Magazine article Management Today

The Post-Haste Test

Magazine article Management Today

The Post-Haste Test

Article excerpt

Paranoid about being discovered by a group of equally paranoid couriers, Management Today assumed the tones of typing pool indifference and embarked on the the yearly deception of a selection of UK couriers. The six, plus Swiftair, the Royal Mail's priority airmail service, appeared oblivious to the fourth annual conspiracy as the bookings were made.

This year the finishing line was moved to Japan, to an address near the headquarters of Sony and Coca-Cola in downtown Tokyo. We were interested in being as fair as possible. Every parcel weighed 750g, each was clearly labelled and, considering that most were likely to be dispatched on a flight that Monday evening, we used an average departure time of 4pm. The reality, however, was not so neat. It is difficult to know whether, despite our cover of Haymarket Publishing, any suspicions were aroused. But in effort to avoid being rumbled we hared between two receptions so that none of the couriers would collide, the paid all those companies demanding payment on collection with personal cheques.

Confirming price and transit time when booking, as well as weight, destination and the type of service, may seem a bore but it is effectively your insurance policy if there, are problems later. Unsurprisingly, the postal option presented the least hassle, with no phoning or waiting for collection.

The decision to include Swiftair was half cheeky and half a hunch that the humble postie could possibly prove more efficient than the couriers with their snappy slogans and bright logos.

Our hunch was right. First to arrive in the hands of our man in Tokyo was the Swiftair package, 58 hours and 15 minute after it was posted in central London. Priority post is treated such in Japan, dispatched by motorbike four times a day. seven days a week from local post offices.

The couriers were not far behind. Cheap and reliable UPS arrived two hours after the postman's knock, Securicor and DHL three hours after UPS. The Penultimate Japanese delivery a day later, at 82 hours and 25 minutes was Parcelforce, slow, but, as with the others. well within its guaranteed time.

Parcelforce does not do deliveries itself outside the UK. Like Securicor, which does not deliver outside Europe, the work is contracted out to local couriers. Unlike Securicor, this is not reflected in the price. Parcelforce charges reasonable 29, [millions] whereas Securicor's service, conducted via Federal Express, came to 35 [pounds]. …

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