Parcel2Ship – Week In Review – 24/07/15

YOUR WEEK IN REVIEW FROM PARCEL2SHIP

Every Friday, we will be bringing you news about different stories that have occurred through the week, most of which will be relevant to the parcel industry and the services we offer on Parcel2Ship. We will also be sure to mention any news from us directly, whether it’s about our website, our staff, or our achievements. We will be calling this ‘Parcel2Ship’s Week In Review’. Please let us know what you think, and if you want something mentioned in next week’s blog, get in touch and let us know!

COURIER AND DELIVERY NEWS

Royal mail sharp letter dip

For many, the news that Royal Mail isn’t collecting and delivering as many letters as before, won’t come as a shock. But on Tuesday the group revealed the dip in numbers was substantial and sudden, dropping 5% in just 3 months. They predict the number of letters will now continually fall each year by about 6%, with people using other forms of communication such as email and social media.

However, the blow has been cushioned somewhat by the news that parcel deliveries actually went up by 3% in the last 3 months, helping to increase revenue growth in the division by 2%. Furthermore, their European delivery network GLS have seen volumes grow by 9%, meaning that the Royal Mail Group revenue was flat for the first quarter of its financial year.

Moya Greene, chief executive of Royal Mail, says “We have benefited from the parcel initiatives that took effect in the second half of last year and a good performance from GLS. Our trading environment remains challenging and we are stepping up the pace of change to drive efficiency, growth and innovation, while maintaining a tight focus on costs.”

To maintain the growth in the parcel sector, Royal Mail has opened its network later and at weekends in a bid to maintain share in a competitive market, and with Black Friday and Christmas just around the corner, they hope to utilise these changes. Their next quarter numbers will be released in November, when we am sure we will hear a little more about their festive preparations

doddle’s new project

This week Doddle has announced that they will soon be starting a trial project spread over 5 weeks, that will involve using “neighbourhood agents” to deliver parcels. Speaking to the BBC, Chief executive Tim Robinson explained that the “agents” would be people who work from home and are available four nights a week between 18:00 and 22:00 to hand over parcels, with a manager overseeing the area they are in and assisting with queries and issues. He wants to formalise the service that companies such as Royal Mail already offer when they cannot deliver to a customer because they are out. Rather than deliver to a neighbour or someone that the customer potentially doesn’t know or have contact with, Doddle hope their service will appeal to customers who want a bit more control and security, should they be out at the time of delivery.

With their parcel lockers already a great success, and a recent partnership with DPD promising great things in the not too distant future, Robinson was keen to stress that this new service would not be replacing anything, but simply supplementing the services already available, and ultimately offering their customers more choice. However, he did also talk of the previous predictions regarding the parcel lockers, saying the numbers have been halved from 300 locations to 150. One of the reasons is the locations of the planned lockers in relevance to the train platforms, saying that customers don’t want to walk as far away as some of the proposed sites were going to be. So to solve this problem they are going back to the drawing board, and dropping the assumption they can build every location just a couple of yards from the rail station entrances.

black friday warning

Yodel has done some research about Black Friday and the consumer interest that surrounds it, and has published reports that it could produce 4 times the amount of business as it did last year. Out of the group of 6371 people they surveyed, only 8% said they placed an online order on Black Friday 2014, but about 30% of the group said they would participate this year. Because of these findings, Yodel have urged companies to be prepared: “With planning for the Christmas peak already underway across the retail and supply chain industries, the findings highlight the need for retailers, fulfilment houses and parcel carriers to work together so they can respond to uplift in demand over the cyber weekend.”

Further research suggested that customers wouldn’t mind waiting longer to receive their goods, because the deals were worth the wait. So Yodel have proposed that couriers spread the deliveries over 3 days to smooth the dramatic peak in parcel deliveries, but recommended that customers should also be given the option to pay for a faster service too. Yodel itself are preparing by “optimising its network to cope with such uplifts in demand” with their super service centers across the country in their busiest locations, and they also recognise that the key to getting it right this Black Friday is better communication and to manage expectations. With many couriers using Black Friday as a practice run for the Christmas rush, we hope things will run smoother than they did in 2014.

