Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday Delivery Industry News Roundup, September 23, 2013

Happy Monday, all. OK – the day is half over. You will make it. But if you need a distraction (that’s full of industry news), we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the most interesting stories we’ve spotted on the web:

“Silicon Valley tech companies like to move fast. Now they are trying to bring that high-speed innovation to the retail world and break the tradition of failed same-day delivery services. Five months after Google Inc. unveiled an experiment delivering everything from Target bed sheets to American Eagle blue jeans to parts of the San Francisco Bay Area, the company is preparing to expand same-day delivery to more shoppers across the region. Google Shopping Express will add pressure to companies like eBay Inc. that are growing their own same-day delivery programs in what has become a fierce race between tech giants.”

“Today {last Tuesday}, we are releasing our 6th annual UPS Pain in the (Supply) Chain survey, conducted by the research firm TNS.  The survey reveals insights into the top challenges facing global healthcare logistics executives and highlights their future investment plans. This year we added new geographies to the survey and probed deeper to uncover strategies that successful healthcare executives are implementing to overcome their top supply chain challenges.”           

“The advent of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook have raised new questions about the separation between a person's personal and professional life. But experts in employment law say the case of a Kansas University professor who was suspended this week after posting what some considered to be offensive remarks on Twitter raises a whole host of new legal questions about how far employers can go in holding employees accountable for what they say or do in the realm of social media.”

Image credit: carterse (

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Does Your Company have an Employee Handbook?

Not every company does. But there are some benefits regarding company-wide rules and employee expectations.

“An employee handbook is an important legal document that – if drafted properly – can protect an employer from a number of employee problems. However, a poorly drafted handbook can wind up creating more problems than it solves. Adopting a handbook while avoiding the "pitfalls" will help keep employees happy and lawsuits to a minimum.” – Source: Avoiding Common Employee Handbook Mistakes, Joseph Gagnon and Stephen Roppolo

Some benefits of employee handbooks:

Handbooks keep everyone on the same page: A handbook typically lays out all the “must dos” at a company. Basically, handbooks outline what’s expected of employees (what normal working hours are), pay, benefits, substance and harassment policies, attendance, and discipline.

Handbooks are helpful to new employees: Having an employee handbook is a great way to get everyone on the same page.

Handbooks can help employees understand a company’s culture: Employees can get a feel for what a business “is all about” after reading its employee handbook.

Handbooks help prove that a company’s rules and regulations are current with employment laws.

Handbooks can help define the employee/employer relationship.

However, handbooks (and having rules that dictate everything that goes on at the office) can be overwhelming, too:

Everything is connected to a rule: If you want to discard rules, or change up the employee policy, you’ll have to change every handbook. And because a company is a constantly evolving entity, that means policies may be changing as the company evolves, too. Over time, making constant amendments is time consuming, costly and confusing.

Some situations merit individual responses: “Imagine if a senior business development executive created a set of policies outlining how they will execute a business deal that followed the process every time.  You can’t imagine it because it would never happen!  For years HR types have been complaining about having a seat at the table and being taken seriously by their executive teams, and I think this is one of the reasons why. They don’t think about what’s in the best interests of the business.” – Source: The One Sentence HR Handbook, Fistful of Talent, Andy Porter

Other issues can arise with handbooks when policies are overly vague, too detailed, outdated, and inconsistent.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Monday Delivery Industry News Roundup, September 9, 2013

Monday is here again, folks. Here’s a short list of industry news articles we found over the weekend.

FedEx Express receives delivery of first 767-300 freighters via Canadian Transportation & Logistics

FedEx makes a few upgrades.

“FedEx Express has received delivery of its first 767-300 freighters, supporting the company strategy to modernise its fleet with more efficient freighters.

‘Today’s delivery of our first Boeing 767 Freighter is another step forward in our fleet modernisation strategy,” said James Parker, executive vice president of air operations, FedEx Express. ‘The 767 is approximately 30 per cent more fuel efficient and has unit operating costs that are more than 20 per cent lower than the aircraft they will replace. The net effect is an aircraft that is more affordable to operate and has lower carbon emissions because of better fuel efficiency.’

The 767 Freighter is an ideal upgrade for the fleet serving the FedEx Express domestic network, providing improved fuel, maintenance and cost savings over the MD-10 freighters it will replace.”

The same-day boom marches on.

“Five months after Google unveiled an experiment delivering everything from Target bed sheets to American Eagle bluejeans to parts of the San Francisco Bay Area, the company is preparing to expand same-day delivery to more shoppers across the region. Google Shopping Express will add pressure to companies like eBay that are expanding their own same-day delivery programs in what has become a fierce race between tech giants.

Google and eBay are jumping into the hypercompetitive brick-and-mortar retail industry to fend off, which is forging ahead with its own same-day delivery tests. By offering their services to struggling retailers and capturing shoppers who buy everything from cars to toilet paper online and want it delivered to their front door within hours, Google and eBay may corner one of the few retail markets Seattle-based Amazon hasn’t already taken.”

A fresh, fun take of coffee delivery.

“The race for faster, fresher and on-demand continues. Amazon is entering the food delivery space with Amazon Fresh, subscription services like Birchbox bring shopping samples to your door, and on-demand services like Uber and Lyft provide rides with a single click. I had the chance recently to try a new subscription service named Moustache Coffee Club.

The Moustache Coffee Club selects a different coffee every week from a variety of top roasters, such as Intelligentsia and Handsome Coffee. Then the coffee is shipped free immediately after roasting, for optimal freshness (weekly or bi-weekly subscription depending on how much coffee you drink).”

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Worker or contractor?

