Retailers Need Careful Logistics Planning To Meet Demand In 2015

Mark Pettit, Sales & Marketing Director, Hermes

23rd January 2015

As the last of the festive lights decorating our high streets are being taken down, and the forlorn and dishevelled Christmas tree sits unceremoniously at the bottom of the garden, the Hermes team is already busily preparing plans for the peak season of 2015.

Planning for 2015 peaks

There might be 335 days to go until Christmas, but with every year that goes by the peak season starts slightly earlier – largely due to the UK’s recent adoption of US-focused ‘holidays’ such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Consequently, we use the first few months of the year to analyse our methods and streamline our processes in order to satisfy our commitment to constant improvement and exceptional service.

Therefore, I thought I’d share some of our analytics based around our performance and service levels during the peak season, which for the sake of this post can be considered to run from the last week of November to the end of December.

Surviving the Christmas rush

Overall, Hermes enjoyed a very successful peak period processing 24.4 million parcels in total, which represented a year-on-year rise of 15% and surpassed the average industry growth of 11.6%.

Over the course of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend, we handled 3.7 million parcels, which was up a whopping 49% on the previous year, highlighting the huge emphasis retailers are currently placing on those days to market products, reduce prices and ultimately attract new customers.

In terms of volumes the biggest week was the week commencing December 8, when we processed 6.9 million parcels (up 27%).

Millions in a night

Last year, we strengthened our network by opening our fully automated flagship hub in Warrington in May, and as a result we have comfortably coped with this significant growth in volumes.

During the peak season of 2013 there was a ‘champagne’ moment when we processed more than a million parcels in one night for the first time.

During last month we achieved this feat on nine separate occasions, which is a testimony to the dedication and hard work of the Hermes team and the ongoing investment by the board to develop the network.

But of course a successful peak season cannot be solely judged on volumes and must consider customer satisfaction.

Earlier this month, TLF Research conducted a survey of 1,935 UK shoppers to determine which retailer offered the best delivery experience during the recent Christmas period. We were proud to learn that Asda, Boots and Debenhams made up the top three – all of which we deliver parcels for.

A recent IMRG report stated that, for the first time ever, UK consumers spent more than £100bn online during 2014, with more than £810m spent on Black Friday alone.

It is also predicted that online sales will jump a further 15% this year so it is crucial for the delivery industry to meet this challenge head-on, and to start drawing up those plans sooner rather than later.