Managing Peak 2020

With 2020 eCommerce volumes already at 2019 peak levels how best to manage cross-border peak this year?

Five key questions to ask your eCommerce transit provider…

There are going to be challenges for cross-border markets this peak.  Not many passenger planes are flying and this could make it more difficult than usual to get goods abroad in a timely and cost-effective fashion.  This is something to think about as there are some important considerations with preparations for cross-border peak under way.  Here are five key questions to ask:

Does your carrier have access to multiple airlines?

With passenger volume scarce and dedicated cargo flights full of PPE and other Covid related materials it can be challenging to get uplift.  With many traditional eCommerce transport operators this causes mayhem with goods held up in warehouses or on the tarmac waiting to travel.  Check that your carrier has plans to manage the situation.

Does your carrier have a variety of gateway options?

Particularly with larger destination countries, like the US and Australia there can be last-mile congestion.  Often your goods are being injected into local courier or postal networks and these get full of domestic as well as international parcels.  It is important to check that your carrier is actively monitoring last mile performance and that they have the ability to switch gateway airports and/or last mile provision to respond to changing conditions

Can your carrier track parcels end-to-end?

Customer service is paramount to drive forward sales and repeat purchases.  It is vital that customers can get ready access to information about when their parcel is arriving.  This is especially important at peak when timing for gifts or event specific purchases are on the rise.  May carriers lose sight of parcels between your warehouse and entry into the last mile in the destination country.  This is really bad as problems cannot be identified early and customers are left ‘hanging’ waiting for information.  Check that your carrier is able to track parcel level data at every key stage of the journey.

Can your carrier flexibly sort and route your parcels?

One of the worst things that can happen in cross-border transit is that your parcels are stuck on a pre-planned route as soon as they leave your facility and there is no way to adapt to changing conditions.  It is important to check that your carrier is able to easily sort and route your parcels via the most effective route and to the most appropriate last mile before they leave the country.  Sometimes these decisions have to be made last minute based on freight capacity on different lanes, customs conditions at the receiving airport or last mile congestion.  Check your carrier can respond flexibly to changing conditions.

Will your carrier keep a close eye on performance and tell you when there are issues?

Too often in the peak season large volumes of parcels get stuck even before they leave the country.  It is not uncommon for carriers to turn a blind eye to these issues and keep customers in the dark.  It is vital to check that your carrier has a full handle on what is happening at every stage and is set up to inform you as soon as anything goes wrong.  Because it will!  During peak there are always issues but it is the response to those issues that is most important.  Check you are going to get ongoing updates and immediate notification of issues.