The effect of Coronavirus on the courier and delivery service industry.

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There are few industries that have thrived during the Coronavirus pandemic. However, together with the digital service industry, the delivery and courier industry has continued to grow. Whilst digital services such as Netflix have been saving us from boredom in lockdown, the delivery industry has remained essential in terms of keeping business moving, and in some cases, saving lives.

There have been some significant changes made in our industry as a result of Coronavirus, and we’re taking a look at just a few differences that have been implemented as we start to get back to normality.

Increased safety precautions.

Delivery drivers are classed as frontline workers. When you think of frontline workers you may think of carers or doctors, but delivery drivers count too. With an increased demand in online ordering, more deliveries are going out than normal, and delivery drivers have been working around the clock to ensure deliveries are made on time. Delivery drivers are coming into contact with numerous people and different households daily. As an industry, it’s our responsibility to make sure that keeping up with deliveries doesn’t mean our drivers or customers’ health is jeopardised.

The delivery industry has had to introduce new procedures in a very short space of time to ensure everyone can receive their deliveries safely. To avoid the spread of viruses through people using touchscreens to sign for deliveries, some couriers are now requiring delivery drivers to take photos of the item once delivered, instead of requesting an electronic signature of the customer. Drivers are also expected to keep 6 feet away from customers when dropping off a delivery, leaving it on a doorstep for example, instead of handing the delivery directly to the customer.

A surge in hires.

A surge in online shopping means a surge in job vacancies. With e-commerce booming, the shift from retail to online shopping means more delivery drivers are needed on the road to meet increased demand and keep up with deliveries.

Supermarkets have been hiring more employees than ever to be able to keep up with increased demand and a significant number of these roles have been delivery driver roles. This is where delivery drivers really do save lives. If you are self isolating and live alone, it would be impossible to get the essentials you need without having to venture out to the shop, risking the lives of others. Delivery drivers completely solve this issue being able to deliver supermarket orders safely and contact free to those in self isolation.

With lots of people being out of work as a result of the pandemic, the opportunity to become a delivery driver has also been a lifeline for some people when their previously secure job became redundant. Jason Manford even jumped at the chance to become a delivery driver, landing a job at Iceland.

Changes to stock and returns procedures.

Courier and delivery organisations rely on other businesses to ensure things run smoothly. With restrictions of all kinds being implemented in different countries worldwide, this has resulted in stock delivery delays or changes to procedures. This is due to multiple factors such as ports and airports going into lockdown and workers being put on furlough. With workers furloughed and ports closed, this can mean delays of stock deliveries causing a halt in the logistics chain.

When it comes to returning items, online retailers such as Pretty Little Thing have extended their returns policy so that customers can still receive their items, but have more time to send them back if they aren’t right. With post offices and delivery offices operating reduced hours and delivery drivers working flat out, this means that safety precautions can be adhered to whilst ensuring business can still operate as close to normal.

What does all this mean going forward?

Coronavirus has been tough on many industries, and whilst some have been hit harder than others, everyone has felt the change.

As an industry, we feel lucky that we have been able to operate throughout. We’ve also become a crucial part of people’s everyday lives during lockdown, delivering goods to those self isolating, making sure our supermarkets are stocked up and even delivering gifts to loved ones for birthdays, anniversaries and other occasions when festivities have had to be postponed. However, as lockdown is eased and we start to return to normal, the courier service industry is still making deliveries as safe as possible. It’s safe to say that as more people than ever have opened their eyes to ordering online, the increased demand is here to stay and we look forward to everyone seeing more of our delivery drivers out and about as we move forward into the ‘new normal’.

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