Four top issues… Delivering the goods in a changing, challenging environment

Paul Roper, CCO of leading parcel delivery service CouriersPlease (CP), shares insight in the logistics and eCommerce space.

With more than 25 years’ experience in transport and logistics at major companies, including DHL Express, TOLL, and TNT Express, Paul Roper sees four key areas to take note off…

How the lack of diversity in the transport and logistics sectors can be solved

Transport, postal and warehousing has some of the lowest rates of female representation in any industry, at just 21%. With the industry also largely ageing and a quarter of workers between 50-64 years old, organisations must focus on attracting diversity among industry newcomers.

Roper says there is a lack of diversity in the industry and that CP is creating a truly diverse workforce and franchisee network. At CP, 50% and 54% of its senior management team and support office employees respectively are female. CP has also recently launched its graduate program to attract and foster the next generation of talent.

The challenges retailers will continue to face this year – and how carriers can innovate to reduce these pain points

The eCommerce boom initially caught many retailers off guard and forced them to divert to online sales, but they struggled to flex quickly enough to respond to spikes in orders.

Roper says many will continue facing challenges this year: supply chain disruptions due to backlogs and production pauses in some markets will see retailers struggle to access stock, while restrictions cause heightened sales across certain product categories. Roper says retailers need a model that allows for regular scaling and descaling without impacting profits.

He says carriers play an important role in providing the solution. Paul says CP handled parcel overflow at short notice and was brought on as an effective secondary carrier to multiple retailers. Last year, CP also introduced solutions to help retailers – these included contactless deliveries, and collections from retailers distribution centres and stores direct.

Solutions to improve driver performance to get parcels to consumers faster

As the eCommerce sector continues to grow at a rapid rate – online retail sales grew 63% in the 12 months to January 2021– there is market and bottom-line pressure on transport and logistics companies to get parcels to consumers faster.

Congestion on Australian roads is a major issue impacting drivers’ delivery times, with a 30-minute trip taking 28% longer in Sydney and 23% longer in Melbourne during peak times. Roper says CP has solutions created to reduce the time drivers spend on the road. This includes a bespoke route optimisation app for CP franchisee drivers, opening micro-hubs (small depots) to bring parcels closer to drivers, and more frequent customer notifications to improve first-time deliveries.

The COVID effect: pandemic-fuelled trends that will remain and how retailers can leverage them

Among CP’s own retailer customers, Roper has identified new retail model trends that he predicts will grow. For instance, many retailers reinvented their operations last year to adapt to the changing landscape, with some turning bricks-and-mortar stores into ‘dark stores’ where online orders were fulfilled. Some retailers have de-centralised their distribution centres and now hold small levels of stock across a greater number of warehouse hubs.

CP has seen recent changes such as transitioning its major depots into micro-hubs in the major States to broaden its warehouse footprint and shorten delivery runs for drivers. Roper says micro-hubs will see consumers receive parcels quicker and reduce CP’s carbon footprint. Retailers that pivot to this distribution model will see higher satisfaction in the customer shopping journey.