How can delivery companies better use technology to prevent lost parcels?

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Matthew Robertson, co-CEO of NetDespatch, looks at how parcel management technology can help track parcels to meet the needs of the growing e-commerce sector and cut the number of lost parcels

Surprising statistics in the news recently revealed that over £250m (US$311m) worth of deliveries are estimated to have gone missing in the UK in the past year. In today’s e-commerce market, consumer expectations are higher than ever, meaning that more focus is being put onto the delivery process as an integral part of the consumer’s e-commerce journey.

In order to reduce these types figures and increase successful first-time delivery rates, it is important that retailers and carriers work together and continue to evolve their delivery process to meet the flexibility and convenience demanded by consumers. Technology must play a vital role in this evolution.

With the growing demands of consumers, the ability to provide visibility and control over their parcels is becoming more of a hygiene factor in the highly competitive e-commerce market, as our recent research has shown.

With the development of parcel management technology, more and more carriers are tracking their parcels from the moment they enter their network (get picked up from the retailer) through the entirety of the parcel’s journey (until they arrive with the consumer). This type of technology is one of the key drivers to cutting the number of lost parcels.

While externally consumers may be able to track their parcel at three or four points in its journey, internally, the data provided by various barcodes means carriers can track parcels at every single point through a network. Leveraging this highly detailed level of traceability makes the tracking process far more accessible and when a problem arises, organizations can immediately target the root of the issue.

An additional approach, in use by some parcel delivery companies, is the implementation of a dashboard showing all the depots across the field. With this, organizations can immediately track at which point an issue has occurred and instantly go back to the depot in question and fix the problem.

These developments in parcel management technology offer a far more customer-centric approach. Improving the internal process in turn improves the consumer offering, and therefore the flexibility of delivery, minimizing the amount of lost parcels and the need for carriers to deliver more than once.

The solution lies in developing technologies such as these further to fit with today’s high standards and expectations; it is no longer an excuse for a parcel to be missing or lost. By improving internal operations, the customer experience as a whole can improve, and by tracking the parcels at every step of the way, the point at which the problem lies can be easily identified, therefore driving toward better fulfilment and improved first-time delivery rates.


Matthew Robertson, co-CEO, NetDespatch

With a career spanning over 20 years in the general distribution and postal industry, Robertson was instrumental in the adoption and implementation of NetDespatch in the Packets and Parcels division at TNT Post in his three years as group development director. Matthew has also held senior positions at Arla Foods and a leading role in market development for B2C packets within Royal Mail. Matthew is recognized as an industry leader with a strong commercial presence and provides a key link between NetDespatch clients and the business.

November 16, 2016

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