In a single day, Progistics Distribution delivers an astonishing 30,000 packages, including critical medical supplies, important business documents, industrial parts, and home goods. As one of the most innovative and efficient "Last Mile" providers in the nation, CEO Joel Ritch oversees facilities in 21 cities throughout the United States and Canada, all of which work around the clock to transport urgent and same-day shipments to their final destinations. With such a high volume of deliveries to manage, Ritch believes the continued success of the company lies in embracing new technologies and keeping his drivers in the most advanced and efficient vehicles available. After reviewing all of the delivery vans on the market, Ritch decided to purchase 150 Mercedes-Benz Metris vans to update his fleet. Here, he reveals why, as well as how he’s customized his Metris vans to satisfy the unique needs of Progistics Distribution and its many thousands of customers.
What gives Progistics Distribution the edge over other companies specializing in "Last Mile" delivery?
We are an incredibly sophisticated, technologically advanced company. Every aspect of the entire Progistics Distribution experience—including order entry, the work schedule, customer communication, and even visual contact with our drivers—is managed by new and forward-thinking technology and software.
The midsize Metris vans are more compact and nimble than larger vans like the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, but they still have nearly 200 cubic feet of cargo space. What made you think they were the right fit for Progistics Distribution?
We chose the Metris vans because of their reliability, efficiency, and technical superiority. They are the perfect size for transporting all of our smaller deliveries and packages. The Metris is the safest piece of equipment we found on the market. It’s also the most comfortable for the driver and offers the best gas mileage. In every aspect of what we were looking for, it had five stars. We placed our order for 150 vans months before they hit the market.
The Metris comes with features such as electromechanical steering, Crosswind Assist, Attention Assist®, Load-Adaptive Electronic Stability Program (ESP ®), among others. How have you found the Metris driving experience?
For the drivers, the Metris is a real joy because the vehicle handles incredibly well and is easy to park. It’s an ideal vehicle in the highly congested metropolitan areas in which we are making our deliveries. They’re also much easier to maneuver than our former vehicles. It’s a game-changing experience for us. People always like to drive a Mercedes-Benz, so to be able to work in a Mercedes-Benz and drive a Mercedes-Benz for a living is a nice opportunity!
The Metris offers endless possibilities for customization. How have you upfitted your van to suit your and your drivers’ needs?
These vehicles are technologically linked to our company via GPS. We have information about where the driver is at any given moment, the driver’s route, and his speed. We have backup cameras, a backup security system, and soon-to-be-installed real-time video cameras within all of the vans. Installing our own navigation units required that we change the location of the built-in power outlets, and Mercedes-Benz was incredibly helpful in making it all happen. They were remarkable to work with.
How do you see Progistics Distribution evolving in the coming years? How can you see the Metris meeting those needs?
Soon, our fleet will be composed entirely of commercial Mercedes-Benz vehicles. We will have the most cutting-edge, most advanced vans out there doing our deliveries. From a customer service perspective, they will allow us to have the most advanced information for our customers on the most reliable vehicle platform. From a safety perspective, we will have the most forward-thinking safety environment that you could have in this "Last Mile" space. I am extremely optimistic about the "Last Mile" industry and especially about the state-of-the-art resources available to maximize our efficiency.
Learn more about Progistics Distribution.