When The Home Depot announced its billion-dollar plan to reimagine its supply chain in 2018, it launched a “One Supply Chain” vision to streamline logistics, increase product velocity and reach the majority of its customers in two days or less. They started testing last-mile delivery in proof-of-concept trials with several leading delivery platforms. The objective was to test emerging delivery models to improve convenience and speed-to-market – key drivers of loyalty for DIY consumers – with the goal of shrinking delivery times from warehouses and stores to customer’s doors.
Ultimately, Roadie emerged on top, thanks to our exceptional on-time delivery performance and proven ability to scale crowdsourced delivery, not just in tier one markets, but in secondary cities and rural towns in between. Just a year after the pilot launched, the world’s largest home improvement retailer expanded same-day home improvement delivery with Roadie, reaching more than 300 cities by the end of 2018.
The Home Depot is committed to building the fastest, most efficient supply chain in home improvement and our customers have made it clear that same-day or next-day deliveries to their homes and job sites is a critical part of that. We’re investing to bring this level of service to 90 percent of the US population, and Roadie is a key partner for us in making this a reality.
Mark Holifield, EVP – The Home Depot Supply Chain
As a clear indicator of exactly how strategic the partnership had become, in February 2019 The Home Depot took an equity stake in Roadie, joining Roadie’s fully-subscribed Series C funding round. The path to a growing, longer-term business engagement was set.
Building for whatever comes next
Early on, The Home Depot recognized the strategic value of the crowdsourced model, and its potential as a step-function in elevating the customer experience and differentiating The Home Depot’s delivery capabilities from its competitors.
As consumer demand for faster and more flexible delivery options accelerated, The Home Depot began standing up more fulfillment warehouses, placing materials closer to consumers, and refining in-store processes to support fulfillment of eCommerce orders.
Throughout 2019, Roadie and The Home Depot continued to execute and learn from a methodical rollout of same-day delivery services to more and more stores. The companies never imagined how those efforts would (and wouldn’t) prepare them for a global pandemic that would soon grind much of the global supply chain to a halt.
An unprecedented challenge
On March 13, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the Novel Coronavirus a global pandemic. City after city announced shelter in place orders with retail stores forced to close. But consumers needed essential goods and cleaning supplies more than ever before. Ecommerce orders skyrocketed and home delivery became a lifeline for millions of consumers.
In a matter of weeks, The Home Depot’s same-day delivery demand jumped 500 percent. What had been a service of convenience weeks before was now essential. Deliveries of large and oversized SKUs jumped over 20 percent. In addition to essential goods; consumers needed tools and supplies for home repair projects. With so many people working from home, interest and willingness to take on DIY projects surged.
Roadie’s last-mile crowdsourced network had to flex up quickly across all of The Home Depot’s markets – major metros, smaller cities and rural towns in between. Expectations for quality and reliability were at an all-time high across literally tens of thousands of zip codes.
Crafting a successful solution, validating results
Early planning efforts, a desire to innovate, a clear vision of the short and long-term strategy, and the experience gained with the initial phased rollout of same-day service proved to be invaluable as The Home Depot and Roadie responded to these challenges. In a matter of just 2 weeks, same-day delivery was expanded to over 600 stores in March, followed by another 300 in April. By the end of the year, 1,300 store locations were serving their local communities with reliable, same-day delivery. Thanks to the integration completed a year before, same-day delivery became the go-to choice of many online shoppers, thanks to wide availability, free delivery options and the ability for customers to get live tracking on their smartphones, from the store right to their doorstep.
Proof was in performance. Even with more than a 500 percent increase in delivery volume, Roadie’s crowdsourced network demonstrated its agility and ability to quickly flex-up. Roadie grew its variable vehicle fleet by more than 30 percent. That ability to quickly ramp-up capacity, targeted to specific stores and regions, enabled The Home Depot to effectively manage constantly shifting demands that varied by state, region and local community.
Rapid, agile, scalable same-day delivery that improves the customer experience
Delivery of an ecommerce order is the last line of defense for a retailer’s brand. It has to be flawless. Roadie met the challenges of The Home Depot’s 2020 objectives. Over a two-month period, Roadie effectively flexed up capacity (at a predictable, incremental cost) to ensure sufficient service, expanding coverage more than five-fold to serve 1,300 stores nationwide.
Despite so many supply chain disruptions created by the pandemic, Roadie’s on-time performance for The Home Depot stayed consistently at or above 97 percent. In fact, Roadie demonstrated how well its service performs under pressure — the higher demand only fueled driver engagement and improved nearly every business metric for The Home Depot’s delivery program.
As the COVID-19 vaccine delivery gains traction, and more and more consumers get their shots, the unprecedented realities of the pandemic – and the unique demands placed on consumers and retailers – will start to subside. Yet many experts believe consumer behavior has changed permanently. The explosion of eCommerce ordering, and the demand for prompt home delivery, is here to stay.
Rapid, agile, scalable same-day delivery – one considered a nice to have convenience — has become an integral, essential element of a successful consumer buying experience. It’s made The Home Depot more resilient and able to perform in a time of great uncertainty. As we come out of the pandemic, it also demonstrates how The Home Depot has maintained a level of innovation, service integrity and responsiveness that speaks to the strength of its brand and its market leadership.