Mark Fitzjohn on how the Exchange is making a difference to the Royal Mail’s Courier Services team
“Providing an industry-leading Same Day Courier Service – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year – is not easy. The market is fast moving, highly competitive and exceptionally demanding, due to the growing online presence of retailers, and the changing dynamics of B2B commerce. Our same day business has always worked hard to overcome these challenges by listening to our customers. Our marketing slogan ‘Fast, Reliable, Now,’ sums up in three words what it is that they want, and we aim to pick-up 98 percent of collections within the hour.
However, with demand for our services at record levels, we have found recently that our large fleet of Royal Mail subcontractors are at full capacity. Secondly, the industry has become crowded and in some areas – but by no means all – rates have been squeezed.
To stay ahead of our rivals, we’ve incorporated Courier and Haulage Exchange – the UK’s leading freight exchange platforms – into our freight operations. The platforms are proving invaluable to our service team, who look after our same day customers. In one swoop, it has enabled us to meet our customer’s extra capacity demands and, most importantly, gives them the option of a cheaper same-day despatch service.
Our eight operational staff have had access to the Exchange for just over two months now, and during that time they’ve used the platform to post around 250 loads on the Exchange. But this is just the start. With 7.5 tonne trucks in great demand, we also hope to use the platform to boost haulage capacity too.
At the moment, our despatchers are using it during standard business hours, but in the future, we expect that staff serving our overnight customers will have access to CX and HX too, which will no doubt ratchet up our presence on the platform considerably.
I think the best thing about the Exchange is that is gives us and our customers a little more control over pricing. Nine times out of ten, HX will generate a cheaper price for a load than we can offer. Our customers have also been impressed by the high standards of service delivered by Exchange members, which is maintained by regular real-time feedback and delivered to drivers on a job-by job basis.
While it’s Royal Mail policy not to provide feedback to drivers, when a customer calls us and asks us to find them an HX member to carry their load, we always review a driver’s feedback in the first instance. Only, when we’re confident that the we’ve found a driver who will deliver the consignment in a timely and professional manner, do we take price into account. And as the platform always ensures that the customer receives a competitive price for the job, more often than not, they end up paying less for the journey.
Technology is key too. To be honest, as we haven’t been using HX for long, we’ve not been fully utilising all of the features. However, we find the live tracking software, which lets us track HX couriers and post updates to customers, the most useful technology. As we begin to use HX more extensively, I have no doubt that we’ll use features such as Quote Manager – which manages the whole booking process online rather than by phone – to help us boost efficiency and productivity.
Finally, while meeting pricing and capacity demands were our main reasons for subscribing to the CX and HX platforms, as a national parcel delivery provider, we also recognise the importance of operating a sustainable freight model. We believe that in the future – with emissions reduction such a hot topic right now freight exchanges platforms – which cut empty miles – can play a part in helping us and our customers lower their carbon footprint.”
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