Trends in parcel delivery all small businesses need to be aware of

Parcel delivery continues to be a critical component for small and medium-sized business, with the potential to greatly enhance your customer service and profitability – or leave you with a massive headache.

It’s easy to over-spend on this area and under-service customers. Achieving a “goldilocks” situation where costs are contained, customer service strong, and everything is “just right”, is an ongoing challenge.

Delivery transport is experiencing rapid change and while some principles will never change – namely, the importance of delivering items in full, unbroken and on time – certain trends are emerging, with potential to greatly assist business.

What are some key trends to watch for 2020?

More focus on the customer

Research shows parcel delivery is becoming a more important part of customer service. Whether your business is B2C or B2B doesn’t really matter, as customer expectations are rising. The need for accuracy and reliability of service is critical no matter who your customer is.

Customers increasingly find poor customer service in parcel delivery a major turn-off. Interestingly, it’s not all about speed. A quick turnaround might be nice, but what’s really important is communication, reliability and accuracy. If you put customers at the centre of any decisions regarding parcel delivery in 2020 (and beyond) then you’re on the right path.

Increased digitalisation

We’re seeing improvements in digitalisation all the time, whether it’s the ability to track items or communicate directly with customers. Digitalisation not only makes you more efficient by helping with communication across the supply chain, it’s a potential customer service booster – customers just love being accurately informed about their deliveries.

Many small-to-medium-sized delivery fleets still fall short in digitalisation. At a minimum, you should consider digital tracking, communication to keep customers up-to-date, and proof of delivery systems.

Greater flexibility through “elastic logistics”

Flexibility is king in 2020 – elastic logistics refers to the ability to scale resources up or down at short notice, critical for being genuinely responsive to your customers (while controlling your costs).

Achieving a logistics solution which is “elastic” will involve an honest look at your delivery transport structures, suppliers, and technology solutions.

Improved supply chain visibility

this is an over-arching trend across logistics, and is essentially the ability to track goods across the supply chain. Digitalisation is making inroads here, but it’s difficult to achieve. Supply chains run across borders, often involving many different entities and moving parts, making full supply chain visibility a huge challenge. Progress is being made, with steps toward “real time” visibility, and this will remain a trend to watch in 2020 and beyond.

Walter Scremin, General Manager, Ontime Delivery Solutions

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