The Future of….Deliveries
– by Santi Clores, CEO, World’s Largest Delivery Company
Every few years, someone asks me whether technology affects my business.
The truth is that it doesn’t.
Every year, at around this sort of time, we receive literally millions of orders. Typically, those orders will be placed in writing, and the vast majority will be in the form of a (badly) handwritten list or letter: addressed to me personally. Moreover, because our customer base is so global, the orders come in all sorts of different languages.
Over many years, we have honed processes and systems to deal with it all. Don’t get me wrong: it’s hard work, but it’s all manageable. In large part, that is down to our incredible workforce, of whom I am extremely proud. They believe in our mission and are so committed and loyal.
The seasonality of our work means that it doesn’t suit everyone. We work very intensively during October, November and especially December but during the remainder of the year employees are free to choose how to spend their time, as long it fits with our overall purpose as a business. We call this system Employee Labour Flexibility (E.L.F. for short).
The real challenge is ensuring that everything that gets to the right place, at the right time – and all within the same 24 hour period (except, interestingly, in my native Spain where orders can take up to two weeks longer to arrive). In this respect, I am very hands on, and undertake most of the deliveries myself, with support from a team of specially trained, trusted animals.
One of the quirks of our customers is that they ask that we deliver presents inside their houses, but without using the front door – or even alerting them to our presence. However, they are often thoughtful enough to leave us a bite to eat, which makes all the difference on the longer journeys.
Naturally, given the millions of orders that we process we do end up making the odd mistake. Some customers are disappointed and that is, of course, immensely regrettable. Whilst we cannot, as a matter of policy, deal with returns ourselves we do have partnership arrangements with a host of retailers around the world who act as our agents in this respect.
It would be foolish to suggest that technology will never impact our business. It’s just that, for now, our system works. And I’m a big believer in ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.
So for now, and at least for us, the future of deliveries looks a lot like the past – and we quite like it that way.
– with thanks to the author, Santiago Clores, CEO at World’s Biggest Delivery Company