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Delayed and Damaged Goods Are On the Rise – Here’s How You Can Prevent Them

goods

Delayed and Damaged Goods Are On the Rise – Here’s How You Can Prevent Them

The coronavirus pandemic and multiple national lockdowns have seen online shopping skyrocket. Online sales as a percentage of retail sales rose by over 50% from February 2020 to April 2020, taking them to 30.2% of all UK retail sales. This percentage has increased further in the 2021 lockdown, reaching a new peak of 36.5% of sales.

With this huge rise in online shopping comes increased pressure on both B2B and B2C haulage and logistics providers. Direct-to-consumer shippers had more deliveries to complete than ever before, while business suppliers needed to keep up with higher stock demands.

This has been a mixed bag for the sector. Many businesses in sub-sectors including refrigerated food were able to grow as a result of higher consumer demands. But shocking RHA data from May 2020 showed the disparity between businesses. 73% of hauliers said their cash flow has significantly reduced, while 83% said their volume of work was lower as a result of lockdown. Across the sector, 46% of trucks were inactive and a quarter of drivers were furloughed.

Delivery issues affect customers and hauliers

Delivery problems also reached an all-time high, with 81% of consumers experiencing an issue with parcel deliveries between March and November 2020. Complaints to Citizens Advice about delivery issues trebled, with the charity’s data showing almost a third of consumers experienced a delay with their delivery. Citizens Advice also reported that 18% of people had lost money as a result of damaged or missing goods since the first lockdown, 40% of whom lost over £20.

Delayed, damaged, and missing goods have an impact on everyone involved. A Voxware study has shown 30% of consumers are less likely to shop with a vendor who hasn’t delivered on time. This has doubled from 15% in 2016, evidencing the increasingly high demands of consumers. If you lose a customer’s parcel, this can cost £5,300 per delivery. This dramatically impacts retailers who rely on haulage firms to deliver their goods, but it also spells bad news for hauliers.

B2B logistics providers may find that businesses that can’t maintain adequate stock levels will stop trading with them. Equally, B2C haulage providers are at risk of complaints from consumers, which may result in the business you provide services on behalf of ending their working relationship with you.

Preventing damaged, delayed, and lost goods from ruining your reputation

The consequences of delivering a poor customer delivery service are dire. In some cases, the loss of one key contract can see a haulage business go bust. Here are some top tips for keeping your end customers happy.

Implement tracking software

This is one of the best ways you can increase your customer satisfaction. 87% of consumers say tracking is important or very important to them when ordering an online delivery. This feature has become more widely accessible than ever before, meaning it’s not restricted to enterprise delivery businesses anymore.

Tracking software also gives you full visibility of your fleet, allowing you to identify existing or potential delays. If you can see one of your drivers is heading towards standstill traffic, you can easily divert their route to prevent a delayed delivery. These solutions provide you and your end customer with an estimated time of arrival (ETA) which will automatically update based on your driver’s journey. So, even in the event of a slightly delayed delivery, your customer will be kept in the loop, resulting in fewer calls and complaints to your back office.

Consider haulier-specific insurance

Many of the issues that cause delayed, damaged, or even lost goods are out of your control. In serious situations, your vehicles could break down or your goods could be stolen. Even under these circumstances, consumers are entitled to refunds. It seems unfair that you should pay these costs on top of things like fixing or replacing your vehicle. That’s where haulier-specific insurance can come in. By protecting your business with insurance, you can mitigate the cost of compensating customers.

Combining insurance with electronic proof of delivery software is another way you can protect your business. The sad truth is that hauliers can face false claims of damaged or lost goods. Without a robust proof of delivery solution in place, these claims can be difficult to fight against. Electronic PODs combined with insurance will allow you to refute any false claims and give your business financial protection.

Assess your fleet for any potential issues

There are a number of ways the goods you deliver can get damaged. Sudden movements when your vehicle is in transit can cause damages. Sometimes this is preventable – and telematics tracking can help instill better practices amongst your drivers. But other times, it’s unavoidable. The climate can also impact your deliveries by exposing your goods to damaging heat, moisture, or debris.

Examine your fleet to ensure they’re adequately equipped for the types of goods they’ll be transporting. If you transport refrigerated or frozen items, your truck needs to be in tip-top shape to make sure no sunlight creeps in and spoils the food. Equally, businesses transporting fragile goods should use packaging and pallets that adequately protect the items. Performing tests can also help you foresee any issues with your fleet that you might not identify with an inspection alone, helping keep your HGV load safe.

