Thursday 29th Sep 2016 - Logistics Manager

Delivery specialists prepare for 30pc Black Friday uplift

Home delivery specialists have been setting out their strategies for dealing with Black Friday amid predictions that the peak could be 30 per cent higher than last year.

Dick Stead, executive chairman of Yodel, said: “With 2015 due to see even greater volumes than last year, there is no doubt that we as an industry, are facing a big challenge, but we’ve been working closely with retailers and our plans are in place to process record volumes of parcels this year.”

Yodel highlights IMRG predictions that consumer spending will be 32 per cent up on Black Friday last year, while DPD is planning for a 30 per cent increase in parcel volumes compared to last year.

New research from Hermes shows that 94 per cent of UK consumers will be taking advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, compared to 57 per cent last year. The survey reveals that clothes are the most sought after discount product at 41 per cent, followed by CDs and DVDs at 33 per cent and books at 24 per cent.

MetaPack, the delivery technology platform, is predicting a shift in delivery patterns this year. It expects orders to hit record numbers over the Black Friday weekend and parcel volumes to reach twice their average weekly rates as a result.

But it anticipates that sustained high volumes will run throughout December with a second delivery peak forecast to reach the highest numbers immediately after the Christmas break and before New Year.

“We can see already that retailers have adopted new strategies and are putting in place mechanisms that will help to spread the delivery load over a much longer period of time. This will avoid the unnecessary pressure on logistics and courier services immediately following Black Friday and the Christmas/Boxing Day sales,” said chief product officer Kees de Vos.

A study by Experian & IMRG last month forecast big increases in sales over the peak period:

Black Friday, 27th Nov: £1.07bn – up 32 per cent on last year

Cyber Monday, 30th Nov: £943m – up 31 per cent

Manic Monday, 7th Dec: £733m – up 10 per cent

Christmas Day, 25th Dec: £728m – up 11 per cent

Boxing Day, 26th Dec: £856m – up 22 per cent

New Year’s day, 1st Jan: £638m – up 33 per cent

Yodel has invested £20 million in 2015 launching a new web site with user friendly parcel tracking, as well as investing in mechanical handling, sorting equipment, training and fleet to improve efficiency.

It has been working with retail clients to agree in advance the number of parcels it will accept into its network each day and is also placing limits on its next day delivery capacity.

It is also introducing new trailer loading plans for clients, to ensure that parcels are clearly segregated by service type at point of source, to increase efficiency at sort.

For the peak, the company is bringing 200 additional HGVs and 500 additional trailers into its transport operation to move parcels from retailers’ warehouses to its central sorts, and then onto its local service centres for onward delivery. Recruitment of 7,000 additional people to assist in the peak season is also on-going, with a particular focus on final mile drivers and couriers.

DPD has just opened its new sorting hub at Hinckley which it says will increase its capacity by 65 per cent. It has also recruited 950 permanent drivers as well as opening four “super-depots”.

CEO Dwain McDonald: “We’ve been talking in detail with our customers, who include many of the biggest retailers in the country, and it is clear that from Black Friday, right through to the January sales, this year is going to break all records for online shopping. For us, that means millions of parcels that have to be delivered, right first time.

“For me the key to handling volume is around being more efficient. The latest fully automated hubs and depots help us manage higher volumes in the network, while being a seven day a week operation means we are constantly moving everything through the system avoiding build-ups over the weekend. Out on the road, we’ll send over 50 million advanced notifications during Peak, and the real time responses our drivers receive from recipients mean that before they attempt a delivery, they already know who’s in or out and what they want us to do with their parcel, which saves a huge amount of time.”