Christmas 2020 saw phenomenal volumes of freight travelling through the logistics industry; higher volumes than any prediction could have foreseen. It is testament to our employees that worked tirelessly throughout peak, to service our customers to the best of our abilities.
As we start the new year, we head straight into a new National Lockdown. With this, means a continuous flow of online ordering and volumes remain progressively high. Fortunately, the time between Christmas and New Year enabled many depots to catch up with the high demand; particularly in areas such as London and Wales that were suffering severe backlogs in the build up to Christmas. The new National Lockdown also allows us to maximise our delivering capacity. Less vehicles on the road enables our drivers to get around easier.
The situation for all concerned is monitored closely by Head Office and action is taken wherever necessary, to ensure we provide a realistic service offering to our customers. We are as best prepared as possible for delivery volumes to remain high. However, we would still encourage realistic expectations on delivery performance and open communication with customers on delivery timeframes.
We understand that this time has been stressful for all concerned. We are grateful for the understanding and kindness that has been displayed to our employees whilst they have worked extremely hard. We have been fortunate in that abusive behaviour towards our staff has been manageable, and is far outweighed by the kind interactions we have experienced. Thank you for your continued loyalty to EDS. We appreciate you and your business immensely.
We have put together the following 10 Top Tips for sending parcels. We would encourage keeping this document close to hand for reference, as these simple steps can help reduce the risk of issues when an item is in transit.
We endeavour to communicate as much as possible to our customers, as we understand how important it is to convey our insider knowledge on the COVID-19 situation within our Industry. We are sending regular emails with additional information. Please email email@example.com with your company name and account number, and we will add you to our mailing list.
We are now in the final weeks of Peak 2020 and volumes remain extremely high to forecast across the Network, particularly within the London Region.
Plans have been in preparation for months, in the lead up to Christmas to ensure we are best prepared. However, it is important to still recognise that we face phenomenal volumes with restricted operational abilities. Many of the challenges we face remain unpredictable, and we continue to react accordingly.
We must recognise at this time, that with every effort and resource in place to ensure service levels remain high, there is still an expectation for a small percentage of deliveries to be delayed. There are hundreds of thousands of items being sent through the Network on a daily basis, and so even a small percentage results in a high volume of delays.
The safety and welfare of all of those involved in providing the APC services is our top priority as we continue to work through the highest Christmas parcel volume handled by the UK Courier sector. APC Overnight recognised early within the first national lockdown that, should the e-commerce growth and limitations in accessing the high-street continue, we would need to adjust our seasonal planning for Peak 2020 to meet customer needs whilst also adhering to COVID safe requirements.
APC have invested £1m to increase the capacity and throughput capability at the Essington hub, the sister hub to the National Sortation Centre based in Cannock. The investment has increased the Essington sort capacity by 25%.
The APC network member businesses are working together to fine tune trunking schedules, particularly for Mondays and Tuesdays as customers process e-commerce orders received over the weekend. APC have an ongoing Peak recruitment program within the hub operations. – an additional 100 roles have been created. Network wide, APC have introduced additional equipment to support delivery drivers. They have also refined several service offerings to enable our network to perform.
Whilst we have all the above provisions and measures in place, we do recognise that we are operating adjusted processes through the full parcel journey- social distancing applies at every point of parcel handling in our network, and this can result in delays to service.
We are finding particular areas have additional delays currently, such as London. Rest assured, the Network are working extremely hard to ensure deliveries are made as quickly as possible, and that delays are kept to an absolute minimum. We are operating a first in, first out operation during this time. As can be expected, contact into depots is extremely challenging, as every ounce of resource is being put in to getting deliveries made. Your support and patience at this time is greatly appreciated.
Regular updates are being communicated to our customers, to assist with keeping our customers informed as much as possible. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to our mailing list.
Covid-19 has forced a new norm upon us all. Every industry is faced with challenges that are unique to their field.
Here at EDS couriers, we have continued to work throughout all levels of lockdown at the instructions of our Government, servicing the needs of our customers.
Our network of key workers are continuing to provide essential supply chain services, as outlined by the Department of Transport [click here to view letter]
Our industry continues to play a pinnacle role in keeping our communities going.
In addition to the above, our industry has also played a vital part in supporting the “Stay at Home” campaign; by continuing to deliver home comforts during this time. Covid-19 has forced all ages to shop by ordering on line and many have developed a love for the convenience of shopping from home. In many ways, this has also helped our communities to feel a sense of “normality”. Having this convenience is a new luxury to our generation and one we are proud to support.