Online shopping and deliveries have hit an all-time high in the past year. Many surveys have also shown that consumers plan to continue shopping online after the pandemic. This increased demand means it’s more important than ever to deliver an outstanding customer experience, whether you’re delivering B2B or to consumers. Complaints about delivery services have also hit a new peak, and data shows customers won’t return to suppliers whose delivery service is poor. By taking these three easy steps, you can mitigate these risks and reap the rewards of the shift to online shopping.

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References

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/cymraeg/amdanom-ni/about-us1/media/press-releases/half-of-british-consumers-have-had-a-parcel-delivery-issue-since-first-march-lockdown/

https://logistics.org.uk/compliance-and-advice/water/long-guides/delays-in-delivery

http://websitemagazine.com/blog/the-impact-of-late-and-inaccurate-deliveries-on-customer-loyalty

https://www.hollingsworthllc.com/how-late-deliveries-impact-customer-retention/#:~:text=So%20how%20do%20late%20deliveries,customers%20in%20the%20first%20place).

https://www.voxware.com/press-releases/voxware-2020-shopping-shipping-survey/

transport business

What You Need to Know Before Starting a Transport and Logistics Business

It’s easy to break into the transport and logistics industry; the real challenge is maintaining a profitable business venture in a competitive environment. Aspiring business owners need to create a solid business plan, financing, and recruitment strategies before opening their doors to the public.

Whether you run a one-person business or operate 150 trucks, always be prepared for stiff competition. With that said, here’s what you need to know before starting a transport and logistics business:

Choose a Transport Niche

Choosing your niche means identifying your target audience and the service(s) you offer. Here are some of the categories of transport businesses you can choose from:

Personal transport. Companies that cater to individuals or small groups, like taxi companies or limousine rentals.

Local transport. Consumer goods, materials, livestock, and more fall under this category.

International transport. This refers to the transport of all categories but at a global scale. Companies that pick international transport usually offer air-based delivery or sea shipping.

Choose one niche and learn all you need to know about it. Suppose you’re not sure which niche to choose, research the supply and demand in your area. Identify a relevant problem or a need and formulate a solution. If you address a pressing issue, you’ll have a steady client base even before you open your business.

Consider the Expenses

Understanding your business’ finances increases your chances of success. For instance, you need to figure out how to fund your company. Are you planning to bootstrap? Apply for an unsecured business loan? Or ask for financial assistance from angel investors?

The Small Business Administration is a great resource for both small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. Before you apply for a loan, be sure to create a comprehensive business plan because many lenders ask to review your plan before approving your loan application.

You also need to consider the expenses associated with running a transport and logistics business, including fuel prices, maintenance costs, license and toll fees, insurance, and hiring and training fees. You might also want to invest in an enclosed parking space when your vehicles are off the road, as well as safety features like CCTV monitoring, alarms, dashcams, etc.

Charge the Appropriate Rate

The rate you charge determines the profit you’re going to make. It should be high enough to cover your expenses and make a profit. If you set your rate too high without a basis, you can lose potential customers to your competitors. This is why it’s important to understand your finances, calculate your expenses and conduct market research.

It’s also important to note that other companies provide the same services, not to mention competing with brokers with appealing offers. If you want to increase your price, be sure to offer added value that your customers will love, like expedited shipping or a tracking app.

Here are some of the factors you need to consider when determining the right rate:

-Type of goods transported

-Type of transportation

-Weight of the goods

-Shipping method used

-Distances and time

-Shipping routes

-Insurance

-Added value

Use Automated Tools

Thanks to today’s technological advancements, you don’t have to run your transport and logistics business manually. Every business owner knows how important it is to constantly improve transport management to stand out from the competition.

One of the ways to do so is to use a reliable internal knowledge base and transport management software. Good software allows business owners to keep all data related to transport operations in one area. It could also track shipment scheduling, including the cargo, driver, and fuel usage. This information allows business owners to save time, money, and effort.

Set a Budget

The costs of running a transport and logistics business depend on the niche you choose. For example, running a taxi company with three vehicles is cheaper than a large logistics fleet with 15 delivery vans. But regardless of the size of your company, you can plan for these expenses.

