Another good question from Jeff who ask what’s your vision for the diamond future?
Here’s the thing – I’ve been in the industry nearly 30 years now – as have many of you reading this – and it’s changed over the years. It’s had to because technology has evolved and has eliminated or massively shifted our market and we’ve had to move quick to survive or indeed thrive.
First it was the fax – I remember in 1992 when we lost our first job to a client said – don’t worry I’ll fax it! Technology was already making it mark.
Then there was the wider adoption of the ISDN – which made artwork and other documents like that transferable online. And as the Internet and email was more widely adopted from 1996 onwards another element of the same day courier markets went. Then came the rise of the overnight carriers, driving revenues further away from same day and moving into consolidated lower cost delivery. And then secure document distribution which lost many a London courier 100’s of jobs a day from the legal and banking industry. And then there was Y2K which eliminated many a DOS based despatch system, driving some into liquidation.
There’s’ also been lots of consolidation in the overnight carrier market too – with acquisitions, mergers and increased specialisations. So even if you were a member of a network you needed additional logistics support if you wanted to adopt to your client’s very wide range of logistics needs. And same day has changed with all the online direct courier marketplaces eroding local courier company margins exponentially.
But from all of these challenges opportunities arose too – and if you’ve survived 30 years you’ll know some of us joined overnight networks, some got involved in technology, some looked at diversification into fulfilment. Some of these ventures were successful, many weren’t – but the key success factors were in looking into the future and anticipating where opportunity lay, and to keep up with technology and new business models so your competitors didn’t snatch market advantage – and of course you could keep you ever increasing running costs low.
And then the HUGE consumer shift started from high street to online retail and the market shifted again. And we started buying online. No more shopping. Yay! And once upon a time we were happy with 3 – 5 days delivery. Now 24 hours has us looking impatiently at our tracking number seeing where our delivery is. And the next stage will be same day delivery.
So what did a modern logistics company need? It needed to be able to have a same day function. It need to have a wide range of overnight distribution solutions. It needs to minimise it capital expenditure and its people costs. It needs to have future focus on fulfilment as the consumer boom in online retail continues. Its needs to be technology based.
Which is where our big vision lies. By creating our unique combination of same day couriers, multi carrier solutions and local fulfilment backed by despatchlab – our one stop logistics platform – diamond combines all the functionality a local logistics business needs to build its local client base. Which is stage one in any successful diamond franchise – build your local client base.
But stage two – and this is where it gets really interesting – is when we have a network of 80-100 diamond sites around the UK. Because we will be uniquely positioned to create a nationwide ability to delivery same day UK wide.
So there’s the big picture. We want to equip local logistics entrepreneurs with everything they need to create a profitable business and provide their local businesses with what they needs to thrive. And then when we have this national infrastructure we will open up the opportunity to delivery same day to however wishes to take advantage of this unique market position.
If you want to know how our local fulfilment centres can predict what will be required same day Amazon now – with its clever algorithms assessment of marketing, postings, online advertising and the proviso days purchase can predict 70-80% of what will be ordered the next day. And others will catch up. So this 70-80% can be delivered to our local depots – and then despatched same day to clients.
(FYI - Amazon filed for the patent, known as "method and system for anticipatory package shipping,” in 2012 - the patent summary describes a method for shipping a package of one or more items "to the destination geographical area without completely specifying the delivery address at time of shipment," with the final destination defined en route. Other retailers are following closely behind).
This is the plan. So we are doing this is two steps. Number one – build network of local fulfilment centres with same day, overnight and international delivery ability. Step Two – offer up our national (and eventually international) network up to all those wanting to get to their customer first with same day delivery.
I hope this gives clarity of our big vision. We aim to twin innovation with our collective hundreds of year’s of experience to provide a sustainable network. To deliver.