Category Archives: Courier Services

How much would you like us to deliver it for?

There has been a lot of discussion about the cost of postage increasing. It costs a lot of money to deliver items and the Royal Mail can offset the costs as they have the volume in order to do that. I heard that it costs £36 to deliver a letter from Aberdeen to Southampton. All the other postal users subsidise the more expensive routes.

Over the past few years wages, pensions and fuel have all increased significantly. We can’t expect Royal Mail  (or any other business for that matter) to suck up all the expenses and not increase their prices. If you use the postal services you should have an understanding of the costs involved.

For example, I have just taken a phone call from a potential customer. He has an axle for a vehicle, it’s too heavy and too awkward for the postal service to take care of.  The job is 300 miles from collection to the end destination. The customer wants it collected at a certain time (evening) and delivered in the evening so he doesn’t have to take a day off of work.

How much do you think that would cost to deliver?

Well, our potential client thinks £40 is reasonable. Would you spend £100 in fuel, collect the item, store it overnight, deliver it to it’s end destination and make a loss of £60? That’s not including wages or insurances etc. No? But people expect transport to be cheap and they expect the mail service to be cheap but the truth is, the days of cheap transport are long gone.

People need to get realistic when it comes to pricing up deliveries.

If you wouldn’t drive 300 miles for £40 don’t expect your courier to do it. Ah, but I hear you say… Volume, you can send other things with the axle and that will make it viable. When a customer starts adding restrictions into play, then it becomes harder to add other items to the consignment. If you want evening collection and evening delivery, we’re happy to do it but it will be on our terms. If you are happy for it to be delivered any time then of course it will be a lot cheaper.

Think sensibly when it comes to getting your transport prices, if you do then you won’t be disappointed.

Kev

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3 ways in which your goods get damaged prior to delivery

It’s been a while since I have written about how things get damaged before they get to your doorstep.

I’ve mentioned numerous times throughout this blog that packaging is important when getting your goods delivered intact. If you put a heavy item into a box that isn’t very robust, you’ll be lucky to have a package left by the time it reaches you. It’s just basic physics…

Heavy item + weak box = goods broken in transit.

Quite often the items bounce around inside the packaging and come loose in the parcel delivery system. Robust packaging is the key.

The second way is by sending a substance or item through the parcel system that shouldn’t go through it.

We all know food, liquids and aerosols shouldn’t be sent via the postal system but that doesn’t stop people doing it. So, imagine this scenario… someone sends an aerosol through the postal system. It gets placed to that heavy item in a flimsy box. How long do you think it will be before the heavy item breaks through and damages the aerosol? That’s two items (minimum) that are damaged.

The third way is in the sorting warehouse. As I mention in the recentFedex deliver like this” href=”http://arrowlighthaulage.co.uk/arrowblog/2176/why-its-your-fault-fedex-deliver-like-this/”> Fedex post Nothing has changed since people got outraged about the first guy throwing parcels across the warehouse. The parcel companies pay minimum wage, they work their staff hard.

Yep, parcels get thrown around in the warehouse.

I always tell clients that their packaging is secure if it can be drop kicked over a fence and land unbroken. They think I am joking but the soon realise that I’m not.

Now a lot of this, no make that all of this, won’t happen if you use a same day delivery service. It’s an entirely different courier service to the type that’s cheap and cheerful. The key to goods arriving unbroken is to use the right type of courier service for your delivery.

If you want to discuss your needs then please give us a call on 0800 917 7084

Kev

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A couriers best friend is…

their sat nav, not their dog.

Duh!

It’s coming to that time of year that being based closed to Tilbury docks is a boon to our business. As soon as the sun starts to shine brightly other same day couriers start to behave crazily. The drivers start taking their clothes off, and the owner drivers start to take their dogs on their job as their companion when delivering. Yes, really.

Port rules state that dogs are not allowed along with children, so many an ad hoc courier is caught out. We are ideally situated to pic up the last-minute-last-minute work. All because other drivers think their best friend should go to work with them.

We do too. Think they should take their best friend, and any other animal they want. It’s not us who will be slowly roasting as we are turned away. Our best friend is the Tom Tom sat nav. It doesn’t restrict our entry to ports and it does make us aware of where we are meant to be going. There is something strangely reassuring about have it firmly ensconced on the dashboard.

Of course it works sunny and cloudy days unlike the dog who thinks rainy days are for hiding behind the sofa.

Knowing our industry inside and out means we can get the job done right the first time. No faffing about, freight straight on board.

Sarah

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How to get your freight delivered on time

Imagine a day where you are not dealing with late delivery complaints.

For us that is every day.

As providers of courier services we know how tough it is to get your freight delivered on time. We are fortunate though – we have a process that we are going to share with you and if you follow these steps your freight will always reach it’s destination intact and when it should.  The day you cease to have customers calling about late deliveries is now a few steps closer.

1. When a customer wants a delivery double check their location details

Sometimes a customer calls from one location (that you have on your database) but they want their pallets delivered to a different destination. They don’t tell you but they do tell the warehouse. This means when you schedule the delivery their isn’t enough time for subsequent deliveries because you are routing to the wrong delivery address. A quick check at the booking stage can save your business hours.

