The online news magazine of Atlas® World Group.
April 17, 2016

Hybrid Thinking Opens Booking Opportunities

  • Logistics
Logistics Shipping Items in bubble wrap and shrink wrap

Final mile service and LTL transportation may seem as compatible as oil and water. But Atlas Logistics is showing how the two can combine and open a new avenue of booking opportunities for Atlas Agents.

Call it hybrid thinking—seeing a familiar problem in a new way and using dissimilar ideas to solve it. Take the age-old conundrum of speed and service, for example. How do you meet the customer’s expectation for swift transit, yet ensure the right follow-through at delivery? 

“High-touch service is a must for shippers of special products,” says Chris Koehl, Director, Atlas Logistics. “However, customer expectations for transit time can make it impractical to only answer with Atlas equipment and PVOs.” 

The good news, says Chris, is Atlas Logistics has other options. Like combining a common carrier with skilled Atlas hands at origin and destination. This approach has opened up booking opportunities for Kevin McNamara, Manager, Certified Van Service of Connecticut, Inc. (0599). 

“I have a local customer who ships medical imaging equipment to destinations all over the country,” says Kevin. “I bid on every outbound shipment.” 

The machines leave the plant ready for transit, packed in tri-wall boxes and mounted on skids. Although they are “LTL ready,” they require destination services: timed, inside delivery; unpacking; and debris removal. Which is where the hybrid thinking comes into play. 

As Kevin’s crew picks up the equipment from the manufacturer, Atlas Logistics sources the best available carrier for the needed traffic lane. When the carrier arrives at the Certified warehouse, Kevin’s crew oversees the loading. At destination, an Atlas agent receives the goods, checks for damage, then takes responsibility for putting the equipment safely in the hands of the installers. 

“Timing the delivery is essential,” says Chris. “It prevents needless downtime for the installation crew.” 

This hybrid thinking offers shorter transit times than can be achieved with Atlas equipment exclusively. A shipment to Dallas, for example, takes three to four days instead of eight to ten. 

This kind of efficiency has meant more business for Kevin. “I booked 212 shipments last year using this service model. I could not have serviced the vast majority of those in the time frame the account gave us if I had used Atlas equipment alone.

The Gang’s All Here

In construction, the project toolbox is an important investment, the hub for productivity. Skilled trades depend on it—work can’t take place without it. 

Moving this item quickly and securely from one project to the next is essential. So Atlas Logistics is now using the Final Mile/LTL hybrid model to do just that. The customer: a construction firm that builds and remodels retail stores all over the country. 

“Gang boxes are often located deep inside a mall or a large store, requiring an extended carry to the truck for loading,” says Chris. “These boxes can weigh a half-ton each, requiring special dollying and navigation just to get them to the truck. Typical LTL service is won't do this.” 

But this kind of scenario makes perfect sense for Atlas Logistics. A crew provides that needed extra service at origin to make sure the gang box gets onto the truck and ready for transport. Atlas Logistics finds the right common carrier to provide the distance service and arranges delivery to an Atlas agent at destination. 

“We’ll handle the first and final miles, and connect the right piece in the middle to deliver a swift and efficient service package,” says Chris. “It works for us, our agents, and our customers. And it leads to opportunities for more shipments.”