Hackbarth Delivery talks marketplace challenges and innovative technology
Authored by SMC³ on February 17, 2020
Hackbarth Delivery Service, a certified woman-owned corporation and SmartWay partner, has been steadily growing since its humble beginnings in Mobile, Alabama, in 1975.
In the ensuing 44 years, Hackbarth expanded to 44 locations, now boasting more than 750 drivers and 200 employees. According to Hackbarth’s Sara Cummings, the growth has allowed the carrier to better provide customized logistics solutions and white glove offerings throughout a 12-state area spanning from Florida up to West Virginia, across to Texas and everywhere in between.
“Our exceptional customer service paired with our extensive industry knowledge is the perfect combination to surpass all set-forth expectations,” she said. “Hackbarth Delivery Service is on a mission to provide the highest level of customer service – employing technology to drive efficiency, optimization and complete visibility to all customers.”
The company currently delivers more than 100,000 packages a day across the Southeast, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions.
Kelly Picard, Hackbarth’s CEO, recently spoke with SMC³ about current challenges in the marketplace and how the company uses technology to solve these issues.
What are the biggest challenges and opportunities on the horizon for Hackbarth Delivery Service?
In terms of challenges, disruption is both a challenge and an opportunity. The way people buy goods and services has changed dramatically in the last five years. This presents challenges, such as figuring out how to get into gated neighborhoods or down narrow streets with trucks to make deliveries of large shipments such as playground sets or patio furniture. It also creates an opportunity for us to become better at handling more difficult shipments for our clients – specifically, the bulkier e-commerce shipments and residential white glove services we have targeted as an expansion vertical. Comparing 2018 to 2019, total revenue dollars from this market segment increased 67 percent, and our total overall revenue increased to over 18 percent. Disruption is happening on many fronts, so it’s not just how people are buying, but also factors in the labor market, auto liability insurance (major underwriters no longer provide commercial auto coverage), and, of course, technology.
How do you learn about these issues?
We learn about these challenges by being engaged with the industry. We have been providing white glove service in our appliance vertical since 2003, and we have seen how this segment has evolved. Some of the same characteristics apply to the broader LTL markets in trying to service their clients by providing this residential service, something at which the large LTL players historically were not very adept. Nevertheless, their customers want these services, so we have connected with some of the key providers in this segment and have also attended trade shows and industry events. We have been giving presentations on this topic for more than five years, but it has just been in the last 18-24 months that we have really seen these issues start to take off.
How does Hackbarth use technology to overcome those challenges?
We have to continuously create a better mousetrap. The pace of technological change is not slowing down. Customers want data, and they want it in real time. In the vertical mentioned above, this is where we have been able to add value and allow LTL providers to get real-time information to their customers. If you are going to play in the residential space, people have come to expect the “Uber experience,” where they can see exactly when their shipment is arriving. We have been doing in this is in our small-package vertical for almost 20 years. There have been significant changes since the days we first started using scanning technology to track packages and provide delivery data. In response to these expectations, we have created processes and, in many cases, have been a part of driving these customer expectations by creating a system that allows for this type of communication.
What value does Hackbarth leadership see in attending supply chain conferences? How often do you attend events?
We attend several conferences each year, in addition to customer- and vendor-hosted summits, and always learn something new. There are many strong relationships developed through our networking at these events, so we see a great deal of value. Our goals include developing new market segments, or our potential fit within one, and learning creative ways to apply any new ideas. Ultimately, if we have gained new business or customers that we can directly tie to attending, we can easily quantify these events to value.
What stands out to you about SMC³ events?
SMC³ provides a forum for learning with sessions on industry trends, what to watch, and regulatory issues. At the same time, it provides great networking opportunities, along with top-rate entertainment in nice venues.
Carriers across North America look to SMC³ for the right data, technology and expertise to make smarter business decisions. To learn more about SMC³’s solutions, visit the website here.