Caution: Changes in the Same Day Delivery Models and the Effect on Your Business

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With over 7,000 established couriers across the United States, there are plenty of same-day couriers to choose from if you are looking to have your package delivered by the end of the day. However, only a handful are remaining loyal to the traditional courier model with drivers available for rush and immediate delivery shipments. This is, in part, due to a variety of market factors forcing couriers to change, resulting in delays that could cost you real business from your clients. This article addresses these market factors and offers safer solutions for finding the most appropriate courier for your needs and thus maintaining your client base.

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”With courier companies becoming more involved in this routed business, many are losing site of their roots,”

With early roots exemplifying the American Dream of the “mom and pop” business, the same-day courier industry has blossomed over the past three decades into a cultured and mature business model. Initially for most, the majority of the work concentrated on moving legal documents quickly between locations. As the industry grew these couriers began building upon their original pick-up and delivery work with the addition of time sensitive and Chain of Custody shipments. Examples of these services included the pick-up and delivery of medical samples at a specific time of day; the distribution of Hollywood movie releases to safeguard against illegal duplications, and transportation of birds, fish and small mammals.

Twenty-five year industry veteran, Mark Sanner of American Expediting, has seen a tremendous change in the small parcel industry since his days with the “big brown” company. “Twenty years ago the FAX machine began biting into our business but now there are dozens of ways to electronically transmit documents and never call a courier. This has forced our industry to look for alternative growth avenues.”

Unfortunately, Sanner notes, a company attempting to adjust to a new growth opportunity can do so at the expense of its grass roots business. “We’ve seen our competitors drawn away from the urgent deliveries that their clients require.”

Glenn Berger, Director of Sales for American Expediting affirms this notion. “Just this afternoon we received another request for on-demand deliveries of medical specimens from the largest lab company in the country. The lab had received three complaints in the past week from their customers about late pick-ups of both medical organs and specimens. For them, that’s three disgruntled customers with patients that had to be retested.”

What was eventually discovered was that the previous courier had been combining multiple deliveries with other non-related shipments. Test results needed in the hands of doctors within a few hours had not even arrived at the lab. Compounding the service failure was jeopardy to the specimen results due to the temperature instability from the lengthier delivery period.

To get an idea of changes in the landscape of the courier business, you just need to consider the retail industry. Just ten short years ago, consumers traveled to their local electronics store for televisions, to their local bookstores for new releases and to clothing stores for the latest fashions. Today many of those items are being delivered to homes as a result of convenient online ordering capabilities. To give you an idea of the volume of packages involved, a single Internet retailer is delivering up to 20,000 packages per day in the Chicago region.

”With courier companies becoming more involved in this routed business, many are losing site of their roots,” says Sanner.

Thus, the best solution is doing your homework. Ask potential couriers for references, especially in your geographic area. Make sure they are servicing similar customers in your industry. Obtain firm commitments on pick-up and delivery times, and request email notifications when your packages are being picked up and delivered. When your business reputation is on the line, you will want to only work with those couriers that can offer you solid, sensible solutions.

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Glenn Berger
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