2. Manage your clients delivery expectations from the outset

If your client calls at 8am and want their pallets in Birmingham at 10am that is not a problem providing you are also in Birmingham. However if you are in Edinburgh or London you will not be able to get the pallets to their destination in 3 hours. Not even documents using a motorbike could get delivered in that time frame. If you manage your clients expectations openly and honestly then you will have less phone calls hassling you.

3. When outsourcing to a courier service check that they have all the customer details…

… and that those details are correct. Email the courier the correct delivery addresses, phone numbers and details of service areas (especially if they haven’t delivered for you before). If there are issues parking at the delivery destination tell them now. The better prepared they are the more likely they are to be on time with your consignments.

4. Named contacts

Inform your courier service of the person ordering the job at collection and delivery points. If the job is a “special” or “screamer” then sometimes the general warehouse staff are not aware of it. Make the loading and unloading process faster by providing points of contact with phone numbers. A good courier company will ask for these at the time of booking.

5. Documentation

Most hold-ups at collection points involve the documents traveling with your freight. Call the warehouse and prepare them in advance for urgent collections and make the office staff aware of that days deliveries and who is collecting them. Without the correct documents a warehouse won’t release the freight and this will make the delivery late. A few minutes here can save you an hour and you avoid paying waiting time.

If you run through the 5 steps every time you outsource a delivery you will rarely have a problem getting your freight delivered on time.

Sarah

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Delivering wedding gifts

Today’s blog is rather topical – delivering wedding gifts.

First congrats to Kate and William, we hope your day goes well and that your married lives  are filled with happiness.

Second, who is going to move all the gifts after the wedding?

In the case of the Royal wedding their will be staff on hand to pack the gifts up and transport them back to their new home. Their biggest problem is loading the vehicles safely so that items are not broken.

For not so affluent newlyweds  family help out and transport items back to their home. Again careful loading needs to take place.

If you have your gifts in a room at a hotel, be careful!

It has been known for a distracted receptionist to allow the wrong people in to collect the wedding gifts and for the gifts never to bee seen again! That’s no way to start a relationship.  Collecting gifts from a room in a hotel will always be precarious for just one person, the room is open, the vehicle is in the car park and it can take time to load and reload. Be vigilant and get help!

Larger wedding gifts can always be delivered direct to the bride and groom, along with any really valuable items.

Anyone need a Tiara delivering?

Kev

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5 Steps for Preparing Your Boat for Transport

With the rise in internet sales for items such as boats and jet skis, boat transport has become more commonplace in recent years. Often, the people who buy boats online live out of state or even out of the country, which means the vessel must be transported to its destination.

Selling your boat online to someone that wants it shipped to him or her can seem like a daunting task. How do you prepare a boat for transport?

In case you have found yourself in such a predicament, here are some tips to help you get started. Read these 5 steps for preparing your boat for transport:

1. Remove or stow all gear and secure it in place. If there is a cabin or storage compartment, lock or secure the door. All electronics, horns, antennas, anchors, propellers, flag masts, lights, anchor lights, outriggers, wheels, masts, windshields that protrude, etc., must be removed, packed securely and securely stored. Also, disconnect the battery and secure it in place.
2. Drain all fluids from the boat or jet ski, such as fuel from the fuel tank or water from the bilge, air conditioner, or water pumps.
3. Tie or tape hatches or cabin windows down from the outside. If there is a leak, seal it so that rainwater does not leak in during transit.
4. Remove the canvas cover so that it does not rip or tear during shipping.
5. Double-check that nothing that can be removed is protruding from the boat. The boat will normally be shrink-wrapped by the transport company for added protection, and protrusions can cause the shrink-wrap to tear.

Kev

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Same day courier via QR code

Ever since Sarah was asked to write a guest post about these back in January, she has been fascinated by the concept. Your data is held in a bar code like image.

Here’s ours:

 

 

 

 

 

It says what we do and has our phone number next to it.

Now to start adding them to the vans… it’s certainly a novel way of advertising our details!

Kevin

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Trouble shooting parcel couriers

Parcel Couriers can have a terrible reputation and today we find some of it is justified.

For our regular customers we use a third party parcel carrier to deliver the odd parcel that they have. This is a win/win for all of us as we get to look after all the delivery aspects, the customer gets a good price and the parcel carrier still gets the job.

If it goes wrong, the customer let’s us know and we chase the parcel carrier to see what the problem is and resolve it.

The first thing we have to do is find out where the parcel is, easy you may think but the parcel system is not set up to be easy; it’s set up to be fast – see a day in the life of a parcel.

We need to establish where in the “system” the parcel is, on Friday this took us 5 hours and we still didn’t get to find the parcel in question. This morning we did locate the parcel and it is on a van awaiting delivery.

When we asked the parcel delivery company why they didn’t locate the package sooner or deliver it (they sat on it for a week) their response left us speechless.

They said it was undelivered as they didn’t have a driver.

