Delivering against the odds, to keep SA’s economy on the road
Doing business in South Africa has long been a challenge for the bravest and boldest brands and businesses, with the last few years serving up a particularly diverse set of obstacles for local commerce to overcome. Between the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions, ongoing power outages, extreme weather events and road closure caused by a myriad of different reasons, South Africans’ adaptability and determination to overcome the odds has truly shone through, despite everything that’s gone on around them.
We’ve seen this spirit shine through across our diverse clients, and it both mirrors and inspires DPD Laser’s commitment to make sure that the economic activity that is key to our country’s future is possible across every city, town, and settlement – no matter how remote. Whether this is by making sure that consumers in remote areas can purchase the items they need online, and have them delivered with a few days, or whether it’s enabling remote crafters to sell their goods via the power of the internet, parcel delivery services like ours truly are enablers of the economy of the future.
That’s why we are so determined to complete deliveries on time and in full – no matter how the odds are stacked against that happening. While we consistently deliver on time and in full 98% of the time, with a first-time delivery rate of as high as 93%, there are often obstacles in the way. However, we’ve got a range of strategies to deal with them – in true South African ‘make a plan’ style!
Tapping tech to be on time
When the real-world environment can be unpredictable, it’s time to turn to technology for help – and pre-delivery notifications give end-customers the reminder that they need to be available on a certain day to accept their parcel, with the unique option to reschedule, by simply clicking on their sms link, should they choose to.
It’s also possible for our account holders to set up one-time personal identification number (OTP) enabled deliveries, adding an extra layer of security for high-value items, and ensuring that the intended end-customer really is the one receiving the package.
Our hijacking prevention system also depends on technology, with trackers on each vehicle making sure that we’ve got digital sight of every truck or delivery vehicle on the road, keeping our drivers and the goods they’re stewarding safe from crime. In the rare instances that vehicles are taken, our support teams find them quickly, and get the deliveries back on the road, so that the end-customer’s expectations are still met.
With delivery companies like ours truly squaring economic activity, regardless of location, our delivery experts do need to go into areas that are deemed vulnerable or unsafe. Our technology, and our relationships with security providers, make sure that we’re aware of these, and that we can provide our drivers with the protection they need to get their job of delivering packages to the intended recipients, done.
While our delivery experts’ vehicles also known as their offices – aren’t affected by loadshedding, their efficiency on the roads certainly is, with failed traffic lights causing unusual congestion that slows them down combined with disrupted mobile phone coverage complicating the ability to reach intended recipients. While GPS solutions can track this congestion and suggest alternate routes, there’s nothing quite like a local person’s knowledge of alternate routes in an area to dodge the loadshedding drama.
That’s why we partner with local driver microentrepreneurs across the country. Not only is our business supporting these small business owners, but we’re also drawing on their local knowledge to boost efficiency and on-time delivery.
The other benefit – for us and for end-customers – is that they meet and get to know the people within their areas, meaning that they’re familiar with each recipient’s needs. This is particularly important for the more than 35 000 end-customers who receive life-saving medication via our delivery network each month, as our drivers get to know their needs, and purposefully reach out to ensure that deliveries are made exactly when they’re expected. These regular customers also cherish these relationships, and often prepare coffee or snacks for their favourite delivery driver when they know they’re on the way!
The importance of this local knowledge was also highlighted in the recent Eastern Cape floods, when road signs and markings were washed away – but our delivery experts knew where to go because they really do know the area like the proverbial backs of their hands!
The drivers are the heroes
Delivery drivers really do go through the most: each day involves an early start to get to the DPD Laser depot early enough to collect packages and get out there on the road. Once they’re out there, they’re faced with wild weather, bad roads, security challenges, and loadshedding traffic – they really do run a gauntlet of obstacles at every turn.
However, they’re determined to get every package in their care into the hands of the intended end-customer, and they do it with a friendly smile from their spotless vehicle, regardless of the challenges they’ve overcome on the way to do so.
That’s why we salute each and every driver in the DPD Laser environment: each one embodies our commitment to deliver against all the odds, playing a real and meaningful role in keeping the country’s commerce moving forward. DM