APC Overnight was born in 1994 from a group of highly experienced delivery operators who collectively shared a passion for providing the highest levels of service to their customers.
Today, APC Overnight is the UK’s largest independent delivery network made up of 100 independent courier businesses who support 35,000, business with their parcel services.
APC Overnight regards the customer relationship between their delivery network and businesses that depend on them as a partnership. This approach has led to many customers continuing to partner with APC Overnight as a logistics provider for over ten, fifteen and even twenty y e a r s !
No matter the size of the request, and regardless of the number of consignments sent weekly, all customers are equally valued by APC Overnight.
APC Overnight’s customer base is exclusively small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and, historically, the bulk of deliveries have been Business to Business (B2B). Over the past five years, deliveries on behalf of APC Overnight’s SME customers have shifted more towards Business to Consumer (B2C). APC Overnight made it a requirement to better understand this shift, in order to make operationaldecisions and drive efficiencies.
Sean Stanley, Head of Business Systems at APC Overnight described the challenge that first led to engaging with AFD Software: “We had asked our incumbent supplier of address validation software if they could tell us the percentage split between our deliveries to business and residential addresses. Operationally, there are key differences between residential and business address deliveries. B2B deliveries are faster; during working hours there is always someone to take a parcel.
B2C takes longer – there isn’t always someone to take the parcel and with current restrictions around social distancing, they need to be contactless. The quote we were given just to provide the dataaround this split was astronomical.”
Partners in Data Quality
“When one of the team at AFD introduced themselves as a potential data quality partner, we asked them to do the analysis (which they did, at a realistic price) and found that 72% of deliveries across our network are currently B2C. This information has helped the whole business better position our customers’ experience, IT roadmap and remain best placed to help serve our customer base with their changing requirements.”
Following the initial address data analysis which AFD completed, APC Overnight decided to make the upgrade to AFD for all their address validation requirements last year.
Sean continues: “We integrated AFD within HypaShip’s booking platform New Horizon. When a customer wants to book a consignment, they can enter a postcode and the AFD service returns the correct, PAF-validated address. Accuracy at this stage of the process is essential to get high-quality last-mile delivery; the platform that we use for this is only as good as the address entered. Our last-mile delivery process involves route optimisation, TomTom data, historic average road speed at different times of the day, and property level geocoordinates – all helping the driver get to the exact delivery point as efficiently as possible.
Without the AFD element providing a valid address, a route planner would have to plan the route by manually locating it using mapping software and dropping a ‘pin’. This would be a relatively quick process in isolation, but we have over 1600 vans distributing from over 100 depots, each with route planners. This job is done first thing in the morning in a time-pressurised environment and, without the quality data that AFD provide, it would quickly lead to frustration for the route planners and would needlessly slow down the process.”
Proactive Customer Service
Changing supplier for such a key element within the delivery process should be a well-justified decision. AFD was trusted with delivering accurate address data to APC Overnight. Sean explains: “The integration work was very straightforward and whenever a question needed answering, we were able to pick up the phone and talk to Nick or another one of the team at AFD who not only knew the answers to our questions, but proactively wanted to help. This approachability was helpful and having someone to talk to made a huge difference, we feel valued as a customer.”
Real Insight from Data
Dervla Gallagher, Director of Business Infrastructure at APC added: “From a strategic point of view, the data from AFD has helped us better understand our customers’ requirements and ensure we are ready to deliver.
This Christmas we will see a significant increase in consumer deliveries and our customers are placing huge trust in us getting this right, making sure deliveries go to the right place at the expected time.
A consumer delivery often carries a greater emotional attachment, especially when Christmas gifts are involved. It is important to us that we have the right data solution to enable the businesses we serve and their customers to have an enjoyable B2C delivery experience, where we can set and meet delivery expectations.” With the very real prospect of almost all Christmas shopping taking place online this year, getting delivery data right will be more important than ever. AFD’s solutions help the Logistics Sector understand each delivery point, also enabling them to take relevant measures to ensure any current COVID guidelines around ‘contactless deliveries’ are met.
AFD Software helps thousands of organisations validate and cleanse contact data to help ensure delivery data is checked against the best possible sources.