That’s our problem as we thought they were professional. They had lost our business once before and worked hard to get us back, now they have blown it again. Needless to say we are furious, our customer is unhappy but the parcel company is happy. In their small print they have the statistic that 90% of parcels are delivered the next day. They are still getting paid even though their abysmal service has cost everyone else in the chain.

90%? Great! But what happens when your parcel is one of the 10% not delivered?

If our parcel was still in the depot we would send one of our Nottingham based drivers to collect it then complete the delivery. We would make a substantial loss on that package that we could not recover from the customer or the parcel company. It doesn’t sit with our green company culture to do this, but we can honestly say that we did our best.

For your the customer, the one who deals directly with the parcel company life is tougher. It’s you who is losing hours on the phone chasing and tracking your package. It’s your business hours wasted which are billed out at a higher rate than what your package costs to send.

1 x package for national delivery = £12 +VAT

5 x £10 per hour for admin member to chase the problem = £50 + taxes and NI costs

Total = £62 + to send a parcel by a parcel company.

That’s an expensive parcel delivery whichever way you look at it.

For our parcel carrier their slapdash attitude has cost them our few thousand parcels per year, we have sourced a new provider that has a better grasp of customer service and promises 99% of parcels delivered. They cost a bit more than £12 a carton but they will be saving us £62 in wasted time.

Sarah

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Check your tyres – Drive safe this winter

October is tyre safety month, so if you do one thing this October it should be to check your tyres. This year so far there has been 4,300 successful prosecutions of people driving with dangerous tyres.

Where the rubber meets the road, you gain traction. The tyre ‘grips’ the road and needs as much tread as possible. It also needs to be inflated to the correct level as well. Check your vehicles handbook or Haynes Manual for what it should be. If you have an iPhone there is even an app that will help Tyre Pressure iPhone app

It’s one job that everyone with a vehicle can do, with ease (along with topping up your screenwash). See the video to the right (Sarah made me do it, I insisted on wearing the hat though. A small rebellion.

A tyre should have at least 1.6mm of depth, and it should be uniform all around the wheel. If you have uneven wear you will still need to replace the tyre – weaknesses can lead to blow outs and punctures. Baldness even in a small place can lead you to skidding all over the place, especially on a wet road.

Some garages are offering free tyre checks,  if you are unsure of what to do pop in and let them take a look.

Safer driving starts with vehicle checks, before you even get behind the wheel.

Take care this winter.

Kevin

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Blame it on the delivery guy – It all comes down to money

If you have a problem and next extra support or help for an item you have ordered, you tell them when you buy the item? Right?

Of course you do, a lot of people do this when they buy a large item, they inform the store of the problem (bad back, elderly parent signing, 300 flights of stairs) and if they are lucky, the shop makes note of this on the order form.

If they are lucky.

When your delivery van arrives, a guy starts to unload and you need help, you told them in the shop you needed help but the thing is – help costs money. You are left blaming the delivery guys for something they have no control over.

Deliveries are an expensive undertaking for many stores and warehouses, their biggest expenditure is staff, then the cost of transportation. In tougher times, staff cut backs are made and so are transportation cutbacks. Sometimes, the additional help request is passed on, more often it is not – it’s an extra cost and hey- they can blame it on the delivery man. It’s not the stores fault, the warehouses fault, it’s the delivery guys fault.

I was trying to explain this on facebook the other day, that as delivery people, we deliver what we are told and if we are asked for a two man team, then we provide that – that’s what will help your elderly parent get the goods in, or you with the bad back, or every person that lives at the top of 300 flights of stairs. Often what we are asked to do is deliver for a fixed price, regardless of the circumstances (square pegs and round holes?) and they rarely include a second person on delivery.

Partly this is the consumers fault, they are used to ‘cheap’ delivery but are not happy with what cheap delivery entails. We’re doing our best to educate everyone in the chain.

We also have the health and safety aspect, it was pointed out to me that delivery a pallet of goods would have been quicker for the delivery company if they had a two man team, well again, it comes down to money. The company booking the job doesn’t want to pay the going rate, they want a deal and that means something has to be cut, it has to be staff or fuel. If two people did the delivery that’s two days wages and double the delivery cost normally charged. It is cheaper for our customer to have one driver unload with their equipment, it may take a little longer but that is one set of wages less to pay.

So the delivery company will give the shop/warehouse several prices –

  • Two man team, dedicated delivery
  • Two man team, no fixed time
  • Delivery on a dedicated vehicle
  • Delivery on a specific schedule, a working driver

Guess which one is the cheapest? Did you say the last one? Given the choice of the 4 options, and the store knowing you have disabilities / no parking / no one home until lunch, they always go for the cheapest.

Trust me, in the 9 years we have been doing this, the only option they are interested in is the one that costs them the least, and regardless of what you say, as a customer you do baulk at paying a delivery price that is enough for every person in the chain to make a little money, including the delivery company.

Next time you are in a shop wondering why delivery costs are so high, remember, fuel, 2 men, no problems because when you have free delivery you have nothing but hassle, and everyone trying to cut their costs down. It sure makes it harder to deliver your goods how you would like them to be delivered.

Kevin

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