It’s one of the trickiest parts of the supply chain: getting packages that last mile to a business or consumer. For Fleet Optics Inc., purpose-built technology has made these deliveries seamless.
The Mississauga, Ont.-based company was founded in 2015 by long-time friends John Mann and Vince Buckley, today its managing partners. Each had 30-plus years of experience in trucking and logistics when they were approached by a tire company looking to deliver its products in the Greater Toronto Area.
“We got the account, started Fleet Optics and hired 60 drivers that week,” recalls Mr. Mann.
The duo bootstrapped the startup’s expansion, investing heavily in tracking-and-analytics software and diversifying its customer base to gain traction year by year.
The rise of e-commerce increased demand for delivery and logistics solutions that focus on first-attempt delivery success, Mr. Mann says. Then the surge in digital sales in 2020 amid the onset of the pandemic further fuelled growth. “We shot off like a rocket,” Mr. Mann says.
Fleet Optics expanded to Montreal and Vancouver in 2020, Calgary and Edmonton in 2021, and is currently expanding into the Ontario regions east and west of Toronto. It has its sights set on Ottawa in 2023.
With 51 full-time staff and 500 delivery vans currently on the road in five major cities, Mr. Buckley says its package delivery is up 36 per cent this year over last. Revenues have grown from $17.5-million in 2018 to $52.8-million in 2021, and are projected to rise above $65-million in 2022.
The company’s technology sets it apart, Mr. Mann says, making deliveries more efficient and ensuring customer satisfaction. For example, a package recipient is notified of the precise time a drop will happen and can track the vehicle on an app.
The key is to get a package to its destination on the first attempt, he says, noting that Fleet Optics boasts a 99-per-cent success rate in that respect.
“If you have to go back out on a second delivery or third delivery, you don’t make money,” he explains – and the customer is not satisfied.
Fleet Optics has had a technology developer on staff since the start and now has an information technology team of six. They build in checks and balances to ensure addresses are correct, and they make the technology intuitive and streamlined to use, with new iterations ongoing.
“It’s never finished,” Mr. Buckley says.
The company involves its drivers in the process, trains them and pays them hourly rather than by the piece like some competitors, ensuring “they earn a living wage,” Mr. Mann says.
“Our people are motivated and happy and we’re committed to a culture of openness, respect and diversity.”
The approach is expected to continue to pay off: According to a Straits Research report, the global last-mile delivery market was valued at US$40.5-billion annually in 2021, and it is projected to reach US$123-billion a year by 2030, with an annual growth rate of more than 13 per cent.
The company’s goal is to continue expanding into more dense urban markets across Canada, Mr. Buckley says.
Fleet Optics has also launched an environmental, social and governance initiative at the request of clients looking to reduce their carbon footprint. For instance, it added seven electric vehicles to its fleet, while an e-bike has begun making deliveries in Vancouver’s downtown core, he adds.
“We’re always looking for new ways to improve our service and make life easier for people.”
Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio with Fleet Optics. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.