Fulfillment and eCommerce Delivery Services

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Mark Huggan of Phantom Couriers in Vancouver. Vancouver's best, fastest growing courier service. And we're going to talk today about fulfillment, the last mile delivery stuff. That's been exploding with all this e-commerce stuff going on because of the pandemic. How are you doing Mark? 

Mark H: We're doing excellent. Thank you very much. How are you? 

Mark: Good. So fulfillment centres, fulfillment warehousing, delivering the last mile. How does all that work? 

Mark H: Well, it's called 3PLs, third party logistics. And so for instance, say you have a product and you had to import it from Asia and it comes in by container. And then, you know, it sits on the dock. It gets put on the truck, he gets take it to a fulfillment warehouse where they cross docket. So unstuff the container and say inside of it is like dishwashers, PPE equipment and I dunno, headphones. So obviously it's to get distributed into the warehouse and then as the eCom businesses that sell them, or so like a brick and mortar company that maybe is providing like safety equipment for hospitals and stuff.

 The order, then it needs to go out. The last mile. So what we do is we go down to the fulfillment warehouses, pick up a large order of stuff and start distributing it. So it might be going down to like the Portland Hotel Society and then a women's shelter and men's shelters on the downtown Eastside, or it might be going all out to elderly care centres and homes and things like that.

So we'll pick it up and we'll just run it all out in a route. And everybody gets their order pretty quick because they're waiting for it. It's a on time kind of crisis, right? We're waiting for containers to get destuffed. You know, customs brokerage is great. The EDI document is great. Everything's being imported quickly, but still, those hours that people are waiting for it. They're usually running out of supplies as we deliver. 

And then with any eCom companies, there's a lot of drop shipping that goes on. So say like the headphones I mentioned, like say maybe somebody who's got a drop shipping company and they've got a hundred clients that are waiting for their headphones, the waiting and waiting and waiting. And you really want to get them there soon so that they'll go back to your website and order something else that you're providing. So drop ship entrepreneurs are really good. And then on the reverse side, what works extremely well. So there's a lot of eCom entrepreneurs and drop ship guys that do other things as well, like say Shopify and Etsy kind of people.

They do a lot of shipping that gets out mail. So we'll do a run and pick it up from all these entrepreneurs. Take it down there, have it consolidated and onto a pallet and take it down to the United States underneath like one document import and then put it into the US postal service. So fulfillment works both ways and cross-docking is great because the warehouse is empty at night and needs to be filled up.

So we'll fill it up with things going export and then empty it out with things coming import. And it's huge. We, you really never think about it. Like all the Amazon stuff. It's exactly the same thing. It's all fulfillment of orders. It's decentralized, then it's centralized and then it's exported to the final mile.

And final mile shipping is what courier is all about. You know, it has to go from second to last place to the very last place. And that's where we come in. We take it to the very last place people get to enjoy their products. And so any fulfillment warehouse guys that are out there looking for more bodies, because so much is imported.

As you know, we don't manufacture a ton and on the West Coast here, we're an import community. So things that are coming in, we can get them exported pretty quick out to the customer. And it's the third party that's going to be happy because the fulfillment warehouse is not the customer. The customer is the person doing the importing and you know, they're biting their nails. They have to perform. 

So when they have a high performing courier company like Phantom and an excellent fulfillment warehouse, like any of them, like Evolution Fulfillment, for instance, or Shanker,  it's great. Just to go in there, pick it up and we have excellent EDI import to our website. So all you have to do is really download a spreadsheet. Boom. It's all there. No typing, no messing around. Once we set them up with the forum, all they have to do is export, import, drivers show up, packages get delivered. Proof of delivery is sent and it's sent to the importer, as well as CC to the fulfillment warehouse, if that's necessary. So it's completely transparent.

People are very satisfied. And it's a vertical we love and since we are Phantom, it's Phantom Couriers, but really we're Phantom Global Management. And 20 years ago when I incorporated, my vision was global management, not just doing local P and D. So this is really good for our import and export because that's how we're scaling is on the backs of our clients and the good work we provide. So it's a really fun, fun, vertical, and it's where we're going to scale the most. 

Mark: So this year, this might be a difficult question because I haven't kind of pre-prepared you, but how much do you think the growth has been in this area since the pandemic has hit? 

Mark H: Well, I can answer that. When I was just looking at a company snapshot of our biggest clients, traditionally, our biggest clients were law firms and engineering firms. And they were big, I mean, big enough to be proud of that. We were almost like super stoked. Like this is a massive client. We do a lot of deliveries for, and then suddenly the fulfillment just took off. And today Trey in our office was showing me some of the graphs and I was like, that's incredible. It's flipped the script.

The number one thing is like we talked about before is like wine for same day. And then the next one because of the volume is different. It comes in as containers come in, it is fulfillment warehouses. So since, you know, the wine store might do a hundred sales in a day and a fulfillment place might at 25.

So we measure them by the deliveries, but it could be a lot more, many more pieces than just twenty-five their cases in cases of it. And then our next vertical that's exploded. Is, there's no barrier to customers that don't have an account that just want to get something done. The eCom. So the, like the one time cash call credit card, you just call in or go on our website and just order that's the third largest vertical now.

And then after that, it goes straight up eCom, like manufacturers have contact lenses and glasses. So more commercial, like manufacturing and import like the Evolution Fulfillment. Those are really growing sectors. They will totally catch up and push away, like the retailers that are using us locally.

And it's a good one. I want to get more clients obviously. We do a really good job and nobody's ever had an issue. So if you've had an issue and you wonder why maybe we can come down and have a talk and we can show you the problem or talk about it and get you what you want. And then you're going to get what you need.

And that's where Phantom steps in. And that's where we're successful, is listening to the clients and finding out what the problem is. There are people don't have to waste valuable time doing the same thing over and over, like checking in with courier because they could be doing something else.

They can be, do something that's more productive for the company or they could just be taking it easy and being creative. And at that point, the companies will grow because you know, a relaxed, creative staff is the kind of stuff that will identify problems. But if you're under pressure, it sucks. So it helps out all over the place to just to have somebody you can depend on. That's where we come in. 

Mark: If you want a trusted button down, tight operation, doing all your deliveries for you, Phantom Couriers in Vancouver, (604) 899-5447. Or if you're outside of the greater Vancouver area, +1 844-899-5447. They deliver pretty much across BC into Alberta, into Ontario. So they'll look after you. Phantom Couriers, any package anywhere? 

Mark H: Phantom Couriers gets it there. 

Mark: Thanks Mark. 

Mark H: Thank you.