How do you do home delivery of a washing machine in a Covid-19 world?

So, it is pretty well documented that those of us involved in e-commerce and home delivery have benefited from an increase in online shopping during this pandemic. As a result, despite the massive changes that we have had to implement to keep our people and customers safe, and the subsequent knock effect this has had on operating costs, at ArrowXL we are in good shape.

And we are grateful that we have been able to continue to provide work for so many people during these uncertain times. In fact, one of the main challenges have been around how to handle the increase in volumes – which in some ways is a nice problem to have – certainly better than the alternative (although ask me that again after peak!).

You will therefore be pleased to read that this isn’t a ‘lockdown whinge’ – we know we are way luckier than many – but more a shout out to the brilliant teams we have and the delivery crews that are facing new challenges every day.

Our business isn’t like your average parcel delivery company that handles small items that can be left on people’s doorsteps and easily delivered ‘contact free’. Our challenges are far more complex and demanding.

As a two-person home delivery company handling large items like sofas and fridge freezers we actually need to deliver into consumers’ homes and unpack or install their new purchases.

There were a few weeks at the start of lockdown when, as part of government guidelines, we did actually just have to leave things on the doorstep. This was incredibly frustrating for the customer who was having to find a YouTube tutorial on how to plumb in a washing machine or having to lug a large piece of furniture up a narrow flight of stairs.

It also didn’t sit well with our delivery crews particularly when the customers were elderly, vulnerable or living alone, but our hands were tied and at least the instructions were clear cut.

As lockdown eased across the UK we were trying hard to resume a ‘new normal’ service, wherever possible, albeit with appropriate checks and social distancing and for a while things were a bit easier. That is until the new rules came into force with different regional requirements which are at best confusing, making our desire to give our delivery crews clear support and advice virtually impossible.

It doesn’t help that the householders are often confused too! Collections from consumers remain problematic due to the possibility of Covid-19 contamination. They require dedicated routes and training.

To clarify – there are different rules regarding entering households in Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland and within each of these countries there are different rules in different areas and even within postcodes. Some of our delivery rounds cross country borders and we regularly move between lockdown and non-lockdown areas often separated by just one street. And it is changing weekly.

We are doing what we can and our crews have to undertake a dynamic and Covid-19 risk assessment for every delivery. We ensure that every delivery crew has all the PPE required and as much up to date information as we have. We then rely on them to assess every single delivery point.

The crews understand the questions to ask and the right steps to take but it is a lot of additional responsibility. Because of that variable delivery point requirement, efficient route planning is incredibly difficult.

Most consumers are understanding but others simply aren’t, and we receive a lot of flak both face to face as well as on social media. Despite this our crews have been simply amazing and continue to deliver to the highest standards, making sure they protect themselves and protect consumers on every single drop.

It now looks like the next six months will be as challenging as the last and that we will see more local lockdowns. Thank goodness our front-line colleagues are as smart and dedicated as they are.

Charlie Shiels, CEO, ArrowXL

The post How do you do home delivery of a washing machine in a Covid-19 world? appeared first on Motor Transport.

So, it is pretty well documented that those of us involved in e-commerce and home delivery have benefited from an increase in online shopping during this pandemic. As a result, despite the massive changes that we have had to implement to keep our people and customers safe, and the subsequent knock effect this has had on operating costs, at ArrowXL we are in good shape. And we are grateful that we have been able to continue to provide work for […]
The post How do you do home delivery of a washing machine in a Covid-19 world? appeared first on Motor Transport.Read More

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