Did the Royal Mail strikes cause a surge in business for emergency couriers?

Strikes seem to be happening all the time now, whether it is bodies in the public or private sector. A keen interest was taken in the Royal Mail strikes, and how it impacted the wider courier industry as a whole. Take a look at our latest article where we explore exactly what the consequences of this were.

The short answer to the question is yes, there was an uptick in demand for both emergency couriers and for wider courier services as whole. If we think about our own business for a few seconds, we definitely noticed peaks of demand and enquiries in the lead up to planned Royal Mail strikes, and emergency requests when the strikes were actually occurring

Like with all situations however, there is always winners and losers. Logically, one would think that all delivery companies except Royal Mail would benefit from a strike (assuming they were not on strike also,) because the work would have to go somewhere – a sort of supply and demand type scenario. However, when the strikes occurred, this wasn’t quite the case, and everyone was definitely not a winner! The increase in demand for courier companies generally meant that many faced a difficult situation. The same number of staff could not handle the extra work because there is only so many parcels and deliveries that the normal network of employees could undertake. It would have made no business sense for companies to higher temporary staff for such a short period (unlike the Christmas period for example, where there is more sustained work.) The companies then risked turning away business, in the knowledge that those people or organisations would probably never approach them again anyway.

It was not all good news for smaller, local or family-type courier businesses either. Many reported being bypassed for the bigger companies, often willing to pay more to have their item delivered by a ‘branded’ courier company.

It would seem also however that Royal Mail have not come out of the process of striking untarnished either. It was reported that for several weeks (even months) after strikes, people were still complaining of delayed, or even lost parcels as a consequence of striking action. This has lead to a number of people turning their backs on Royal Mail and its parcel delivery arm completely. The important thing here is that in this, there could lie a good opportunity for other delivery organisations so long as they choose to act fairly and wisely. Going back to the supply and demand principle, in these strike situations (and if it is ever to happen again – highly likely one would think, and Christmas being the obvious time,) there is always a temptation to hike prices because need is greater, and quite bluntly, it is recognised that people do not have much other choice. Smaller courier firms however can use this to their advantage. If they show they are fair, and not out to exploit the situation, new partnerships and businesses can be formed based on fair pricing, and a genuine need to help customers out. In the long run, this can be better for everyone, and can help to rebalance some of the monopoly in the courier industry.

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