At what point does a business end up spending too much on couriers? If you reckon you’re over-spending on courier services, you could be right, explains transport and logisitics management expert Walter Scremin.
Engaging couriers for sporadic or one-off deliveries is fine. But a business that has a regular or substantial delivery requirement should possibly be looking for an alternative service that is cheaper, more strategic and offers better customer service than your average courier.
On a cost-per-delivery basis, couriers are an expensive option if the need is regular, urgent or used for large quantities. Couriers are also often unreliable, for a number of reasons including:
- The common practice of taking on other jobs on their route to your final destination (unless you’re paying a hefty surcharge for an express service) making a delivery time almost impossible to gauge.
- Some courier companies use a ‘hub and spoke’ system of delivery which means all goods travel back to their depot once picked up and then go out again in another vehicle to the final destination. The result of this could mean greater damages due to more handling and items being misplaced and therefore not delivered when they should be.
It is possible to have delivery services that have vehicles branded with your business, with dedicated driver/s in your uniform and at a rate that is competitive with couriers – but with more flexibility and more control over your deliveries.
Drivers get to know your key delivery routes and clientele – but most importantly it is not a fixed arrangement, allowing you the flexibility to scale your resources up or down as required. You have the flexibility to advise the driver as to how you want your deliveries done and the driver works solely for you therefore you have total control of the situation.
Use of GPS tracking enables efficient parcel delivery and better customer service, and is another area where you may improve on couriers.
Remember that for many organisations parcel delivery has become a key contact with the customer and one where you can make a real difference – wouldn’t it be great to exceed their customer service expectations?
With a courier, the customer service is out of your hands. You cannot guarantee a delivery time-frame. You cannot track delivery and you never know which driver will be assigned to the job. If a customer calls up asking when that parcel is due, you can’t tell them what time it is expected without calling the courier company and often being placed on hold.
If your courier costs are increasing then it’s time to crunch the numbers and consider solutions that simultaneously save costs while improving performance.
Walter Scremin is General Manager of Ontime Group.
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