It’s important to set budget, goals and benchmarks, but here are some of the things you need to consider:

-The amount of revenue you need to maintain operations

-The amount of money you want to invest in advertising and marketing

-How much you spend on manpower, supplies, and equipment

-The amount of debt your business has in expenses and loans

What’s Next?

Running a transport and logistics business can definitely be profitable. Follow the tips mentioned above so you can enjoy a successful company amid stiff competition.

supply

Top 6 Supply Chain Startups to Watch Out for in 2021

Supply chain companies provide that critical network between companies and suppliers. It focuses on the production and distribution of products to the final buyers.

The chain is a combination of different factors. These include activities, people, resources, and information. There is a lot that goes into getting the final goods to the consumers. 

It includes the transformation of raw material into the final product. Some are in charge of transportation to the relevant points. Others work on distribution to ensure that it gets to the right people.

Startups have come up in the sector. They have fantastic solutions to increase efficiency in the processes. Our article will look at the top 6 supply chain startups to watch out for in 2021.

Supply Chain Startups to Keep a Close Eye On In 2021

In coming up with a list of startups, we spoke with a marketing agency for startups. One of the factors the agency advised we look out for is the level of innovation. The products or services should add efficiency to the processes. It also helps if they are in the business to improve the lives of the end consumers.

Hive

Hive is a German supply chain startup company that focuses on warehousing. Production companies need space for their products. It helps if it is close to consumers for faster fulfillment of orders. Warehousing can be a challenge, especially in larger cities.

For companies that have e-commerce shipping, a lack of warehousing can be a nightmare. Hive has stepped in to take care of this critical component. It provides shipping and storage, for e-commerce merchants. 

The company handles tasks like pickups, packaging, and shipping right from the warehouses. It also has linkages with popular e-commerce platforms like Woocommerce and Shopify.

Orbital Insight

Traceability is a critical component in supply chain management. Orbital Insight is a company that uses the latest technology for such purposes. Such include satellite, geofencing, and the use of data. Customers get an accurate picture of the processes.

It monitors from the very beginning to the end product. One of the biggest customers it has provided services to is Unilever. 

Palm oil is a major raw material for Unilever. But, there were stories about unethical practices around its procurement. Deforestation, for example, was a big concern. The company contracted orbital insights to investigate the claims.

Orbital insights have gone on to make significant inroads in its client portfolio. Such include corporations and government institutions. Customers are more demanding of sustainable practices requiring greater transparency in supply chains.

Upparel

Upparel changed its name from MANRAGS. What makes this Australian startup unique is the use of the recycled textile. The company places high emphasis on sustainable practices. 

They hope to make a difference in the world by using what others may consider useless textile. The results of the efforts have been quite significant if numbers are anything to go by. 

They managed to keep away 150,000 kilograms of textile from the landfills. The result is over 650,000 kg fewer greenhouse gases from the production processes. It has managed to achieve all this within nine months. 

Upparel bases all its operations in Melbourne. This is unique because most will send textile overseas for recycling. They have managed to get into a niche area that does not have too many competitors. 

The company’s CSR efforts are also noteworthy. They donate the bulk of their products to charities and other social enterprises.

Trackonomy

Trackonomy will be celebrating its fourth year in the market in 2021. The company provides end-to-end visibility from land, air, or sea for shipments. Customers get timely reports on any anomalies during the shipping. 

Such reports include anything that may interfere with the safe transportation of goods. It checks for tampering or attempts to open freight, facility, or trucks.

Trakonomy has its headquarters in Silicon Valley. It aims to provide cost-effective innovations. Their operations do not need workflow changes or any expensive infrastructure. 

All the processes are possible due to a fully-integrated platform. They use software, hardware, and data to drive operations.

Cobots Solutions

Think of a typical warehouse. There is constant movement and action. The workers are always transporting inventory from one place to another. It can be time-consuming and tedious.

Forward-thinking companies use technology to make such purchases simpler. These include the use of robots to reduce manual work. Cobots Solutions is a French company. Its area of focus is the development of collaborative robots.

One such product is their JAKA Zu series. The robot has unique features like remote programming and wireless connectivity. 

The robots can pick out 2D and 3D objects. They can also calculate distance, differentiate object colors, and pinpoint exact locations. 

Warehouses use robots for several applications. Such include packing, picking, placing, and palletizing. It will be interesting to see what more the company will do to make their robots smarter.

