E-commerce and the logistics market has been growing by leaps and bounds, and has improved considerably over recent years. The businesses that provided seemingly simple services, such as parcel delivery, have had to undergo several stages of business development in a relatively short period of time, while learning a number of lessons related to customer service, employer image and internal processes. Although we started as just a parcel service five years ago, we have now become a sophisticated delivery service platform that operates on an international scale.
Importance of feedback
In five years, the Venipak company has grown by one and a half times, as our number of employees has doubled and our turnover has grown by 150%. Naturally, we have learned a lot through first-hand experience, but in recent years the unforeseen surge in growth was driven by the pandemic. Even before that, we began asking for feedback from our major customers in order to decide how to improve our internal processes and service quality. We underwent a technological renewal and reorganised our internal processes in the space of just one year. It took the same amount of time to change our employees’ perception of the importance of customer service – one of the most important indicators in the e-commerce sector.
First of all, we worked hard to change the delivery drivers’ understanding about their role in the service they provide. We kept explaining that it isn’t “no problem” if a delivery does not arrive on time. We also improved our internal processes to ensure error-free sorting and Swiss-watch precision in relation to night transfers. Identifying the appropriate KPIs has been a major impetus for improving our tracking processes. Again the KPIs were developed through trial and error, but they were fully employed within a year. Among the other indicators, the one receiving the focus of our attention at the moment is the fulfilment of our promises. We aim to deliver 99.8% of our parcels in the Baltic region on time.
For quite a while, we have also been the tracking performance indicators for our delivery drivers at the highest management level. This not only allows us to pursue our goals, but also to take prompt action when we see a negative development. With this approach, we can maintain a stable indicator. Year after year, our delivery drivers have been rated at 4.8 out of a possible 5. We offer this feedback as a way of motivating our staff and rewarding them for a job well done, and on the other hand, to keep working to improve the quality of their service. Since we have the ability to see how a particular delivery driver is doing, if the performance deteriorates, we first invest in updating our staff’s knowledge. For this, we have introduced coaching practices and ongoing training programmes.
By now, our business customers all know that a logistics company operates like an extension of an e-commerce business, that allows the store to physically “meet” their customers. If the last link in the fulfilment of an order is not managed correctly, the whole image of that business can suffer. Thus, it’s essential to provide neat and helpful delivery drivers and clean cars. Another important process, and one that is less talked about, is the percentage of promises fulfilled. This is the extent to which a logistics company delivers the parcels correctly and on time, and how it manages its internal processes.
There are also KPIs that need to be followed, although they are not on the customer’s mind. In simple terms, if only 90 out of 100 parcels are delivered correctly, this means that the business customer will have an additional 10 problems to solve and the same number of dissatisfied customers. To manage these processes, we use special transportation equipment, as well as investing in automation, educating our customers on how to properly prepare their shipments and continuously improving the efficiency of our Help Centre.
Creating added value for customers
In e-commerce, speed matters – and we are speedy. We deliver within 24 hours to anywhere in the Baltics, even the remotest location. On the other hand, a standard delivery service has become the norm. Now, we need to think about the needs of our future customers.
We have already realised that those involved in e-commerce are willing to accept innovation. We were the first to introduce contactless pickup from self-service parcel terminals. This has reduced the time it takes to collect a parcel from 30 seconds to just 3 seconds. This change was particularly welcomed by customers during the pandemic.
We spent two years looking for a satisfactory aviation concept and we noticed that in this market, a plane will normally only leave the ground when it has a customer, but there is no stable flight that maintains its periodicity and is fully predictable for customers. In other words, no existing service was accessible to medium-sized businesses. We therefore decided to risk taking the Baltic market as a test case, where we offered the cargo space on board to more than one customer. Of course, there were concerns about what we would do if there was no interest in this service, but the next day we had a full plane. We are currently focused in further developing this service concept and are working in parallel with other airlines to provide a mediation service.
Today, I can say that we have found the answer to creating added value for our customers. It is necessary to develop an extensive logistics network, automate and extend the e-fulfilment service to reach other countries, and ensure all the logistics and delivery services are available from a single supplier. With our first mile, we can transport cargo by plane to and from any country in the world. We can also to store goods in our e-fulfilment warehouses and provide a comprehensive fulfilment service. Finally, we offer the last mile delivery to the end customer. A simplified process with one partner means there are fewer mistakes, leading to a better rate of customer satisfaction. This is the first version of the comprehensive Venipak platform.
Today, at a time when geopolitical circumstances are shaping the strategies of many businesses, our team has maintained a positive attitude. Of all the possible scenarios – growth, stagnation or decline – we see moderate growth as the most likely outcome. We are therefore continuing to plan for growth and investment, with a focus on business sustainability and operational diversification.