Who would have thought that the postal strikes would have brought more business for those doing haulage jobs while causing cash flow problems for many other types of business? These are just two of the outcomes after the fall out from postal strikes during 2013 across the UK, but as the future of the postal service remains unclear after privatisation, what does the future hold?
The knock on effect
The downside of the first two-day strike left a backlog of over five million postal items that needed transporting from one location to another, and the effect on businesses, particularly those where cash flow was already tight, was severe. Despite businesses having the opportunity to use online banking to send payments for work completed, many companies still use business cheque-books – even though they’ve given up a cheque-book, at home, for life. The old cliché suggesting that “the cheque is in the post” became true during the strike periods, and where haulage jobs needed paying for, money was often tied up within the postal service.
The first indication that freight companies need to move towards digital times and online banking is to ensure that checks and payments become streamlined prices, where money is transferred in just a few clicks. There is little doubt that many of those doing haulage jobs will only be accepting this method in the future.
Electronic trading can be seamless – from the order, through delivery and to the invoice, as well as approval and payment. It is an easy computer exercise and for individual owner drivers, a small software system is much easier to manage their cash flow and haulage jobs than by staying with cumbersome paper systems. The major of home and business delivery companies will accept a digital signature as proof of delivery of goods so that paperwork can be eliminated from the entire system.
For all businesses, cash flow is crucial to be able to continue trading from week to week, let alone month and year, so any method that ensures payment can be received easily is worth more than a simple consideration. If this moves administrative tasks away from the driver, they can get on with their business of transport and delivery.
It is to be expected that more people will move away from using the Royal Mail for both letters and packages in the near future. Moving parcels around the country may become an effective way to ensure that loads are always moving full and is an especially good way for drivers to procure business when it is difficult to fill empty loads.
Where freight companies can find any way to be more effective in the quality of their service and increased cash flow possibilities at the same time, the future looks good.