Have you ever wondered how a courier service works?
Tuesday, 5 September 2017 at 08:35
Courier services are used by a myriad of businesses and organizations, including doctors, lawyers, automotive repair shops and other offices and hospitals. A courier service can be lucrative if all of the vehicles are kept in good shape and prices are kept in line with gas prices and maintenance costs.
A courier service provides delivery services for businesses, and might have an account with a business, or it may have businesses call them "on the spot" for a one-time delivery. A business that uses a courier service frequently will usually set up an account with the courier service. The courier service will then bill the business according to the terms of the contract signed between the two entities.
Courier services generally have at least 3 or 4 drivers. When a call comes in, the job is assigned to the next available driver. If there is no driver available, the dispatcher will advise the business when the first driver will be available. The dispatcher will then call the driver closest to being done with his current job, and send him immediately on the new job.
A courier service sometimes hires employees who drive their own vehicles. The courier service then is generally not responsible for vehicle maintenance, but may give the employee extra money to go towards vehicle service. Independent couriers (who work as contractors) are always responsible for their own vehicle maintenance and gas, but they can charge a courier service accordingly.
No matter which way the courier service is set up, if it stays on top of employees and vehicle maintenance, it can be a very lucrative business. The money received from the business helps pay overhead, and what is left over goes into the capital account.
The Future Of The Courier Industry
Monday, 4 September 2017 at 10:03
Online retail has changed the courier industry significantly already but we're far from the end of this transition.
Unsurprisingly, online retail has had a hugely positive impact on the courier industry. When email threatened its very existence, online retail kicked into gear and drove significant volume and revenue.
Now, we may be about to see the favour repaid. Non-deliveries are a frustration for businesses and consumers alike and with several big companies making a play for more convenient options, it’s worth looking ahead and future-proofing your business to take advantage of the opportunities. Here are my predictions for the next five years.
1. Predict time slots become more precise
The eight to 12 time slot is destined to be a thing of the past. It’s not enough to give customers a four hour window to wait in for an item. Our courier service offers customers a one hour predict service that has halved our non-deliveries since we brought it in, but one hour will seem too long in five years.
Expect ten-minute windows, advanced warning if the product is behind schedule, and text alerts when the delivery is within five miles of your house. The technology is already there, it’s just a matter of time.
There’s an obvious benefit to consumers, but businesses stand to reap the rewards too. I’ve already mentioned the impact it has had on our non-deliveries, but this also had ramifications for customer service. If the customer is able to find out online exactly where the product is with a tracking service, they’ll be less anxious or angry about delays and consequently less inclined to complain, freeing up your staff to work on other business.
2. Predict time slots become more convenient
Consumers expect convenience and as companies continue to push down on prices, the delivery convenience will become a deciding factor. Along with more precise delivery times, couriers will also be expected to deliver in the evenings, before weekends and before long, the same day.
Logistically this won’t be easy to roll out nationally, but major cities will soon have access to commonly-bought items delivered on the day. This could also usher in the near-death of the high-street.
Online retailers will be subject to the same squeeze the grocery industry is currently under. At the moment courier vans up and down the country are shipping a huge amount of air. This is a no-brainer for all parties concerned, of course; reduced packaging costs less, generates less carbon from production and delivery, and allows for more products to be shipped at any one time.
Forward-thinking courier companies will also need to offer a recycling service whereby they can drop off a new item and at the same time recycle the waste materials from the customer. We’ve had a long-standing recycling scheme where we provide freepost boxes that allow customers to return goods to us that we then re-use or recycle.
4. Product packaging
Another battleground for companies will be making their products stand out. On-shelf and in-store you can understand the need for companies to have a real branded presence, but until now there hasn’t been any real incentive for online retailers brands to invest in making their products look great.
Now, as all shipping and deliveries become stronger there’ll be pressure to improve the quality of materials and labels and make opening the product an experience in itself. Anything from bespoke letters and personalised thank yous to well-written marketing material will be the next step to ensure customer loyalty when everyone else is able to match you on price and delivery times.
Our philosophy has always been to make it as easy as possible for our customers, whether that’s the initial purchase or the return process. But no matter what you provide collectplus makes it a whole lot easier, allowing customer to drop off a package to be returned to an online retailer at their local corner shop is very obviously appealing.
While, naturally, our priority would be to eliminate returns entirely, this is a great option that will make consumers’ lives much easier. My guess is that before long the service is a boast that will be proudly displayed on the homepages of the internet’s biggest retailers.
Switch To Electric Freight Vehicles Could Save London £900m By 2021
Friday, 1 September 2017 at 08:33
Switching 10% of London’s current truck and van fleet from diesel to electric by 2021 could save the capital £900m in reduced health impact and abatement costs, researchers have calculated.
Such a move would also shave 402 tonnes of NOx, 3.8 tonnes of particulate matter and 284,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas from the capital’s streets (see box below).
Professor John Polak, director of the Urban System Laboratory at Imperial College London, undertook research to assess the environmental impact of electric trucks.
This included direct results from the Frevue vehicles taking part in the trial, traffic modelling to assess future impact depending on electric freight vehicle uptake levels, and the resulting cost savings to be realised.
Polak’s research also looked at the wider social impact and attitudes towards electric freight vehicles.
He surveyed hundreds of participants from the eight Frevue partner cities: Amsterdam, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Milan, Oslo, Rotterdam and Stockholm.
This included feedback from drivers and fleet managers, through to end customers and infrastructure providers. Some key conclusions found that:
- Drivers found electric vehicles to be a positive experience, enjoying the instant power, quietness and simple operation.
- Only 15% of drivers reported any range anxiety, which was due in the main to a low state of charge at the end of their delivery routes and a reduction in performance during cold weather.
- Fleet managers found the electric vehicles integrated easily into existing depot routines, with good reliability reported for electric vans and improved reliability for larger electric trucks after an initial trial and error period.
- Around half of logistics firms surveyed said they have committed to more electric freight vehicles in the short-term due to positive experiences, however, 30% said there is no plan as “better products are needed”.
- Others planned to deploy more electric vehicles as part of a wider fleet decarbonisation strategy, looking at suitability of all alternative fuels, infrastructure, financial incentives and policy.