Navines

Every time you send a delivery to a customer, you say a silent prayer. You dread getting a call from the customer saying they did not receive the product. Missing or misplaced packages is a constant headache. 

It can have a considerable impact on the business and customer satisfaction. Tracking and tracing products from the warehouse to the final destination is critical.

Navines is a startup based in Israel. The company offers web-based solutions and carrier services for companies.

It uses a proprietary tool, the NAVINES Tracking engine for tracing and tracking. You will need the tracking number from your Transporter. Using the tool, you can get real-time updates on where the package is.

Final Thoughts

We have looked at the top six supply chain startups to watch out for in 2021. They bring innovation into the supply chain sector. Some companies use technology to provide solutions. 

The use of robots in warehouses, for example, cuts down on the time it would take to handle the different tasks. It brings in efficiency and cost-saving for the business owners. The ability to trace and track products ensures safe delivery. The result is happy, loyal customers. 

It will be interesting to see what these startups and many more have in store going forward.

delivery

HOW TO GAIN A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE IN THE BRAVE NEW DELIVERY WORLD

Ever since communities across the country began quarantining in early 2020, online shopping has become a way of life for many consumers. Faced with supply shortages and social distancing guidelines that restrict the number of consumers in a bricks-and-mortar store at any given time, online delivery services and online retailers such as Amazon are booming. But while these increases have been a boon to many online retailers, despite these sales increases, other, often-smaller retailers have struggled to provide satisfactory last-mile services to their customers. In an Amazon Prime world, many consumers expect fast, free (or low cost) and totally transparent shipping—but that’s not always possible. Unfortunately, this can damage a retailer’s reputation—and their chance at repeat sales. Hence, this is why last-mile services matter. 

But what are last-mile services, and who are the best providers of these services? Here’s what you need to know about the importance of last-mile for your business.

What are Last-Mile Services?

Last-mile services initially got their name from the telecommunications industry, where the last-mile referred to the challenges faced by telecom providers connecting homes to their main networks. Today, while last-mile issues still do exist in telecom, they also exist in logistics: namely, in getting merchandise into the customer’s hands.  

The “last mile” of service occurs in the final stages of your product’s journey—after your merchandise is manufactured and warehoused, and once the customer’s order is placed. From there, the merchandise must be pulled and packed and finally shipped and delivered. That shipping and delivery is what they refer to as last-mile service, and it comes at a cost. In fact, that cost can often compose more than half of an order’s total shipping cost, including the price of labor and shipping supplies. In fact, last-mile service is generally the most expensive part of an order’s journey. It also takes the most time. This can make last-mile shipping a big expense for smaller retailers trying to go toe-to-toe with the Amazons of the world, who often have their own logistics fleets and also utilize local carriers for faster deliveries. 

This issue is known as the “last mile problem” or the thorny issues of high shipping costs, slower-than-desired shipping speeds, and yet another big wrinkle: tracking difficulties. You see, even with a tracking number, tracking through some carriers often leaves much to be desired. With slow-to-update tracking numbers, delays and inaccuracies, customers are often left frustrated and unwilling to do business with you again.

So, how do you solve the last-mile problem? The answer lies in your last-mile delivery service.

Solving the Last Mile Problem

When it comes to last-mile providers, you have many choices. From couriers to smaller, local logistics companies, to larger household-names, who you choose to provide your last-mile service matters.

1) Higher Costs

Generally speaking, the larger the order volume, the lower the rates you can expect from your last-mile provider. While smaller 3PLs try to stay competitive, their efforts are often thwarted by higher fuel costs and delivery issues, such as having to return to a delivery stop multiple times to gain a signature. Thankfully, however, there are exceptions to this rule. Sometimes, smaller 3PLs can negotiate fair rates with your business, enabling you to ship your merchandise in a cost-effective manner. However, this works best if your deliveries are mostly local.

2) Delivery Times

Speaking of delivery times, this is yet another big issue faced in last-mile delivery. From far-spaced rural routes to jam-packed city streets, 3PLs can sometimes struggle with even getting to your customer’s front door simply due to time constraints caused by these problems. This can delay a shipment, causing customer frustration, which of course hurts your chances for repeat business.

3) Tracking Technology

When it comes down to how to make your last-mile services more efficient, the bottom line can often be the technology used by your last-mile provider. Third-party logistics providers such as FedEx, DHL and UPS all have their own tracking systems and proprietary software that allows for not just internal efficiencies, but for the transparency for your customers to track their orders. This improves customer experience and, naturally, customer satisfaction.

