David Ward-Webster, Key accounts administrator at Parcelhub, offers some valuable insight into how small businesses and large retailers alike can strengthen their delivery management through flexible courier consolidation:
Christmas 2014 was a turbulent time for courier and retailer alike, the weaknesses in UK courier networks uncovered, leaving many sellers under-prepared for the difficulties that followed.
In contrast, the main strengths of Parcelhub and other multiple carrier systems shone through. Flexibility and adaptability have long been our service’s greatest assets. Businesses using our software with more than one courier at their disposal found they had the option to sidestep many of the issues that plagued the industry throughout December. All those with their eggs in one basket were left fighting for the limited space in an industry whose networks were already spread thin.
Flexibility is not the only benefit to arise from using a courier consolidation company like Parcelhub; many of the other added extras can significantly help with the daily tasks involved in sending and monitoring your parcels. Obviously there are the savings offered. Varying depending on volumes, Parcelhub’s savings are easily 20% on typical ad-hoc shipping, and can be greater with large parcel volumes. Some third party service suppliers can also negotiate reduced surcharge rates, or even have them nullified all together.
Having multiple courier options, provided you have chosen wisely, can reduce those pesky surcharges that pop up as well. Exploiting different zone boundaries, or even having an option that offered a slower transit time as opposed to an additional fee, can really save the pennies and pounds. The same applies to juggling maximum weight and length limits. If you select the right service, a saving of 60% is not uncommon.
Increased customer service facilities are another feature of any good parcel consolidation company. A survey of more than 10,000 people by Which? (conducted in 2014) found that 26% reported issues with their parcels; late deliveries, undelivered goods, address issues etc. That is a large number of queries to juggle alongside your regular business.
Courier consolidation companies have the infrastructure and experience to deal with these issues quickly and effectively. Parcelhub employs 14 customer service staff to handle customer issues and where possible prevent problems from arising, so handing over these issues to a customer service team can save you time that you can direct to other tasks.
Having a dedicated customer service team also leads to courier consolidation companies having a deeper, more robust understanding of the couriers’ protocols, much more than anyone could hope to achieve on their own. And a by-product of this close working relationship gives faster and more effective results, and in many cases parcels can be stopped from being unnecessarily returned resulting in further savings.
Then there is the perk of working with people who handle claims queries, invoice disputes and late/failed collections all day every day. No more bouncing between departments trying to find the phantom claims department, or looking for someone to decrypt terms and conditions. The company you partner with will want you to be happy with the service you are getting, which means helping you with any issue you have and spelling out what you need to do.
Finally there is strength in numbers. Being a single seller with 10,000 parcels annually doesn’t carry the weight of a business seeing over 4 million parcels passing through its accounts.
The benefits of courier consolidation companies are abundant, and with online shopping set to topple £52 billion in 2015 (Centre for Retail Research) the potential time and money saved is more than worth considering.