The e-commerce landscape has witnessed a significant transformation over the past few years. In 2022 alone, e-commerce sales in the U.S. exceeded a staggering $1 trillion. This shift has prompted businesses of all types to reevaluate their distribution strategies to meet the ever-growing consumer demand for faster deliveries.
In a recent interview on FreightWaves' show 'The Stockout,' Ed Smith, Averitt's VP of Distribution and Fulfillment, shed light on the evolving trends in the industry. He emphasized the increasing importance of micro-fulfillment centers, which are strategically positioned near consumers to ensure quicker service and reduced transportation costs.
Averitt, with its rich history spanning over 50 years in freight transportation and supply chain management, recognized this need early on. About five years ago, the company began expanding its Distribution and Fulfillment network, enhancing its already robust supply chain solutions offerings, including less-than-truckload services.
"We’ve got the infrastructure in place to grab [your] goods off the port, bring them into the warehouse/distribution model, and send them wherever needed," Smith said
Another trend Smith touched upon in the interview is nearshoring and reshoring, which offers shippers more control over transportation and logistics costs by bringing the supply chain closer to home. Averitt stands out as a one-stop solution for shippers, providing a range of services to support the growth of manufacturing and assembly in North America, including Canada and Mexico cross-border transportation, drayage services and final-mile delivery.
On the topic of consumer spending, Smith noted the shift in patterns post-COVID. While there's a cautious approach to inventory levels in 2023 — especially with discretionary items — essential goods and small parcels continue to move seamlessly.
Looking to the future, Averitt is investing heavily in technology. Data-driven decisions, are at the forefront of the company's strategy to adapt to market changes and enhance customer experience as illustrated by the launch of Averitt ExactRate, a dynamic freight pricing solution. Smith believes that AI will play an even more significant role in understanding and reacting to rapidly changing markets in the months and years ahead.
For a deeper dive into the conversation and to hear more from Ed Smith, listen to the full interview here.