Monday, October 05, 2009

Goods Still Have To Be Delivered

In 2001 UK’s Royal Mail service tried to rebrand itself as Consignia, but soon rebranded itself back as Royal Mail. Having wasted public funds, it must have realized it already had the perfect brand name. However, rebranding was the least of its challenges as it grappled to make itself more commercially viable and deal with many internal inefficient practices and processes.

Today the UK industry and public find themselves once again at the mercy of a workforce and its ability to strike at will. They are pretty good at this and can claim some consistency, both in their timing and frequency. Only yesterday, my wife was looking for a letter to send to her customers to apologize about Royal Mail, only to find the perfect one written only two years old, at the same time of year and on the same subject.

In this digital age of tweets, email, texts and social networks we all still rely heavily on the post. The mail order and ecommerce businesses may now have digital catalogues and be online, but the physical goods still need to be shipped and for many the physical catalogue still needs to be posted. Package companies may now take much of the strain, but for small deliveries still the Royal Mail still works. Only yesterday we received a SIM card replacement that was dispatch first class on the 21st September! Some things come quicker, but the current wave of strikes are heavily disrupting the postal service.

However, it is heartening to see new models starting to appear. One such model is being rolled out by a major mail order organization and is based on delivery to the local store, where parcels will be held for collection. This gives customers a safe place to deliver to when there is no one at home and also provides the opportunity for them to visit the store. It also enables the carrier to consolidate deliveries and in general is a ‘win win’ for many. The one of the first independent retailers to move onto the service is a mail order bookclub who are planning to go live and offer the service to their customers across the UK.

It is interesting that out of adversity pioneering solutions often are born.

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