Schneider National Inc. recently rolled two new companies into its business service portfolio to help it meet the demand for delivery online orders of large products to businesses and consumers.

The trucking and logistics company announced Thursday it acquired Watkins & Shepard Trucking Inc. and Lodeso Inc., both of which service omnichannel retailers and manufacturers. Terms were not disclosed.

The acquisitions were driven by growing demand from retailers and other businesses as well as consumers for delivery of “over-dimensional” goods—meaning big, bulky and often heavy products like exercise equipment or riding mowers—that are increasingly ordered online, says Mark Rourke, Schneider’s chief operating officer and executive vice president. The purchases will increase the reach of Schneider’s Final Mile+ service, a customized delivery service that delivers furniture and other large items to corporate facilities and retailers as well as to consumers. Schneider’s customized services include delivering to business clients at particular times, with options for retailer clients to set up re-stocking plans to ensure they don’t run out of stock.

 

“Whether we’re talking with home improvement chains, big-box retailers or specialty retailers, e-commerce appears to be the biggest-growing part of everyone’s supply chain,” he says. Discussions with retailer customers often have e-commerce supply chain matters at the top of the agenda, and over-dimensional freight is a pain point, Rourke says.

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Green Bay, Wis.-based Schneider has annual revenue of $4 billion, operates 6.5 million square feet of warehouse space, and hauls more than 19,000 loads per day operating across North America and China, according to the company. Schneider’s services include long-haul, regional, expedited, dedicated, private fleet, specialty equipment, bulk intermodal, border crossing and transcontinental transportation. Clients include Amazon Business, No. 37 in the B2B E-Commerce 300; The Home Depot Inc. (No. 105); Lowe’s Cos. Inc. (No. 121) and more, Rourke says.

Watkins & Shepard, based in Montana, has more than 1,300 employees, of which nearly 800 are drivers based out of 20 terminals in the U.S. It offers truckload and less-than-truckload (LTL) delivery along with logistics services across North America for unwieldy goods, including furniture and floor coverings.

“We are facing a large increase in demand for our services, and that requires investment in people, equipment and facilities,” said Ray Kuntz, Watkins & Shepard CEO. “Schneider not only brings financial strength, they also understand transportation and the power of technology.”

Michigan-based Lodeso, with more than 50 employees and about 600 agents who assist in delivery tracking and other order-related tasks, specializes in delivery of heavy, oversized and difficult-to-handle products such as furniture and mattresses.

Proprietary technology developed by Lodeso manages the supply chain within the national home delivery industry, offering continuous delivery tracking so that delivery agents, retailers and consumers have access to the same information. “What we like about the Lodeso piece is there’s a single tracking number for the retailer, consumer and carrier. All three have the visibility of where the product is, all the way through the process,” Rourke says. “Shipping and delivery information no longer goes into a black hole. This gives visibility through milestones. It’s the Amazon effect and it’s what everyone expects now, whether it’s delivery of home exercise equipment of fish food.”

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Schneider CEO Chris Lofgren says, “We will continue to make significant investments to capture the full potential the combined companies now have to connect the first mile to the final mile.”

Read more here on InternetRetailer.com.

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