Editor's Comment

Yodel takes shoppers’ pulse, UPS plans more warehouses, DHL goes egg-chasing

We have a jam-packed newsletter this week. But before we get stuck into it, I’d like to ask you a question.

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?

One-in-three UK shoppers already have, according to research carried out for Yodel. The rest of you need to look lively – there’s only 85 to go. The same research found that a significant majority of shoppers in the UK plan to do at least half their Christmas shopping online.

Take those two points into consideration and you see – once again – lots of demand on the already stretched delivery network. You could, of course, accuse Yodel’s exec chairman, Dick Stead, of failing to pass the Mandy Rice-Davies test when it comes to the discussion of how well the UK delivery network will cope with the twin peaks of Black Friday and Christmas. But that would be a bit churlish.

Stead is quick to point out that something needs to change. In the almost-one-year-since-we-launched-eDelivery I haven’t spoken to anyone who disagrees with him on that point. It’s just the issue of what needs to change and how that no one can settle on unanimously.

One thing that UPS seems certain of is that it’s going to need a bigger warehouse – for its contract logistics operations, to be precise. It’s opened a new DC in the Midlands to service its retail customers, adding an additional 13,000m2 of warehouse space to its existing estate. Meanwhile the UKWA has warned that there is a shortage of investment in new state-of-the-art warehousing across the generality of the UK sector, as it published a report stating there’s too much sub-prime space and a lot of it will simply never be of any real use to anyone.

One of the other big carrier names, DHL, has announced that – in addition to its support for the Rugby World Cup – it is now extending its partnership with the Rugby Sevens Series.

And in a similarly up-beat mood, we bring you news of the opening of DPD’s new superhub in Leicestershire. It can handle 720,000 parcels a night and took just over a year to build at a cost of £100m.

The latest in our on-going series of mini-interviews with speakers from next month’s eDelivery Conference (EDC2015) is with Gerald Dawson from Weird Fish, a company that clearly puts a great deal of emphasis on looking after its customers, as you’ll find out when you read it.

If you like the idea of learning from other people, the approach Weird Fish takes to sorting out returns will interest you. And so, I expect, will the question of what the delivery world can learn from Uber. Is Uber really going to shape the next wave of innovation? Some people think it might. Johan Holgersson from Bring, which is part of Posten Norge, welcomes the disruption that Uber – and others – are causing.

Elsewhere on eDelivery we have an app and cameras for HGVs that can monitor intrusion into vehicles, which will go a long way to helping attest to drivers’ compliance where cross-channel vehicle checks are concerned. Not only could these help reduce the risk of fines, but it also negates the need for drivers to get out of the cab in less-than-ideal situations to check if anyone has gained entry unlawfully. Staying safe can only be a good thing.

Lets return quickly to the subject of EDC2015, which is only two weeks away and where I’m hoping to personally meet and chat to as many eDelivery readers as I can. You can find an overview of some of the speakers and themes you can look forward to here. And if you haven’t got a ticket you could still get lucky because we’re giving some away. But you need to get a move on – it’s a limited offer.

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