Managing couriers that work on behalf of your company isn’t simple. While you may have a busy warehouse at the back of the building, the office at the front is likely to keep humming with activities of its own.
A courier delivery service requires special talents to manage well. It’s certainly not something that is a perfect fit for all managers. If you’re currently struggling and looking for better ways to manage the situation, here are 6 suggestions to follow.
1. Ensure the Courier Insurance is Adequate
Courier insurance is a special type, and so it won’t be sufficient to have fleet coverage or another kind of insurance. Whether your couriers are driving a van to deliver larger products to customers, shops, or other suppliers, or they are on a motorcycle, there are many moving parts to this type of operation.
Certainly, when driving or riding as much as they do, couriers have a greater potential for road accidents than the average person who uses their car so little in comparison. This is where having exceptional courier insurance organised by a company like Quotezone.co.uk can help to assuage any fears about sufficient coverage.
2. Manage and Meet Delivery Expectations
Whether you’re delivering to a business or a consumer at home, people are typically always busy. For the individual, they may need time off work to wait for the package to be delivered by a courier. Businesses may require the item to sell it on to their customer or as materials or parts to use for their purposes. Any delivery delays can cause a corresponding knock-on delay for your customers.
It’s important to set realistic delivery expectations from the start. While we all want to offer faster delivery or to match a competitor with a larger courier team and deeper pockets, it’s also necessary to be realistic about the current capabilities. So, have a meeting of minds between the sales, customer service, and the courier logistics teams to ensure delivery times are being realistically set.
3. Use Software to Reduce Wasted Time
When drivers are taking multiple packages out for delivery, matching parcels to a defined route can save considerable time going back and forth. Even for smaller courier operations, using software to create the most efficient route and using parcel planning maximises the usefulness of every driver on the team.
Also, when changes are made to routes or updates are needed due to traffic alerts, the courier team manager must be able to reach the couriers whether they’re in a van or on a motorcycle. This way, they can be advised to drive around the upcoming road issues to avoid getting stuck in them.
4. Use Dashcam Footage to Assess Performance
While it’s still controversial, using bodycam footage to see what the drivers are doing when the vehicle has been parked for a long time can prove useful. Whether the cam is a dashcam or a bodycam is another decision. Not all customers will be happy to be recorded while delivery is taking place. But certainly, a dashcam is worthwhile to look into work performance issues.
Assessing driver routes, times to complete an individual delivery or route predictability using vehicle tracking and dashcam footage can confirm some major issues. These might include longer breaks than expected by the driver, taking a different route than planned without a good reason, or getting stuck in a traffic jam.
Deciding on what will be reasonable and what will be excessive for tracking and monitoring couriers is subject to discussion with those involved.
5. Work with Drivers to Get Better Results
Discuss with couriers to determine what issues are arising and how best to deal with them. Quite often, the couriers will have ideas on how to solve a repeating problem. When management is receptive to hearing them, they can get fast results.
Look at which drivers know different cities or parts of town better than others. Prioritise assigning them to those routes over whatever software may automatically assign. Do allow for drivers to build up knowledge of different places and routes, otherwise they won’t improve. Aim for on-time deliveries first and driver learning on-the-job second.
Are there bottlenecks that keep cropping up and aren’t being readily identified ahead of time? Could this have been avoided by using different information sources to find out earlier? Is an improved system required to catch these errors or to re-reroute drivers sooner when better information reports are received in real-time?
6. Don’t Be All Business, All the Time
Couriers are generally a jovial bunch. They don’t usually need regular pep talks. With that said, it’s not beneficial to be all business and never show a human side. People respond well to consideration and understanding. These sorts of things go a long way to keeping the morale of the team up.
A better delivery courier service is something that should always be considered a work in progress because the work is never done. However, when accepting a continuous improvement model, there are opportunities there too.