A courier for a week – What I learnt from spending time on the road.
Last week, Bustle was involved in the distribution of books around the Perth metro area amidst a highly-anticipated book launch. The requirement – to deliver over 2,500 books all over Perth from Two Rocks to Pinjarra in under one week. Being a sensitive project, I decided to get out on the road and oversee the distribution and get a little hands-on. Despite my experience in transport, I was in for some surprises being out on the road.
Here is what I learnt in the last week.
- Being a driver means LONG days – In transport, 14 hour days in the office aren’t uncommon, but being on the road is a completely different kind of tired. Traffic, other drivers and weather means being alert at all times. I fully understand and appreciate the importance of breaks, getting out to stretch your legs whilst belting out some tunes to keep you motivated throughout the day.
- The importance of taking ample food and drinks with you – Being on the road you realise how few healthy food options you have available. In addition, you are so busy there is often not time to make these stops. Making sure you have plenty of food and water with you minimises the stops you need to make as well as falling for an unhealthy option that will more than likely make you feel lethargic on the road.
- The difference good preparation can make – Often routes are planned by an office and the accuracy of that plan can be the difference between a good and bad day. The better the plan and online smarts used, the smoother the day. I am sure we have all experienced stressed metro drivers before, remember that they may be the product of a poor operational/planning system.
- Some suburbs are HUGE – From being a transport co-ordinator for so many years, I never fully understood why drivers would make a point of mentioning added drops to their runs that were in the same suburbs. After driving from one side of a suburb to the other I realise it can take well over 15 minutes with bad traffic. Coupled with having to drive over main roads or highways, this is not an easy task.
- Not all houses are numbered – Due to most of the deliveries being in residential areas, I struggled to find more than a few houses as they were not numbered. If you are someone who gets lots of home deliveries, I HIGHLY recommend ensuring that your letterbox or house is clearly numbered to make it a little easier for the courier drivers and to ensure your package gets delivered to the correct address.
- Be kind to your delivery driver – Chances are they are on a tight schedule and have been on the road all day. They are just part of the chain that ensures you get the package. If something is late or damaged, it may have had nothing to do with them. A simple thank you from the recipient makes a world of difference.
The time I spent on the road was a real eye opener to see what courier drivers go through on a daily basis week, in week out. With the number of variables that are involved in supply chain it is easy to see why this market is so competitive and demanding.
I was lucky enough to be on the receiving end of some VERY happy customers and even got a few hugs which was much appreciated during the long days. Happy Bustling!