Many courier companies hire contract workers to fill a number office positions. For example, a delivery company may hire drivers, office assistants and marketing personnel on a contract project basis (you hire someone to update your website), or to help during busy times (you contract a few extra drivers during the holidays.)

But some companies just prefer hiring part-time employees, or temp workers (people who work a certain amount of hours per week and are hourly. These workers typically don’t work over 30 hours a week.)

What type of employee does your company prefer hiring? Is there a reason why you prefer hiring part-time workers rather than contractors? We’re covering this topic in our upcoming September/October issue, and want to get the conversation started early. Feel free to reach out on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, or here, in the comment section.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Twitter Chats: Do You Participate? Are You a Host? We Want to Know What You Think!

So, what do you all think about Twitter chats? These virtual chats are held on Twitter. Lots of companies hold these chats every so often to get customer feedback, answer client questions and to just generally get to know the people who are interested in the business’ products and services.

If you’re still a little murky on how your company can benefit from a Twitter chat we’ve gathered up a few ideas that may help you embrace the idea and get to chattin’:

1. Keep the chat name the same week after week, or month after month

When organizing the chat, make sure everyone knows what it’s going to be called. Pick a hashtaged name, such as #(your business twitter account)weeklychat and add the specific hashtag for the topic you plan on discussing, such as #samedaydelivery.

2. Select a trending topic

Chat about something that’s interesting and timely so people are excited to learn.

3. Use experts

If you know other people in the industry who know a lot about the topic you’re going to feature, make sure they’re involved with the chat.

“Brands and organizations have a slew of experts whose online and offline networks would flock to speak with them during Twitter chats. Employees, partners, celebrity spokespeople… these types of high-profile or knowledgeable people can be great assets for drawing in a large audience.” – “Hosting a Better Twitter Chat,” Lauren Dugan, Social Media Today

4. Promote the chat via other social media, email, etc.

Promote the heck out of this event via Facebook, Twitter and your blog, and don’t forget to include it in your weekly email blasts, too.

5. Try to respond to everyone’s questions: 

Pay attention and always try to respond to client questions or concerns. And don’t forget to favorite the tweets you really dig.

6. Follow up: 

After your chats are complete, don’t forget to write a blog post that details what went down.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

HR Wednesday: The “Walk Around” Management Style

What’s your management style? Are you a hands-on boss, or do you like to stay in your office and let your employees come to you? There are benefits and negatives to every type of management style. But there are some management styles that are not as prevalent as they once were. Sure, some styles are outdated, but some management tactics aren’t so bad. We’re going to focus on one of those almost-forgotten, but still swell styles today.

“Management by walking around”

This style has almost gone defunct because of today’s busy office environment, telecommuting and flextime. But there are ways managers can still “walk around” the office, even if many of their workers aren’t located in the same physical building.

The article, “The Lost Are of Walking Around,” by Sharlyn Lauby suggests the following interesting, and easy-to-follow examples:

Take the walk: Stepping away from your desk can be a good thing. It’s exercise. Use some of those moments when you need to take a break to visit employees.

Wander around virtually: Really can’t get away? Is your team thousands of miles away? Check in using email or the social collaboration tools your company provides.

There’s a reason Management by Walking Around became so popular. It works: Managers building relationships with their employees is essential for business. Now, I will admit, technology innovation may have changed the “walking around” concept. But the idea is still the same.

Companies shouldn’t put managers in the position where they have to choose between reports and employees: Managers should be able to do both. And managers shouldn’t use reports as an excuse not to spend time with their employees. It’s time to rediscover the lost art of walking around.” – Source: HR Bartender, Lauby

Monday, August 26, 2013

Industry News Recap: Fuel Savings, a New Logistics Service, and a Quirky Delivery Service

It’s Monday, which means you’re likely looking for easy-to-digest news bits. We totally get that! We’ve rounded up a few fun (and interesting) industry news stories for you to read while starting your custom-made, early-in-the-week intravenous coffee drip:

The Eco-flap is marketed as a fuel-saving product for smaller fleet owners:

“This new spin on the traditional mud flap cuts down on wind resistance and lowers fuel costs, allowing owners to operate a more energy-efficient fleet. The team at Chattanooga, Tenn.–based Anderson Flaps didn't set out to create a greener mud flap. They actually set out to create a cleaner one. The company hoped to revamp mud-flap design to allow for better passage of air through the flaps. The freer passage of air would help reduce the accumulation of grime by allowing water or mud from tire spray to drain on the flap, as opposed to piling up on top of it.”

Sterman Masser Inc., a Penn. potato company, is getting into logistics:

“Sterman Masser Inc., an eighth-generation potato growing company, has launched Masser Logistics Services to provide delivery service to its customers as well as those of Keystone Potato Products and Fresh Solutions Network. Masser Logistics Services, like Sterman Masser Inc. and Masser Potato Farms, is based in Sacramento, Pa. The company owns 15 trucks, and all are equipped with auxiliary power units to reduce fuel consumption and extend engine life, according to the news release.” -- “Pennsylvania Potato Company Launches Logistics Firm,” via The Packer
And a bit of fun delivery news that’s local (at least to the Courier Magazine team):

The Birdfeeder LLC, a new small delivery business, will deliver almost any convenience store product to Lawrence, Kan., students:

“Birdfeeder is geared to students and the late-night crowd. For the moment, its delivery area is between Massachusetts and Iowa and Ninth and 19th streets. Hours are 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays. Customers place an order by calling, texting or tweeting. His info is available on the Birdfeeder LLC Facebook page.” -- “Late-night convenience store delivery service begins operations in student neighborhoods,”via The Lawrence-Journal World