European Parcels Market Insight Report 2015

The European Parcels Market Insight Report for 2015 was released this week, and it included some things we already figured to be true, and other things that were great to hear. For instance, during the recession the parcels market has seen continued growth in most countries, mainly because of more people searching for bargains online and preferring to shop from home. This isn’t news to us, and if you read our other Week in Review blogs you will be familiar with the success that many couriers are experiencing recently, especially Amazon with their own courier network and their development of drone technology for delivering parcels in the future. New delivery methods, better customer facing technology and collection/delivery windows have also helped this growth, meaning in turn that innovation in the parcel industry is also on the rise.

The report focused on 8 main countries; Germany, UK, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium and Poland, but also featured the likes of Denmark, Norway and Malta among others. Russia and Turkey are excluded from the report though. It looks at figures published by the couriers themselves, feedback from customers, extensive desk research on the parcels market, and answers given in interviews of senior-level contacts in the industry. This report is useful for us because it is always great to hear the parcel industry is growing and getting better each day, but it is also very exciting from a customer point of view. Growth and innovation can only mean great things for those relying on parcel deliveries, and with the forecasts for the next few years looking promising, we think there are plenty more ideas on their way to make customers even happier.

TOPICAL NEWS

james bond ‘spectre trailer

After several years of waiting for the next fix of Daniel Craig as 007, the official trailer of the new film Spectre was released this week, and it has fleshed out the story line that has been kept secret so far. Craig is joined this time by newcomers Christoph Waltz and Monica Bellucci, with the trailer confirming Waltz as this years villain and Bullucci as James Bond romantic interest. Returning characters include Ralph Fiennes as M, Ben Whishaw as Q, and Naomie Harris as Moneypenny, with a new Aston Martin making its appearance, to keep up with tradition.

The trailer begins with the suggestion that Bond has gone rogue again, this time in New Mexico. After suggesting to Q that he needs to disappear, we cut to a snowy location and the drama intensifies. A steamy clinch between Craig and Bellucci, an ominous meeting with Waltz, and a mysterious spider like symbol later, the trailer succeeds in wetting the appetite of all fans and perhaps even some newcomers. Spectre is released here in the UK on October 26th this year, so we don’t have long to wait to see how the drama plays out.

apple profits in the billions

The technology company Apple have announced they sold 47.5 million iPhones within 1 quarter, marking an amazing 35% increase. Also up on the previous 3 months of the year were the Mac computer sales which rose 9% to 4.8 million units, meaning the overall profits of the company rose to £6.87 billion with revenue almost reaching around £32 billion.

However, despite the strong numbers in a quarter that historically shows lower sales in anticipation of new models, the share price of Apple stock plummeted. Annalists believe this is because the revenue forecasts were actually higher than what has been announced, and some are worried that the firms profits are heavily dependent on just one product – the iPhone. Cook is trying to sell the future of the Apple Watch to the investors, saying it has had a ‘great start’ and reminding everyone this is the first piece of wearable technology the company have sold, and that the sales of both the iPhone and iPod after they were first launched were lower. Also selling well are the iPods and Beats headphones, pulling in revenue of $2.6 billion, and new models of the iPhone and iPad are rumoured for next year, with each release of the newest iPhone smashing the previously set sales of the last.

taylor swift vs nicki minaj

Things heated up in the pop world this week after MTV released their nominations for the Video Music Awards 2015. Whilst both Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj both came away with a handful of nominations each, Minaj was left angry that her video for Anaconda was not nominated for overall Best Video, even though it was nominated for Best Female Video. She spoke on Twitter about how she believes this is because of her skin colour and body type, and many of her fans have offered support over what she believes is a snub. Swift however doesn’t seem to agree, and has tweeted her disappointment over Minaj pitting the two against each other. Other celebrities have got involved in the fight too, with Piers Morgan branding Minaj a ‘stroppy little piece of work‘ and Katy Perry criticising Taylor for ‘capitalising on the takedown of another woman

The VMA’s are on the 30th August and are being hosted by Miley Cyrus. Cyrus previously won the award for Best Video in 2014 for her smash hit Wrecking Ball, so she knows a thing or two about the competition. Other artists duking it out for moonmen are Ed Sheeran, Beyonce, Bruno Mars and Maroon 5, with the most nominations going to Swift, who could potentially walk away with 11 awards.

 EMOJI MOVIE

And the last story of the week goes to the emoji :) This week Sony won the rights to turn emoji icons into a feature length movie for us all to see in the cinema. How exactly the studio will be creating a movie based on the winky face is unclear at the moment, but it seems there was a bidding war for the rights. They believe that after the success of The Lego Movie, anything can be turned into a hit. We remain skeptical.

