Since early 2020, online shopping has seen continual growth like never before: figures show a 67% average monthly increase since last April.
This rapid change in consumer behaviour led to another boom in the logistics sector, with industry revenue for parcel delivery services forecast to rise nearly 6% in 2020.
Parcel delivery service CouriersPlease (CP) is one of the industry players that has enjoyed unprecedented growth in the last 12 months. In what has been its biggest-ever growth in its 38 year history, CP handled an additional 80% in parcel delivery volumes.
Forecasting that the online boom would continue indefinitely, CP redesigned its entire service cycle, expanded its network and depots. It’s now comprising more than 1200 franchisees and delivery partners and 400-plus freight handlers – and invested millions into technology.
Having positioned itself for further growth, this year CP forecasts an increase in parcel delivery volumes of up to 30%.
In the last 12 months, CP faced two major challenges: keeping its delivery drivers and freight handlers safe from infection, and managing its record growth while maintaining customer care.
In 2020, CP remained one of the few essential services to continue operating during heightened restrictions.
CEO Mark McGinley established and headed a Business Continuity Team, comprising a team of 12 senior managers, to design a business continuity plan, safe working practices for a pandemic environment, and risk mitigation strategies to safeguard the business for recovery.
The plans developed put CP in a strong position to reduce future risk and handle booming parcel volumes and business growth. To operate safely and ensure millions of Australians could access goods, CP was one of the first in the industry to introduce contactless deliveries.
CP also launched an online returns platform named Boomerang which enabled online shoppers to return their goods from home, without contact with delivery drivers.
With more people spending time at home, CEO Mark McGinley also had the foresight in early March to recognise that CP would see a significant upscale in business.
He grew the franchisee network by 50% and staff by 55%, and hired hundreds of additional drivers. CP also partnered with transport and courier companies to handle parcel overflow, support the broader industry and ensure shoppers could get parcels quickly.
To improve parcel processing during its busiest period yet, CP expanded its warehouse footprint by 30% – opening 6 new depots and relocating 4, to shorten delivery runs for drivers and reduce transport emissions.
Recognising that a by-product of a booming eCommerce sector is a rise in delivery vehicle emissions, CP set the ambitious goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.
It commenced its ongoing environmental strategy by offsetting 100% of its operational emissions, and received Low CO2 Certification from the Carbon Reduction Institute.
In a step further, CP is adopting a whole-of-business ‘green’ procurement strategy, in which decisions are made on the sustainability of the entire life cycle of purchased goods and services, over cost-based decision.
New technologies are also helping CP expand and future-proof the business. CP has invested in automated parcel sortation systems which boosted handling efficiency seven-fold, enabling CP to deliver parcels faster.
The Melbourne depot will be next to implement the sortation system by next year.
To improve the efficiency of its delivery drivers, CP launched the CPGo route optimisation app, which maps the fastest routes for pick-up and delivery on drivers’ handheld scanner devices.
The technology has made drivers 25% more productive in their deliveries.
In the last year, CP has transformed its business into a pioneering, highly competitive and technologically driven company in the eCommerce and logistics industries – and one that will continue to evolve and grow with the rapidly changing eCommerce market.