Delivery services have existed in some form or other for hundreds of years. The evolution of mail and parcel delivery has some significant developmental milestones.
These milestones include the introduction of the postmark in the 17th century, dedicated mail coaches in the 18th century and international mail delivery, standardised tariffs and the introduction of a formal parcel delivery service in the 19th century. The rise of mail order in the 20th century boosted parcel delivery volumes, which increased further with the introduction of online retail.
While online shopping has steadily increased, the Covid-19 lockdowns caused it to peak during 2021, according to the Office of National Statistics. Although post-pandemic these trends are declining, they’re still significantly higher than in 2019.
Here are just four developments in the courier industry which both drive and accommodate our changing demands:
1. The need for speed
Immediacy is an expectation in this age. From fast food to surfing the web, we structure our lives around obtaining everything we need on an ASAP basis. Same-day deliveries are now essential services. While national couriers work well to serve local areas, a same day courier Sheffield such as All About Freight, for example, can be more effective in picking up parcels in a shorter time frame.
2. Keeping it environmentally friendly
Like many industries, delivery services are looking at ways to reduce their carbon footprint. This includes using packaging made from recycled materials, employing bicycle couriers where possible and replacing their petrol or diesel-driven fleets with electric vehicles.
3. Unmanned delivery
While still in its infancy, the idea of using autonomous cars and drones to deliver parcels has started to gain some traction in the courier industry. Unmanned vehicles have the potential to reduce costs and increase efficiency in certain circumstances.
4. AI and Machine Learning
As demand continues to increase, the combination of AI and machine learning will help to boost productivity and streamline workflow by estimating delivery times, improving delivery routes in real-time, and anticipating possible problems before they occur.