20 December 2021

Groundhog Year?

About this time last year, we looked back on 2020 and said, As we come to the end of 2020, we are still to find out if our attempt to isolate ourselves in a bubble, separate and distant from the rest of the world, can work. With the help of real science (vaccines) we may yet get away with it and make 2021 a year to remember. Let's hope so.”

So much for those hopes. Politicians and bureaucrats do not seem to have prepared that well for future waves. Maybe they reckoned there was no need, given the apparent success of their ‘world-leading’ elimination strategy. Last year, we also said, “It is easy to criticise the Government for […] missteps, but we must forgive them, for they knew not what they were doing.” This year, we are not quite so forgiving.

On a positive note, our colleagues at DSL were amazing. They coped with wild fluctuations in volumes of work and managed to complete jobs no more than one or two days from the KPI targets. By contrast, at least one of our major competitors is running three and a half weeks behind. Couriers are having trouble scaling up to meet demand and their delays in delivery appear to be increasing.

Another positive note is that our clients were also amazing, both in their resilience and forbearance. By that we mean that none have gone out of business, and we have not received complaints about the small delays in meeting targets. Thank you. We decided to remove the “KPIs Suspended, Best Endeavours” Covid disclaimer from our portal by the end of this month and will return to aim for the usual KPI of at least 98% on-target.

We too have learned something, so we refrain from making hopeful predictions for 2022. We do, however, note that even the worst plagues in history came to an end, usually within two years of the outbreak. What we can assure you is that we will continue to aim to keep business – yours and ours – running as best we can. We thank you for your continued support and wish you a great Christmas and a better New Year.

Daniel Silva

08 December 2021

Our Heads Are Up In The Clouds

We have just finished migrating our main servers to the cloud, hosted by Microsoft on their Azure platform. This means that our file, email, data, web, and other servers no longer live in the airconditioned storeroom opposite the office kitchen.  

This also means that we can sleep better, in the knowledge that a hoodie-wearing lowlife from Minsk or Pyongyang can’t blackmail us for some bitcoin in exchange for your data. It also means that we have a much better chance of continuing to serve your orders without interruption, and are able to easily scale up our IT systems as demand increases. 

In other IT news, we welcomed Christian Whyte to our in-house fulltime developers’ team last week. Christian will be focusing on migrating our client portal to the new .Net 6 Blazor framework. When that project is completed, you may not notice much of a change on how the site looks or works, except that it will be faster and more secure. 

Phillip Rashleigh

01 November 2021

Rationing by Courier Post

Courier Post told us that we must not send more than 84 parcels per day from our warehouses. One day last week one of their drivers, unaware of our limit, collected 109 parcels from us. When their central command found out, they immediately slapped us with a one-day penalty. Our clients were punished by Courier Post refusing to collect their parcels from us the following day.

The 84-parcel limit was calculated as being 80% of the average daily collections from us during a two-week period in October. We know that no such limits apply to their own warehousing subsidiaries.

Of course, we understand that Courier Post, like us and every other logistics service provider, is having to contend with large volumes of web sales. We have told our clients that the usual 98% KPI is suspended, and it may take us a day or two longer to fulfil their orders. They understand  and not even one has complained.

It never occurred to us to simply tell our clients to stop sending us orders. We obviously lack the command-and-control instincts of the state-owned postal service. Still, we have been trying to help them by giving as much of their business as we can to their competitors. If you have specified Courier Post, you can help us to help them even more, by allowing us to shift your business away from them.

John Widdows

06 October 2021

Outlook For Retailers

In Auckland, we are in a lockdown variant. From a retailer's perspective, you could call it "lockdown with KFC". This week, it evolved to "lockdown with KFC in the park". At some stage, retailers may have to cope with regulations like "one person per x m2 in the store", enforced by a security guard at the door (at their cost).

Then, lockdowns will end – as they have in most of the world. Retailers shouldn't count on a strong recovery based on web sales, like the one we experienced last year. That is because we no longer have large volumes of new entrants to on-line commerce, and many people appear keen to spend their money on overseas travel, the moment border restrictions ease.

Web sales will continue to be an important and growing part of retailing. Some retailers are doing it very well. Software designed years ago to manage store operations using cash-register-based control systems may not be best suited for a web channel. Retailers should consider upgrading to one of several modern platforms designed for that purpose.

Here at DSL, we have continued to cope with large inbound volumes, which are a mixture of catching-up from shipping disruptions and the usual seasonal Christmas rush. Orders have been packed ready for dispatch as soon as the lockdown lifts. Warehouse space is tight but manageable, at this stage. We have suspended the usual strict 98% KPI but are running no more than a day or two behind. We will keep you informed.

Daniel Silva

23 August 2021

Back In Lockdown

New Zealand was suddenly placed in lockdown last week. This one is different from that imposed in March of last year. We are no longer required to lock up our distribution centres and can accept incoming shipments. We can ship direct-to-consumer orders of products that our clients consider to be essential. Retail stores are to remain closed, but we can ship orders to other distribution centres or to retail stores that want to receive them in preparation for reopening.

We are focusing on unpacking containers and counting and putting the contents away. Our dedicated staff are available to perform the work, until they find themselves in the company of more than 10,000 “close contacts” or visit a place in the ever-growing list of “locations of interest”. Then, they will have no option but to self-isolate.

Our contractual KPIs are suspended for obvious reasons of force majeure. It takes longer to unpack a container under strict social distancing rules and not all pallets can be immediately placed in pickable locations. We will be working on a best-endeavours basis during this period and for some time after it ends. We will keep you informed.

Daniel Silva

16 March 2021

Stock Management

Our Stock Management page now includes more information to help you manage your stock. Please let us know if there are any other useful metrics that we can include for you.

Phillip Rashleigh