Still delivering results
The courier industry is enjoying one of its busiest periods despite the growth of electronic commerce, writes Claire Mackay
Parcel courier firms carve out crucial pathways the length and breadth of the UK every 24 hours and are the very lifeblood of commerce and industry. Indeed, this fast-moving artery of couriers is often extended well beyond these shores into Europe and beyond.
It may surprise some people that in an era where electronic communication reigns supreme, it can still be down to an army of van and truck drivers to deliver the goods.
Of course, it is not only urgent documents such as printing industry material, legal or political paperwork that require to be physically handed over. Often, it may be vital parts for car manufacturers or the computer components industry that need to be fasttracked to a client.
Whatever the package, one interesting irony of the couriers’ role in a highly competitive business world, is that it is electronic communication which has prompted some of the biggest and most significant advances in the parcel, freight and logistics industries.
Even smaller companies are now using cutting-edge technology to help them deliver a quicker and more efficient service.
Internet-based tracking systems, for instance, mean customers can follow the route of an item at every stage, right up to checking proof of delivery.
Increased automation has taken much of the strain out of what used to be a weighty paper trail-based operation, with administration staff not only handling the orders end of the business, but also chasing jobs and dealing with customer enquiries.
With so much of this now online, staff have the time and opportunity to work more eff iciently, not just in dealing with any enquiries that do arise, but in ensuring the overall operation runs as smoothly as its potential offers.
This kind of technology, of course, doesn’t stand still, but continues to develop and adapt to industry demands and can influence and enhance an organisation’s operations in every area.
This can mean parcel handling and sorting, including ID, weighing and dimension systems, plus security screening and detection equipment.
Technology also plays a huge role in collection and delivery, covering everything from packaging to tracking, and also offers fleet management solutions such as satellite tracking, navigation and vehicle security.
In addition, e-systems support businesses through the administration process too, such as in covering customer billing or customs processing.
In Amsterdam later this year, executives from parcel and express delivery companies throughout Europe and further afield will gather to hear about the latest technological advances, products and services now available.
The Courier and Parcel Despatch Expo 2006, which is organised and produced by UKIP Media & Events, is a chance to share information and ideas on the continuing development of a flourishing industry.
In addition to showcasing the latest innovations, there will be a particular emphasis on eco-friendly solutions for any companies worried about complying with new environmental transport legislation.
One section of the exhibition will be dedicated to alternative fuels and green transport issues, covering topics such as the new EU regulations, the effectiveness of electric vehicles, fuel additives and the costs involved in going green.
“The fact blue chip suppliers to the industry have committed to be major stakeholders in the Expo and Conference for this first event is great news,” says Edward Orange, CPD Expo Director.
“This event is rapidly establishing itself as a must-attend annual showcase and forum for all sectors of the industry.”