So, what about some good old empirical courier work? There was that too, of course, at The Delivery Conference 2018. It’s just that everyone gets so revved up speaking about Amazon that you sometimes forget you’re there to discover if something new has actually come up in the delivery sector.
Hermes’ Martijn de Lange illustrated 2018 as the year of “Wow” (as their new flyer ecstatically announces): an £18 million investment to launch Britain’s leading popular-priced courier into the high-tech rodeo, both in outbound and inbound (see: returns). We’ll get a brand new website and app, all focused on giving more control to the customer, thanks to notifications, shortened ETA’s (2hrs) and the chance to change our minds up until the day of delivery. Services that are similar to those being offered by DPD and DHL at the higher spectrum of their rooster (together with nominated day and hour) but that Hermes promises to offer at far friendlier prices.
Patrick Gallagher of On the Dot, part of Citysprint Group, swaggered onstage knowing well he’s the go-to guy when it comes to same-day deliveries. And not only same-day, because nominated day and hour is the new same-day, so On the Dot has become the Santa Claus of planning: 1-2-4 hour delivery slots on the day of your choice, live track map, SMS updates and basically everything we at Milkman do in Milan, Rome and Bologna, Italy (but they’re crowdsourced, we’re not, so we’re cooler) (just joking).
The only panel in the main theatres dedicated to startups saw representatives from Stuart, Brisqq, Localz, Exaactly and What Three Words promote their products to the bigger audience. This time there wasn’t a gorilla in the room but surely an elephant stood hidden behind the curtains: so many startups are crowdsourced but none really wanted to address what Mr Hausmann of McKinsey & Co said a few hours before. Basically that they’re doomed because their on-demand services are economically unsustainable. Harsh but … kind of true.
Clare Jones, and I write this as a happily married man and father, could sell vodka to the Russians, no surprise W3W is faring so well, to the point of being Mercedes Benz’s new vocally activated navigation system.
I tried very hard to be in two places at the same time but for some reason, I couldn’t, so I guess a lot of interesting stuff got lost on me.
Some random notes: Sebastian Steinhauser, managing director of Parcelly, (and I write this as a happily married man and father) is an incredibly good-looking man, and should work in Hollywood not logistics. We’re both (Milkman and Parcelly) currently employing the rare talent of free-lance writer Sean Fleming for our blogs but I fear I don’t stand a chance against Steinhauser’s charm.
Ian Kerr, of the unmissable Postal Hub Podcast, managed to talk with about 1000 people more than I.
I’ll leave you with some interesting slides on the state of the UK’s delivery market (leaders by niche and followers) provided by the always remarkable Apex Insight, in the person of a true gentleman, Frank Proud.