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Can delivery companies improve?

Posted by Marc Hendrix on 19/06/2017

How can ‘next-day’ delivery companies improve when they fail to deliver on-time?

All the main courier companies that offer next-day delivery services have a record of delivering more than 97% of their deliveries on-time. That’s pretty good but this figure hasn’t moved significantly in recent years.

The issue is with the deliveries that don’t get delivered on-time. There are a number of reasons why a delivery will miss its delivery schedule. The most common reasons why a delivery fails are the consignee (receiver) is not at home/work, the delivery driver cannot find the address, the driver fails to turn-up for work so the depot needs to distribute that route to other drivers or get an agency driver in who doesn’t know the route and won’t complete all the deliveries in time and finally the parcel did not reach the depot having missed the trailer leaving the collection depot (this is perhaps the rarest situation).

Once a delivery fails it can be difficult and frustrating to find-out why it failed and how to rearrange the delivery. Some couriers now have the facility to rearrange the delivery online. This is fine if tomorrow or a later date is OK. But when it fails to meet the delivery window and you’re at the address waiting then it’s a lot harder to get the parcel.

Here’s a recent example. One of the factories I outsourced a job to despatched the order using DPD a consignment for an address in London on a ‘next-day’ service. The factory booked the collection using the online facility using their account with DPD and entered my email address so I would be notified by email of the delivery window (a one hour slot). The collection from the factory was made as scheduled and the following morning I received an email stating when the parcel would be delivered. I duly forwarded this on to my customer so they would know when to expect it. When I look this job on I new it was had a short lead-time and a ‘no fail date’ delivery as they had an event the following day (Saturday). After the delivery window slot had passed my customer emailed me asking ‘where was the parcel’? No comes the tricky bit. I’m not the courier company’s customer, that’s the factory. So I have to contact the factory and ask them to find out what has happened to the delivery. They phone the call centre and the customer services operator has no more information than us and has trouble getting the depot on the phone. Once they explain to the depot manager that the delivery has failed it time slot the depot will try and contact the driver. If they manage to get the drive on his mobile he will often have left the area with a feeble excuse for not delivering. So the package comes back to the depot and is sent out for delivery the next day.

Drop-off centres are a boon and the ability for the customer to have the package delivered to a neighbour or left in a safe place helps. The main problem is the delay in communications. The drivers are under enormous time and financial pressure and that’s the defining issue for failed deliveries.

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