For most people, memories of Christmas 2017 are fading, as we look forward to lighter evenings and make plans for summer holidays. But, for those of us who work in retail logistics, Christmas is never far from our thoughts. February is the time to reflect on performance in the previous year, to analyse delivery data, examine industry trends and start preparing for this year’s festive shopping season. Our customer, Hermes, fresh from an incredibly successful 2017 delivery period is doing just that.
The company has revealed that during the 2017 festive shopping period they carried more parcels than ever before: a total of 9.7 million parcels in their busiest week, with 1.6m moving through the network on the busiest day. We estimate that this was an increase of over 60% on an average day at any other time of year; it involved deploying an additional 3000 vehicles, taking their fleet to 13,000. Whilst managing this exceptional uplift in volume, Hermes also achieved its highest customer satisfaction scores in over two years in the run-up to Christmas.
How did Hermes handle peak delivery demand?
This record number of deliveries was made possible by careful planning, and by long term investment in infrastructure and technology. This is the second year that we’ve powered Hermes through their peak period, and we’re pleased to report that it went smoothly, with a minimum of support calls logged. The system we provide has evolved and expanded to support the growth they have experienced. The company uses the Cognito iQ platform to ensure that their depots and drivers have the information they need to keep the operation running smoothly, and to keep their customers informed. Each day during the Christmas delivery peak, a manifest of up to 1.6 million parcels was fed into our system which then created a workflow for each driver. Back office staff have access to dashboards and reports that give them visibility of drivers on the road, which enabled them to see any problems as they arose and to resolve issues in real time.
What’s next for retail logistics?
Online retail sales in the UK sales were up 12.1% on average year-on-year in 2017, and retail store footfall fell by 3.5% in December – the biggest decline in the past five years - as shoppers sought greater convenience, preferring to bargain hunt from the comfort of their homes. This trend is set to continue; the supply chain can look forward to more online shopping and higher delivery volumes in the coming year.
Hermes CEO Martijn de Lange said “In 2018, we will continue to further improve our understanding of our clients and their customers’ exact requirements and further invest in CX and technology to become the carrier of choice for every UK consumer.”
At Cognito iQ we’re already working on our plans to support Hermes in achieving their goals. With only 300 days to go till Christmas, there is no time to lose.