Editor's Comment

Editor’s column: whether the weather be fine, or whether the weather is not

In recent weeks, we’ve had Black Friday, Christmas and now, if the Met Office is to be believed, the weather is about to take a turn for the worst. Who knows, by now you might even be watching it snow.

Since eDelivery went live I’ve had the good fortune to be able to talk to a good many people from the retail logistics world, and the weather has come up in conversation several times.

“You think the Black Friday fall out was bad?” they’ve said, with a knowing tone of voice. “Just you wait ‘til it snows. Then you’ll see.” All very doom and gloom.

But at least it there are travel and transport problems, fewer people will be out at work during the day, meaning there won’t be so many missed deliveries. Silver linings, and all that. No?

The thing is, whether we’re a nation of shopkeepers, or a nation of online shoppers, we are becoming increasingly dependent on slick, efficient delivery services; a successful, vibrant online economy still needs boxes, packaging, people, warehousing and vehicles. Until such time as we all start 3D-printing our purchases at home, that’s not about to change any time soon as research from Postcode Anywhere tells us.

Of course, there is a lot that can be done to innovate, and there’s news this week about one carrier (DPD) doing just that. There are plenty of opportunities to use data more effectively across your supply chain and eliminate wastage and inefficiency, which is a theme we’ll be exploring later in the week.

We can’t do a great deal about the weather though. Whether it’s snow drifts or floods, there’s always a risk of disruption at this time of year.

But keeping your customers well informed of any weather-related delays can go a long way to maintaining trust and that all important customer relationship. To do that means you’re going to need the right people, the right processes and the right technology – and an ongoing commitment to maintaining them.