May 17, 2020

Opinion: On Time Delivery and Quality of Experience

Pol Sweeney
Supply Chain
Freddie Pierce
3 min
Parcel companies need to update technology, says Sweeney
Follow @SamJermy Follow @SupplyChainD Pól Sweeney, (Pictured), is Managing Director Europe and CTO ofAirclic, a company that supports the last...


Pól Sweeney, (Pictured), is Managing Director Europe and CTO of Airclic, a company that supports the last mile of the supply chain through cloud-based technology. In this two-part opinion article he outlines the brand erosion that is being caused by current inefficient delivery processes.

On Time Delivery and Quality of Experience

The huge rise in Internet based purchasing is forcing brands into growing reliance on the third party delivery marketplace. However, research suggests that approximately 12% of deliveries fail to attain the ‘1st time, on-time’ delivery mark, and the cost of this reaches £851m per annum in the UK alone. This level of performance is clearly inadequate and is also unsustainable. The industry needs to make serious changes and aim for the ‘perfect order’ success rates of 99.99%, provide transparent communication at every stage of the delivery process and proactively manage exceptions to transform the customer experience.  

Pol Sweeney, pictured

Damaging the Brand Experience

For any consumer or business waiting for an online order to be fulfilled the quality, timeliness and completeness of the delivery has a fundamental impact on customer perception.  For a brand entrusting its customer experience to a third party delivery company, there is little point competing on price or product quality if a bad experience caused by the delivery process deters the customer from buying on its site again.

Currently, research indicates most parcel delivery companies are achieving at best 90% successful first time deliveries. That means a huge number of parcels each day are undelivered as expected, damaged or, even worse, result in the dreaded 'collect at your nearest depot’ card.  In no way can this performance be described as world class. In reality it is not even acceptable.

These failed deliveries have a vastly detrimental impact – not just on the way in which the brand is perceived, but on its business operation. From a customer service perspective, how many calls does that prompt to the brand’s call centre? How much time are Transport & Logistics Managers then spending in tracking and chasing critical deliveries?  What is the cost of resending a faileddelivery – and who bears the realcost; the parcel company or the brand?

Furthermore, even those deliveries that are completed are rarely achieved with a slick, smooth customer experience. A text to inform a customer that the expected parcel is ‘out for delivery’ and should arrive sometime within ‘the next few days’, for example, does not constitute a quality experience. It adds no value to their world, or to the brand.

However, despite the recognised inadequacy in the last mile of the parcel delivery process, brands are more than ever reliant on parcel companies as consumers, and businesses, increasingly purchase online.

Come back and visit Supply Chain Digital tomorrow, when part two will explain the dated process and how companies can tackle this to ultimately provide a quality experience. For more information on Airclic, visit the website here: 

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Jun 8, 2021

DHL Claim Multi-Sector Collaboration Key to Fighting COVID

3 min
Global logistics leader DHL’s new white paper highlights what supply chain professionals have learned one year into the pandemic

Since January, global logistics leader DHL has distributed more than 200 million doses of the COVID vaccine to 120+ countries around the globe. While the US and UK recently rolled out immunisation plans to most citizens, countries with less developed infrastructure still desperately need more doses. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which currently has one of the highest per-capita immunisation rates, the government set up storage facilities to cover domestic and international demand. But storage, as we’ve learned, is little help if you can’t transport the goods.


This is where logistics leaders such as DHL make their impact. The company built over 50 new partnerships, bilateral and multilateral, to collaborate with pharmaceutical and private sector firms. With more than 350 DHL centres pressed into service, the group operated 9,000+ flights to ship the vaccine where it needed to go. 


Public-Private Partnerships

With new pandemic knowledge, DHL just released its “Revisiting Pandemic Resilience” white paper, which examined the role of logistics and supply chain companies in handling COVID-19. As Thomas Ellman, Head of Clinical Trials Logistics at DHL, said: “The past one year has highlighted the importance of logistics and supply chain management to manage the pandemic, ensure business continuity and protect public health. It has also shown us that together we are stronger”. 


Multisector partnerships, DHL said, enabled rapid, effective vaccine distribution. While international scientists developed a vaccine in record time—five times faster than any other vaccine in history—manufacturers ramped up production and logistics teams rolled out distribution three times faster than expected. When commercial routes faced backups, logistics operators worked with military officers to transport vaccines via helicopters and boats. 


In the UAE, the public-private HOPE Consortium distributed billions of COVID-19 doses to its civilians as well as other countries in need by partnering with commercial organisations such as DHL. For the first time, apropo for an unprecedented pandemic, logistics companies made strong connections with public health and government.


“While the race against the virus continues, leveraging the power of such collaborations and data analytics will be key”, said Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL and Head of DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. “We need to remain prepared for high patient and vaccine volumes, maintain logistics infrastructure and capacity, while planning for seasonal fluctuations by providing a stable and well-equipped platform for the years to come”. 


How Do We Sustain Immunisation? 

By the end of 2021, experts estimate that we need approximately 10 billion doses of vaccines—many of which will be shipped to areas of the world, such as India, South Africa, and Brazil, that lack significant infrastructure. This is perhaps the greatest divide between countries that have rolled out successful immunisation programmes and those that have not. As Busch noted, “the UAE’s significant investments in creating robust air, sea, and land infrastructure facilitated logistics and vaccine distribution, helping us keep supply chains resilient”. 


Neither is the novel coronavirus a one-time affair. If predictions hold, COVID will be similar to seasonal colds or the flu: here to stay. When fall comes around each year, governments will need to vaccinate the world as quickly as possible to ensure long-term immunisation against the virus. This time, logistics companies must be better prepared. 

Yet global immunisation, year after year, is no small order. To keep reinfection rates low and slow the spread of COVID, governments will likely need 7-9 billion annual doses of the vaccine to meet that mark. And if DHL’s white paper is any judge of success, multi-sector supply chain partnerships will set the gold standard.

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