PARCEL2SHIP NEWS

Things have been getting busier for us here in the office, and we love it. It’s great to see the business grow, and it is all because of our lovely customers and their loyalty to Parcel2Ship, so thank you. Remember, a lot of our success depends on word of mouth and online reviews to get our name out there, so visit our Trust Pilot page and remember to tell a friend (or 10) about the service you have received. And if you have any suggestions about how we can improve the service we offer you, we are always happy to hear your feedback

One of the reasons we think it’s been busier this week is because the school holidays have kicked off in some areas of the country, so people have more time to organise their orders. We also find that this time of year sees a lot of foreign students return home, and sometimes they can’t quite fit all their belongings in their suitcases, so they order a couple of parcel deliveries with us to get everything home. So if you are struggling for space, give us a call or get a quote from our homepage!

The team at Parcel2Ship

New Depots For City-Link and ParcelForce

City Link has opened a 64,000 sq ft depot in Southampton, which is 30 per cent larger than its previous site in Kites Croft, to enable the company to expand its operations in the region.

Up to 200 new jobs are being created with the opening of Royal Mail’s new worldwide parcel depot just opened in east London. The massive 100,000sq ft Parcelforce site at Beckton, just off the A13, is part of Royal Mail’s UK-wide expansion programme and is expected to create 200 jobs over the next three years. It is part of Royal Mail’s strategy to expand its parcels businesses in Britain and abroad in the face of tough global competition from commercial rivals such as FedEx and DHL.

Privatisation Of Royal Mail

The impending privatisation of Royal Mail, the world’s oldest postal service, is set to sharpen competition in the UK’s rapidly changing, £14bn-a-year post and parcels business. Ministers plan a stock market flotation, probably this autumn, of a majority of Royal Mail that could value it at up to £3bn. In preparation, the company is already reshaping itself as a business focused on parcels, which make up nearly half its turnover.

This is good news for our customers who chose the services of ParcelForce, as it is being recognised that you are crucial to Royal Mails success in the future.

As with such a huge move in the courier world, Parcel2Ship will keep our customers as up to date as possible through our blog and our website at www.parcel2ship.co.uk. If you have any questions about the privatisation of Royal Mail and how it could affect you, please call a member of our customer services team on 0845 5190185

Royal Mail profits up due to parcels

Royal mail has seen their half year profits rise thanks to its parcel business as more and more people shop online. The operating profits for the half year up to September rose £12m to £144m which also saw an operating profit of £99m compared with a loss of £41m in its core letters business.

While the Royal Mail has seen a massive decline in the traditional letters this has now been made up for by the increase in parcels which was up by 13% and now account for 47% of all revenue.

These profits and it growth in the parcel delivery business as
seen as key to any future sale of the business.

Parcels to Ireland

Sending parcels to Ireland with parcel2ship.co.uk is quick, easy and very cheap. We deliver to all the counties of Southern Ireland using DHL European road services and Parcelforce Euro Priority Business road service. We are also able to offer the DHL air express service for those more urgent deliveries. Our service for up to 2kg is only £9.99 plus vat which compares favourably with the Royal mail small packet service at £11.96 for 2kg. Our service also has the benefits of being a collection service and is fully tractable, is covered up to £50 compensation for loss or damage. Please seeterms and conditions and our list of excluded items. Our delivery time of only 2 to 3 working days is all so great.

How to track parcel delivery progress

Previously, after you have sent a parcel that was the last you knew of where it was until it reached its final destination or if you were very unlucky, it didn’t. Now whether you book a parcel delivery online through a Courier such as Parcelforce or DHL or use an online re-seller, you are now able to track your parcel from the day it was picked up to when it has reached its destination. Most couriers provide tracking facilities for parcels sent through them and online re-sellers will help by giving you a link through to the courier you have sent your parcel through.

Most tracking systems work in the same way so it is pretty much a case of ‘know one, know all’ but tracking at Parcelforce.com is user-friendly and can be used with the minimum fuss.

Before you send a parcel you wish to track, first check that the service you are sending it through is in fact trackable. If you look on the Parcelforce tracking for instance, they would allow you to check on the status on the following types of deliveries:

  • Royal Mail: Special Delivery, Airsure, International Signed For, and Recorded
  • Parcelforce Worldwide: Express 9, Express 10, Express AM, Express 24, global express, europriority business, europriority home, and global priority

Of course you cannot use Parcelforce or any other courier’s tracking facility unless you have a tracking number or tracking ID for the parcel or consignment.

