have a Pippen. Plenty of companies boast massive last-mile delivery networks that can bring parcels from warehouse to doorstep within an hour, or a day, or whatever time frame the customer wants. But those capabilities are useless if they don’t have inventory to deliver.
Last-mile delivery provider Bringg is well aware of this. The Tel Aviv, Israel-based company is partnering with omnichannel fulfillment provider Blue Yonder to integrate the first, middle and last miles of logistics into one seamless platform, giving retailers and logistics operators more flexibility in optimizing what is delivered by whom, and when.
Bringg’s core platform focuses on orchestrating delivery for retailers. It lets brands know where the nearest store of inventory is, which driver should make the delivery and what delivery method is most efficient, from on-demand to scheduled.
Watch: Success in last mile delivery happens in the final 100 feet
Bringg also connects all of these functions so that the driver knows when to pick up the parcel, the retailer knows when it will be dropped off, and the operator knows when the order has been completed. The platform is helping smaller brands keep pace with the Amazons and Walmarts of the world, with their nationwide networks of warehouses and fulfillment centers.
But for as much as Bringg CEO Guy Bloch has touted the company’s last-mile services, he also recognized that his Jordan needed a Pippen.
“I can get the driver to the store in 10 minutes, but if the inventory is not there, then there is no 30-minute delivery,” Bloch told Modern Shipper. “And that’s where Blue Yonder comes in.”
The Arizona-based fulfillment company, which is owned by Panasonic, will bolster Bringg’s last-mile delivery service by supplementing it with industry-leading fulfillment capabilities. Blue Yonder was recognized as a leader in three Gartner Magic Quadrants for 2021 — warehouse management systems, transportation management systems and supply chain planning solutions — and its ability to keep inventories stocked will open up a world of possibilities for retailers.
“The combination of Blue Yonder, from the commerce cloud to the warehouse management and inventory management, to make sure that the inventory is ready in the frontline, ready to be delivered, combined with delivery orchestration gives brands the best of Bringg’s solutions,” Bloch explained. “And now they’re in control, from the shopping experience, to the fulfillment, all the way to the delivery and the customer experience.”
With greater control and visibility over inventories, brands can more reliably offer flexible delivery options to consumers with the knowledge that products are in stock. And according to Bloch, a partnership like this is the perfect way to take back some market share from Amazon and other superpowers.
“We naturally found ourselves in different opportunities where we understood that one plus one equals so much more than two,” he said. “So together, we can create a very positive synergistic relationship that will give so much more for the market.”
Last mile trials
Bringg and Blue Yonder’s partnership comes at a time when the last mile is more important than ever. Consumers today have been conditioned to want things at the speed of Prime and that poses a major obstacle to smaller brands.
“Consumers today expect everything to be convenient, fast, cost effective and reliable. They just want to go on a phone app, a website, and do a couple of clicks, regardless if it’s food or if it’s groceries or if it’s retail,” Bloch explained. “That’s a challenge for vendors, for brands … because they need to digitize and connect every component of not just the delivery but also the fulfillment.”
And if that weren’t enough of a challenge, the emerging COVID-19 omicron variant is forcing shoppers to stay home, but it hasn’t stopped them from shopping. Rather, they’re shopping from home, and they expect their purchases to be delivered straight to their doorsteps.
“Today I find myself and consumers find themselves wanting to avoid malls and shopping areas. The shopping experience of brands is brilliant today,” Bloch said. “The challenge is the delivery.”
Bringg has already helped dozens of brands solve that piece of the puzzle. This year, the platform partnered with Raymour & Flanigan to help the furniture retailer overhaul its supply chain. In just a few months, Bringg helped Raymour & Flanigan grow its delivery volume by 40%, increase the number of deliveries per truck by 30% and reduce late deliveries by 56%, all while posting an average customer satisfaction rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.
“Instead of taking a step back, they jumped all in and they realized, ‘We need to Uber-ize ourselves, we need to go through a digital transformation,’” Bloch said.
Raymour & Flanigan wasn’t alone; Bringg also worked with U.K. convenience store chain Co-Op to optimize the brand’s delivery service at the same time that it was electrifying its fleet of delivery vehicles. The result? A 25x increase in store coverage over just 12 months, despite a massive shakeup to its fleet.
“In their case, they realized that, ‘OK, we need to use our own drivers. But at the same time, our own drivers at certain times during the day or in certain locations in the U.K. might not be enough to fulfill the entire demand. So the supply that we have in some hours of the day or some locations will not be enough,’” Bloch recounted.
For him and Bringg, though, the job doesn’t end with delivery. Bloch emphasized his desire to turn Bringg into an open platform, through which customers can set their own configurations for how they want their delivery service to look. The only way to offer that level of flexibility is through reliable fulfillment, which is why the Blue Yonder partnership is so essential to the company’s mission.
“It’s our commitment to customers to make our product available in different ecosystems,” Bloch explained. “And Blue Yonder is just a great example of that.”