Last-Mile Providers

To better understand just what a last-mile provider truly does, here are some unique providers and what they’re doing to help your business.

Haultail. A new delivery service available in many markets across the U.S., Haultail uses its own app to allow customers to schedule their local pickup or delivery via its network of certified drivers. Haultail can collect and deliver new items from retail stores, storage facilities or even homes, and deliver them, often faster than delivery services offered by mass retailers, giving smaller retailers a competitive edge and consumers higher overall satisfaction with their purchase.

TForce Logistics. With headquarters in both the U.S. and Canada, TForce Logistics boasts a network of more than 6,700 last-mile providers in every major city in America. The company offers everything from warehousing to reverse logistics of last-mile products and keeps customers in the loop about their product tracking via text message updates. TForce has also expanded their last-mile services into Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

CFI. Based in Mexico, CFI has recently expanded to Chicago with its first U.S. consolidation and distribution center, and plans for more locations across los Estados Unidos de América. This is a rare move, as in recent years the trend in 3PLs is to move away from Mexico. CFI, however, plans to remain in the country, offering international services, including last mile, on both sides of the border.


Dachser USA. To help customers navigate the unprecedented increase in online sales and the need for last-mile delivery, Dachser USA recently created a “dedicated customer solutions desk.” This new department is staffed by logistics industry experts and serves to help businesses of all sizes deal with unexpected issues such as shipping delays, drayage capacity issues and even demurrage charges, according to Guido Gries, managing director of Dascher Americas.

SEKO Logistics. Based in Itasca, Illinois, SEKO Logistics has responded to the COVID-19 crisis by working with businesses of all sizes that have been impacted by shutdowns of their regular logistics providers due to the coronavirus. SEKO has enacted its own COVID-19 policy, requiring PPE for drivers to protect both employees and customers, including the last-mile customer.

The Last Word in Last Mile

Ultimately, if you ship a product to a consumer or business, you’re probably going to need last-mile services. Whether you require local services and can partner with a smaller logistics company that can act nimbly and respond faster than larger delivery services, or you ship at a volume that enables you to benefit from reduced bulk shipping rates with a larger 3PL, choosing the right last-mile service can potentially save you money and help bolster customer satisfaction. 

When choosing your last-mile provider, look for bulk shipping rates, route consolidations and transparent tracking services. The important takeaway: Last-mile services shouldn’t be an afterthought. They are, in fact, a crucial step in your supply chain and can be the determining factor between a good transaction and a great one.

discover

Convey’s Discover Provides Proactive Options for Retailers

Delivery management and visibility in delivery delays is taken to a whole new level thanks to a new solutions platform launched just in time for the holidays by Delivery Experience Management platform company, Convey.

Thanks to its predictive insights and precise delivery performance reporting, Convey’s Discover transportation analytics and insights software solution enables retailers to think ahead for the holiday season. Information released by Convey confirmed that Discover revealed unreported delays for 17 percent of retailer shipments.

“The ability to seek out and get ahead of delays for our customers is critical,” says Anthony Curreri, Senior Logistics Manager at Boll and Branch. “We were already using Convey to communicate and in some cases upgrade shipment service levels to keep the promises we’ve made to our customers. We’re excited to see the impact having early visibility into these delays will have for both our own operations and our customers’ experience. Our goal is to increase consumer confidence to buy and committing to meet delivery expectations is just one example of that.”

 Accessing real-time data and historical reporting that measures the consumer experience is a major plus provided by the software platform. Additionally, SLA performance, data quality, and benchmarking reports are provided by Discover through a combination of machine learning and out-of-box suite reporting capabilities. Retailers are now enabled to analyze a delay and determine the best route for optimization based on these reports, further enhancing the consumer experience involving all supply chain players.

“Our customers tell us what’s most important to them is really one thing — to make delivery promises that they can keep,” says Michael Miller, Chief Product and Strategy Officer at Convey. “Discover is just one critical component to ensuring retailers are able to guarantee a perfect delivery. This holiday season has already proven what can happen when network congestion and weather combine to wreak havoc on the supply chain that serves e-commerce. Convey’s ability to give retailers the extra time and tools necessary to keep delivery promises is unprecedented in the industry today.”