The failure of delivery drivers to deliver

You may have seen the news and know that just about everyone seems to be taking strike action at the moment. Most recently this has included the Royal Mail and some other independent delivery companies. We have just been through the Christmas season, a time of year when demand is exceptional on courier and delivery drivers for parcels. The two would appear to be on a collision course, and all sorts of stories and problems have arisen over the last few weeks. Just how bad has it got though?  Our latest blog post will take a closer look at this, and consider why delivery drivers are literally failing to deliver many parcels and items.

Many cite the strikes by Royal Mail as the main problem, but also highlight the indirect problems this has caused too. Royal Mail were on strike for 6 days during December, including the 23rd and 24th December –  what traditionally would be frantic / last minute days for parcel deliveries. In preparation for these strikes, many businesses, retailers and organisations planned ahead well to try and avoid the worst of these impacts, by switching to other delivery companies (assuming they were not on strike too!) The indirect problem is that this caused many of the other courier companies to become swamped with the increase in pressure and demand. There was simply too many parcels, and a combination of not enough staff and time to get these out to customers. This led to many items becoming delayed or lost.

Many have reported becoming angry and frustrated with some of the big and well-known courier companies, whose tracking facilities constantly update to apparently inform customers that the parcels will be with them later that day or next day, only to find that 24 hours later, they are still waiting. Exceptionally long wait times on the phone, or emails / chats that have gone unanswered have also added to the stress and frustration that many have faced. At one point the problem got so bad, that one courier stopped offering a next day courier service to around 5% of the population, because they knew that this couldn’t be fulfilled.

Who is to blame?

That is probably the obvious next question that everyone is asking.  Some would say that Royal Mail should never have been allowed to strike so close to Christmas. Others would argue that it is everyone’s right to strike and Royal Mail staff should be no different.

Objectively, whilst the strike has caused issues, any strike in any sector or business would cause issue, so this is not something out the ordinary. Further, the strikes were well communicated and documented, and this is evident in the businesses who had ample time to switch couriers in readiness for it.  The problem seems to be the lack of preparation by the ‘other’ couriers, to be able to anticipate and meet demand. Did someone not foresee that businesses changing couriers was going to create a bigger workload (not to mention the added Christmas factor too?) Planning is key to anything in business. It allows for certainty to exist, which is the only real model of operation for companies to trade and for customers who use the services. It would seem that many people have struggled with the certainty of receiving their orders these last few weeks. Planning almost certainly has to be a big factor in this.

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