In the case of Parcel force worldwide, it usually assigns a unique tracking ID when the delivery is booked and the labels are produced. If you are using a re-seller then you will be given the tracking reference when you receive the labels.

Of course as with any system, you need to use it correctly and there are certain reasons where the tracking may fail to work. The most common ones being:

  • If you have miskeyed the tracking number. Re-check the number you have entered to ensure that it is typed in properly without any mistake.
  • In cases of incoming parcels sent from overseas there can be problems in confirming status depending upon the delivery services used. Not all overseas parcel delivery services use computerized tracking systems, and unless the parcel enters a zone where computer tracking is available, tracking cannot always be confirmed.
  • The parcel hasn’t been dispatched yet. It won’t be possible to track the parcel unless it has been picked up and has started its journey.
  • Couriers will only keep tracking records for a limited time. For example a delivery sent through Parcelforce cannot be tracked if sent earlier than 4 and a half months as these are removed from the database

All in all online tracking of a parcel is pretty simple to do and any failure is usually down to other causes rather than any defect in the tracking system itself.

UK government makes amendments to Postal Services Bill

The UK government has published a number of amendments to the Postal Services Bill, including new powers for the regulator, Ofcom.

The changes – which intends to “strengthen” the Bill – incorporates “feedback from MPs, Lords, Royal Mail, other postal operators and the Communication Workers Union, as well as other interested parties,” the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) said.

As well as allowing private investment into Royal Mail, the Bill outlines that Post Office Ltd could move to a mutual ownership model, Ofcom will become the regulator to the UK postal industry, and the government will take on Royal Mail Group’s pension deficit.

It has already been approved by the House of Commons and is currently being considered by the House of Lords.

According to BIS, amendments include:

  • New powers for the regulator, Ofcom, to allow them to better monitor any potential threats to the universal service arising from end-to-end competition.
  • A new requirement on Ofcom to have regard to the need for the universal service provider to earn a reasonable commercial rate of return on the provision of that service.
  • Ensuring that Royal Mail can remain the sole provider of the universal service for at least the next ten years.

The amendments will be debated by Peers at the Report stage of the Bill, it was confirmed.

A government statement said: “These changes will give further clarity to the regulatory regime and enable the regulator to strike the right balance between competition and safeguarding the universal service – ensuring that Royal Mail can continue to deliver to the UK’s 28m addresses, six days a week.”

Other changes will ensure that:

  • Government reports more information to Parliament, including details of the ongoing commercial relationship between Royal Mail and the Post Office.
  • Parliament has the opportunity to scrutinise and vote on proposals for the mutualisation of Post Office Ltd in the future.

Responding to the news, minister for postal affairs, Edward Davey, said: “Royal Mail is facing some huge challenges – falling mail volumes, a vast pension deficit, less efficiency than its competitors and an urgent need for more capital.

“The number one reason we are taking action is to ensure that the universal postal service is protected in the face of these challenges and that Royal Mail can keep delivering and collecting letters 6 days a week at an affordable, one-price-goes-anywhere tariff.

“Politicians, Royal Mail, other postal operators and the Communication Workers Union are also determined to safeguard the universal postal service. We have listened to their suggestions and made a series of changes that will further strengthen the legislation.

“These important amendments will give extra regulatory certainty to Royal Mail and increase transparency by putting even more reporting requirements on the Government.”

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) welcomed the amendments. The union has been campaigning to protect the universal service obligation (USO) and the future of post offices and “the amendments to the Bill go some way to reflecting those aims”, it said.

Billy Hayes, CWU general secretary, said: “We warmly welcome these amendments from the minister to the Postal Services Bill. We have been campaigning hard to safeguard the UK’s universal postal service and to secure both mails services and the post office network.

“We are pleased that the Government has taken on board some of our concerns and we will continue to campaign and have dialogue with government to strengthen the Bill in other areas including more necessary work on regulations.

“The amendments on the universal service and the commercial relationship between Royal Mail and the Post Office have been key campaign aims for the union and we are delighted the Government has listened. We are looking for a clearer commitment to an inter-business agreement between Royal Mail and the Post Office, but this is a good step towards that aim.”