In the complex landscape of logistics, businesses are always on the lookout to optimize their shipping strategies for reliable and cost-effective delivery services. A mix of national, regional, and local carriers has become an indispensable approach. However, while there are remarkable benefits, certain challenges are also inherent.

The Benefits

Diversification is at the heart of this strategy. Having a variety of carriers is akin to a well-balanced investment portfolio — it mitigates the risks associated with dependency on a single entity. National carriers offer expansive networks and can handle a vast volume of parcels but often come with a hefty price tag and less flexibility.

On the other hand, regional and local carriers are typically more adaptable and cost friendly. They are agile in responding to market changes and provide specialized services tailored to specific customer needs, making the “last mile” delivery efficient — a crucial aspect as this final phase is often the most complicated and expensive.

The Challenges

However, managing multiple carriers is not without its hurdles. Operational complexity is a primary concern. Each carrier operates differently — from tracking to billing — making synchronization a significant challenge for businesses.

Quality consistency is another issue. Diversifying carriers may spread risk but ensuring consistent quality of service across all is essential. The service disparity requires continuous oversight to maintain customer service standards.

Volume commitment and the associated discounts can also be a challenge. Distributing order volume across carriers can sometimes mean missing out on volume discounts, causing shipping costs to rise.

Navigating the Challenges

The multifaceted benefits of a diverse carrier portfolio are substantial. However, even with great multi-carrier shipping software, the operational and volume challenges, coupled with the necessity for in-depth shipping strategy expertise, remain persistent hurdles for many businesses.

Operational complexity and volume challenges manifest in the intricacies of managing diverse carriers and the potential forfeiture of volume discounts. Even with multi-carrier software, the onus of devising and executing an efficient shipping strategy and ensuring the optimal selection of carriers based on volume still lies squarely with the retailer.

This is where comprehensive shipping solutions play a pivotal role. They are not only tailored to alleviate the operational burden but are also engineered to strategically navigate volume and expertise challenges. With automated processes, businesses can ensure each shipment is optimized for cost, efficiency, and delivery speed, irrespective of the carrier chosen.


A comprehensive shipping solution addresses these issues head-on. It streamlines operational processes, optimizes costs by leveraging collective volume, and ensures the selection of the most appropriate carrier for each shipment. Retailers are unburdened from complex operational protocols and the intricacies of mapping out an efficient shipping strategy. They are also insulated against the risk of losing volume discounts, enjoying the benefits of economies of scale without traditional worries of meeting individual carrier thresholds.

In the dynamic landscape of shipping, a blend of diversity, efficiency, and expertise is vital. Thus, exploring innovative and comprehensive solutions becomes essential for businesses aiming to achieve sustainable growth and customer satisfaction.

Scott Riddle is Chief Operating Officer at FirstMile, a trailblazing company in the e-commerce shipping industry. He boasts a proven track record of driving extraordinary results and building nationally recognized teams in the transportation and logistics space. With robust operational, sales, and financial expertise, Scott excels at transforming challenges into strategic assets. At FirstMile, he leverages his extensive experience, spanning from air forwarding to e-commerce fulfillment, to foster the company's rapid growth and adeptly meet the nuanced needs of a demanding e-commerce clientele. FirstMile is renowned for innovating tailored, efficient shipping solutions that drive value for diverse e-commerce businesses.