Death of the Same Day Courier Industry

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In May of 1897, the New York Journal erroneously reported on the death of Mark Twain. In his handwritten reply, Twain dryly claimed: “the reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” Likewise, reports on the demise of the rush courier industry are also exaggerated and, if anything, its growth is on the rise.

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“In fact, we’ve recently expanded our National Call Center to handle the demands of this group.”

In May of this year, American Expediting held a corporate webinar (a web-based seminar for the uninitiated) with one of the country’s largest users of messenger services. During the discussion, this billion-dollar data specialist questioned the growth of the courier business, in particular American Expediting. Given that electronic transmittal of legal documents, checks, blue prints and other paper records has replaced the need for physical deliveries, it was a fair question.

The answer can be found in three types of deliveries the company handles: medical, time-sensitive, and chain-of-custody. Let’s begin with the medical community, one of this country’s major employers.

In the past year, delivery of medical specimens has risen exponentially. American Expediting alone has performed stat and scheduled deliveries to thousands of medical campuses around the country with the Baltimore and Washington DC area including: Annapolis, Bethesda, Herndon, etc., accounting for over 50 daily scheduled and STAT deliveries on behalf of the University Medical Centers, Laboratories, and out-of-town supply facilities. That amount reflects a 450 percent increase over the previous decade.

In addition to specimens, healthcare organizations request transport of donor organs, diagnostic and test equipment, medical linens, even corporate mail. All of these account for a significant part of a courier company’s daily orders. Now, ironically, American Expediting is expecting another boost due to budget cuts within medicine. Projected hospital layoffs of their own full time employed couriers, will require outside couriers to fill needed gaps.

Budget cuts in other businesses are also contributing to the company’s bottom line. Businesses that historically warehoused their own inventory or paid to have it stored are eliminating that luxury as a means of saving money. But when faced with replenishing their stock quickly, they found their distributors could not respond as needed.

“Consider an office supply retailer. Then think ‘just in time’ inventory,” explains Vic Finnegan, President of American Expediting Company with warehouse capabilities in Hyattsville servicing Greater Washington DC, and Baltimore. “Suddenly they realize they’re out of keyboards or ink cartridges and call their supplier who can only ‘promise’ delivery in a day or two. As a rush/same-day service, we beat that every time. That’s why our business is up.” Another example of time sensitive inventory on the rise are the critical replacement computer parts that are strategically located for local deliveries to a service technician within a short time after system diagnosis.

The third area here under discussion is the segment of deliveries categorized as “chain of custody requirements for sensitive materials.”

‘Sensitive materials’ refers to a broad spectrum of items such as payroll data, entertainment films for scheduled screenings and corporate database backup media. This can include packages destine for commercial flights. To avoid any mishaps in these deliveries, the sender prefers that all handling be accomplished using one source from pick-up to delivery thus the term, Chain of Custody. American Expediting Company, experienced in this specific market, has become the go-to vendor for this work. Using a dedicated driver for pick-up and delivery ensures that a single individual is responsible for the successful and timely completion of the job. Acting as a troubleshooter, he or she avoids or solves any delivery problem that may crop up.

“This segment of our business is the fastest-growing,” says Victor Finnegan, President of American Expediting Company. “In fact, we’ve recently expanded our National Call Center to handle the demands of this group.”

Only a few companies in the courier business operate on a national level in these services areas. While businesses continue to reduce their list of vendors, the ones they turn to are multi-faceted, offering quality services with a national presence. Whether your needs require a driver to be trained and tested in handling OSHA and HIPAA , drivers that have been given background checks, or many other requirements specified by the client in over 250 cities, American Expediting offers an appropriate solution. No wonder they are experiencing double digit growth.


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Glenn Berger
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