The current coronavirus crisis is causing mass disruption to businesses and industries worldwide, including courier services. Courier services are a huge global industry, with total revenue of over $300 billion per year, and over 580,000 courier businesses around the world employing more than four million people.
The impact of coronavirus means that worldwide restrictions are currently being placed on the delivery of goods. DHL reports that parcel shipments to certain countries in the world including China, Colombia, and Lebanon are not currently possible. However, postal and courier services have been classed by many governments, including the US, as a frontline service that must continue to run.
Additionally, the coronavirus crisis means there is also more pressure on the courier network than ever. With retailers around the world closing their brick and mortar stores, including the temporary closure of all the malls of the US’s largest mall owner, shoppers are being forced to shop online instead. In recent weeks, this surge in demand has seen the online retailer Amazon hiring more than a 100,000 new workers in the US, in an attempt to fulfil orders. DPD Ireland has also reported an 85% in sports equipment; 100% increase in pet accessories and food and 200% increase in electrical goods.
In this digital age, all courier businesses are affected and rely on technology, and this reliance is even more considerable during these unprecedented times.
In this article:
- What is a courier management system?
- How can management software help courier businesses?
- 3 more ways technology is helping couriers to deliver during the pandemic
What Is a Courier Management System?
A courier management system is a web-based service used to manage courier services. Courier management software supports end-to-end transportation needs and enables users to:
- Book delivery requests and manage scheduling
- Process company data
- Notify recipients of delivery status and times
- Track and direct drivers and packages in real-time with GPS
- How Can Management Software Help Courier Businesses?
With the current coronavirus outbreak, and increased pressure on courier services. The use of courier management software can help in the following ways:
For those running a courier business, prioritization needs to be given to optimizing dispatch, pick-up, and delivery processes. Management software can help achieve this by centralizing data and providing real-time information.
Courier software enables businesses and their drivers to use mobile devices to manage, store, and transfer delivery information. For example, reporting drop-off times or collecting customer signatures. This eliminates the paperwork that is otherwise required and helps to deliver services faster, which is particularly critical during this challenging time. Additionally, since all information is digitized, it’s less likely to get lost or become unreadable.
Automate and improve customer service
Depending on the management solution selected, access may be gained to a customer web portal. Customers can use this portal for self-service at any time of day. This access enables courier businesses to provide more consistent service and typically results in reduced customer calls.
Through these portals, customers can place orders, track progress, access account histories, and export order data. To make the process even smoother these portals can also be linked to a courier service website or a homepage widget. The coronavirus crisis has caused much uncertainty for customers around deliveries they may be wanting to send or waiting for. Being able to track the parcel’s progress is likely to help reduce potential queries, saving courier businesses valuable time.
Reduce administrative work
Courier management systems use digitization to reduce human error when it comes to data entry and possibly delivery, again helping to optimize capacity during these critical times. Such systems enable reports to be generated easily and to store or export them as needed. Since information is contained within a centralized system, manual work such as organizing customer records is reduced. These systems can also be used to automatically send out billing information or receipts via email.
3 More Ways Technology Is Helping Courier Services to Deliver During the Pandemic
Several technology innovations are offering further help to courier businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. Here are some of the most significant examples:
1. No Contact Delivery Options
To help reduce the spread of the coronavirus, many courier providers, such as DPD, are operating a contactless delivery option. In the case that the parcel recipient is present to receive the delivery, the driver will instead retain possession of the scanner and effectively sign on the customer’s behalf. To secure this method of delivery GPS coordinates are captured at the point where the parcel is scanned. Additionally, to reduce the need for contact, many courier services have encouraged individuals to have their deliveries sent to 24 hour pick-up locations, such as lockers, or to specify a location on their property where drivers can simply drop-off packages.
2. Route planning
With a rising volume of deliveries and an additional pressure on the network including drivers themselves being unwell for work, the pandemic has challenged courier services to serve the maximum number of customers possible in one journey. One way that this can be achieved is through route optimization software, which helps plan optimized routes with directions, and factors in critical elements such as weather, traffic, and the customers’ preferred delivery time. The use of such software can significantly help to make delivery drivers more efficient.
3. Consumer drone delivery
Pre-coronavirus deliveries by drones had primarily revolved around experimenting with the possibilities. According to The Independent, however, the drone delivery market has seen a “renewed interest in drone deliveries” since the coronavirus outbreak and is predicted to grow to $43 billion within the next four years. In China, the remote Anxin Archipelago, in the province of Guangdong, has recently benefitted from consumer drone deliveries courtesy of e-commerce company JD. Counter-virus measures in the region had meant that deliveries were becoming increasingly difficult, the use of drones to deliver goods meant these issues could be overcome.
In conclusion, the use of technology can help courier services become more efficient, flexible, and ultimately increase their capacity. This tech can range from more conventional solutions such as courier management systems and route optimization software to more innovative inventions such as deliveries by drone. With the current pandemic far from over, it's likely that courier services will continue to turn to technology to help them meet customer needs.