What should South Africans know, and expect, when a parcel arrives at their door?
The courier industry was thrust into the spotlight recently after eNCA reported that a jogger had discovered hundreds of COVID-19 test kits dumped on the N2 in the Eastern Cape. The company transporting the goods was prosecuted, and found to be negligent for putting lives at risk, highlighting the associated hazards and drastic impact the pandemic has had on the economic landscape.
However, for South Africans staying indoors, the online retail industry has exploded, with an increase in business to business courier services and international logistics surging to meet demand.
"We have seen our e-commerce revenue more than double. But that comes with responsibility – not just to ensure the parcel arrives safely, and on time – but ensuring that there are added safeguards to protect the lives of both our drivers and our customers," explains Hilton Eachus, Chief Customer Officer at DPD Laser t/a Dawn Wing.
He adds, "Those that get up every day to provide frontline services to the public are heroes, and each party in any transactional environment needs to respect the space and distance of the other, whether that be at the supermarket till, or at one’s front gate receiving a parcel. While we need to respect social distancing, we also need to consider 'transactional distancing' with regard to the personal space of those we are serving, whether that be a delivery driver, a petrol pump attendant or a cashier. Many people squirm when they have to touch a credit card machine, knowing that many people have touched it before them. With technology that doesn't have to be the case," adds Eachus.
He outlines a list of measures that South Africans should know when receiving a parcel, not only from a COVID-19 standpoint, but also from a security perspective. Any quality parcel express company should send you a photo of the driver and the registration plates of the vehicle. "This is how Uber has always operated, and Dawn Wing employs this type of technology, critical to personal, business and home safety, in this strange new normal we find ourselves in," Eachus adds.
Dawn Wing proposes seven health and safety measures:
Delivery drivers must wear a mask and sanitise their hands on arrival
The driver should place the parcel on the recipient’s doorstep and stand two metres back
The driver will ask for the recipient’s name and record it on a handheld device, and with permission, will take a photo of the premises
The driver will then ask for permission to email a link to the recipient to sign for the parcel, and will confirm their cellphone number
The recipient clicks on the link, which opens a screen that displays three options:
Sign on the customer's own screen
Then ‘quick tap’ to confirm receipt of the parcel
Or there’s an option to query the delivery, which will trigger a call from a call centre to resolve the matter
The recipient clicks ‘submit’ on their screen
The driver receives a confirmation and departs
"We are taking time to share this information because it can be overlooked. Many forget that when e-commerce booms, so does the express parcel industry – we are the ones fulfilling the logistics. Buying online still means receiving the parcel. This brings into the spotlight the education of consumers, in terms of quality assurance, and the highest levels of attention to hygiene and safety. Right now, people just want to know their parcel will arrive safely, on time, through a trusted supplier." "Consistency and reliability are the foundations of good express parcels business. While Dawn Wing stands out due to its world-class technological infrastructure, it still comes down to the intelligence and commitment of your team to do the basics right and deliver on every promise. That's where we place a significant amount of our time and energy – in our people," Eachus concludes.