As a result, we have been consistently handling Christmas levels of business, whilst faced with several challenges, some that we have not encountered before. We are continuously adapting to new ways of working; to ensure we maintain high levels of service to our customers and to the Networks we partner in.
Our teams are under an immense amount of pressure and every area of our Network are working around the clock to give optimal support at this time. We continue to focus on providing excellent service wherever possible, however recognise that the situation may have an impact on service levels.
Our number one priority is the safety and wellbeing of our staff. We strictly enforce Government Guidelines of safe working conditions and social distancing measures. This has in many ways forced our industry to think outside the box at ways to sort and distribute the items in our care as efficiently and succinctly as possible.
1.Utilise the self-service options available
When delays occur, this naturally increases the number of enquiries coming into our Customer Support Team; and the waiting times on responses are on occasions longer than we’d like. We encourage all at this time to utilise the self-service facilities as much as possible, so we can make sure our Customer Support Team are there when you need them. Our priority is to give the best possible service and to make sure we’re available when you need our expertise.
Track your delivery: https://apc-overnight.com/receiving-a-parcel/tracking
Rearrange your delivery: https://apccalled.com/
2.Reduce contact into our Customer Support Team
We appreciate that some enquiries are of a higher urgency than others. Please avoid sending multiple emails regarding the same enquiry. We assure you every query will be looked into, it may just take us a little longer than previously.
3.Ensure correct address details are entered when placing orders and when booking a delivery
Our drivers are multi-drop delivery drivers. Information is key to ensuring routing runs smoothy. Please ensure contact information is entered wherever possible. Please optmise the use of special instructions for furthering delivery instructions when we are delivering to hard to find places, new builds and building sites.
4.Make us aware if we can leave a parcel safe or with a neighbour
We appreciate that there are certain products in our care that must be delivered to the contact stated however, to assist with reducing the amount of items held please make us aware of when a delivery does not require a signature by stating in the special instructions where to leave safe. This in turn reduces the need for multiple deliveries to take place.
5.Consider the day of despatch
Monday night sort is extremely busy industry wide. If your product is of a none urgent nature, consider holding it back and sending it forward on a different week day.
6.Consider an increased collection window
Being reliable is extremely important to us and we will bend over backwards to ensure we are on time for collections. Sometimes collection windows can be short and this may have an affect on deliveries. We appreciate this may not be possible for you however if you think you could help us by extending your collection window please let us know!
7.Consider packaging and how items are labelled
Packaging is extremely important to assist with the safe keeping of items within our care. A high percentage of damages are affected by insufficient packaging. This is never intentional, but more so educational on what works well when using an overnight Network. Good packaging and correct labelling of items also supports in reducing transport time and the requirement for multiple deliveries.
8.Be kind to our employees
We appreciate that the current situation may be frustrating, but please be respectful of our employees that are working extremely hard. We can assure you that we care deeply and we will always be truthful in any situation. When issues arise, we take full ownership and we will do our best in supporting you. We have a 0-tolerance policy on abusive behavior towards our employees.
We are now heading towards the winter months and undoubtably we will have additional new challenges to overcome; to ensure we are operating to Government Guidelines, to maintain high levels of service to our customers and to ensure the welfare and safety of our workforce.
The schools re-opening has created a new dynamic to deliveries, one that we have not had to face up until now during the pandemic. Traffic continues to delay drivers getting about and there has also been an increase in delivery attempts due to people returning to work, resulting in deliveries having to be returned back to depots and attempted on multiple occasions.
Winter approaches and as well as the seasonal illnesses, cases appear to be rising. We are seeing rulings tighten again, and further lock down rulings being reinstated in specific areas of the country. We are preparing for an increase in the need for staff to self-isolate again and how that may impact further on staffing levels.
We continue to invest in our teams and put additional resources in place wherever possible in the lead up to Christmas. We will undoubtedly have lots of parcels and pallets to deliver during this time, which means the winter of 2020 will be a unique time for us.
For further information from other sources, here are a couple of articles about the courier industry and how it’s been impacted by COVID-19:
We are all adapting to a new normal, and EDS is no different. We are proud to have supported our communities during these challenging months, whilst provided high standards of service to our customers. Our promise to you is that we will continue to give our all, to make sure this continues for the uncertain months to come and beyond this.
We appreciate the time you have taken to understand the impacts of Covid-19 on our business and we thank you for continuing to support us as we continue to adapt to an ever-changing situation.
Commercial Operations Manager