1. FedEx Pilot Warns Time Is Running Out
Capt. Chris Norman, FedEx pilot and Chair of the Air Line Pilots Association’s FedEx group, gave insight to the pilots union’s negotiations with the carrier in this opinion piece delivered to Supply Chain Dive.
Norman shared that promising progress was made in the negotiations (which opened in May of 2022) was made until December. Since then, he alleges FedEx has “refused to provide the compensation necessary for a ratifiable agreement.”
Norman outlined the steps necessary to enact a strike under the provisions of the Rail Labor Act, and that despite their best efforts to reach an agreement, they’re working through those processes.
Perhaps most importantly, Norman addressed FedEx’s efforts to lure business from UPS customers fearing a strike from their Teamsters Union. Norman warned that FedEx “will not be ready to handle an influx of volume until it gets the pilots back on its side.”
2. Walmart and Target Competing on Last-Mile Front
Two of the nation’s largest grocery chains are battling to dominate the last-mile in same day fulfillment. Walmart is expanding their Spark Driver platform, which matches drivers to local deliveries in an Uber-like experience. In FY 2023, Walmart tripled it’s number of pickup points from 5,000 to 15,000. With these expansions, Walmart says they can reach 84% of American households with the Spark platform.
Target is also investing heavily in last-mile fulfillment partnerships. In 2017, they acquired Shipt, a similar crowd-sourcing delivery platform, to expand their shop-and-deliver capabilities. The acquisition of Shipt allows Target more control over their customer’s experiences with delivery, which matches their customer experience-focused business and brand, compared to Spark’s scaling being a reflection of Walmart’s quantity-over-quality approach to retail.
Rapid local fulfillment presents a massive opportunity for both retailers. Walmart now generates $1 billion in such sales, and Target’s same-day services generated nearly $11 billion last year, roughly 10% of the company’s revenue.
3. Amazon Working to Reduce Grouped Delivery Problems
Amazon has launched a “Risk Aware Delivery” program to reduce potential delivery errors at grouped delivery stops. Currently, drivers are able to group all packages at “grouped stops,” such as an apartment complex with several packages to be delivered to, and mark them as delivered. This could lead drivers to miss specific delivery notes for individual packages, according to a company memo regarding the program.
The program uses previous delivery data to flag packages at risk of potential issues and prevent them from being part of a grouped stop. Amazon’s delivery app will notify drivers that certain locations can’t be part of the group delivery, and prompt them to follow the customer’s specific instructions.