Uncertainty – why take risks?

We are all facing uncertain times with Brexit, a new American President, fluctuating currency markets and poor business confidence is there anything we can be sure of anymore?

Commercial properties, especially in London are on the decline , caution may well spread throughout commerce and industry, which means we should all do what we can to be prepared.

One way is to take a look at overheads. Apollo could provide driver cover on a part-time, full-time or ad hoc basis, urgent deliveries. It saves employers the cost of employing a driver (pensions, paye, holiday paye, sick paye etc) together with the cost of a vehicle.

What do customers get if they order a same day courier? At Apollo, a driver in a modern, clean, well maintained van with a wealth of experience delivering throughout the Country. If the driver is on holidays they are replaced without disrupting deliveries.

The beauty of a courier service is that client’s only pay for the services when they are being used, so it is flexible according to their busy and quiet times. There are no wasted resources and customers enjoy complete control over their delivery costs.

However, care must be taken when deciding on the right courier for your business, as not all courier drivers are the same! Some believe that if you have your own van that they are by default a courier. When it’s your consignments and urgent documents that are in transit, you will want to know that they are in safe hands.

Drivers at Apollo Distribution Solutions Cardiff are vetted, trained with full goods in transit insurance from the moment of collection to delivery therefore ensuring that consignments are safe and protected from damage. We take our client’s deliveries seriously; we understand that a failure on our part reflects badly on the relationship with your client’s. With thorough vehicle checks, regular maintenance schedules and tracking we can be relied upon to meet your delivery schedules, and any last minute orders. Whether your parcel is a strange size or shape, a document containing sensitive confidential information or full pallets we can send the most appropriate and efficient vehicle for its journey.

Whatever challenge you’d like to give us, we’d gladly accept! We’re experienced and knowledgeable and will always best fit your circumstance to ensure that your items are delivered on time every time.

Written by: Emma Dyer

www.apollodistributioncardiff.co.uk

Are you ready for Christmas?

Its 6 weeks before Christmas and it is essential to get your planning right for the festive period, to ensure stock levels and make the most of your marketing campaigns. There is usually an influx of sales orders online and through the market place, so you must ensure a good system is in place to handle the extra demand. You need to forecast your needs in advance, update figures and re-stock so that levels do not dwindle. This can be achieved with a stringent system in place, historic usage and clear and up to date supplier lead times together with a precise delivery date and time.
Many companies have either been stock piling items ready for Christmas or have a system in place to ensure that the item is on their shelf to sell. However, many fail to check how the items are being delivered together with a contingency plan in place should the unexpected happen.
Why not ask your logistics company for help and advice before the rush on how your items will be delivered when requested. Often companies leave this until the last minute which can result in disappointment due to the volumes that are being shipped at this time of the year. What plan do you have in place if there are poor weather conditions or additional demand that you had not expected? Often the lead times depend on the country of origin and the delivery country.
It is important that customer service comes top of your list of priorities as you would like their return custom at other times of the year other than Christmas and you wouldn’t like to miss that very important deadline day.
There are many ways of getting your item to your client, whether it is an overnight carrier next day for parcels, pallet delivery for volume items, international shipments via road, air and sea or dedicated vehicles same day for the more valuable items that need to maintain a specific time slot. Wouldn’t it be easier for you to concentrate on selling your products, provide excellent customer service and build client relationships, whilst your courier company organises volumes, completes paperwork, tracks items and ensures delivery on time, every time.
Written by:
Emma Dyer

http://www.apollodistributioncardiff.co.uk

 

HOW DO YOU STAND OUT FROM THE REST?

Many businesses spend thousands of pounds trying to make, import and sell their products without considering how they will get these items delivered to their clients and the overall customer experience. Every business tries to control the customers experience via ads, websites and services – However, do you know what happens to the goods once they leave the warehouse? Do you know how the items are protected?

Many companies don’t understand the basic facts of packaging, tracking, paperwork and profitability.

So be Careful! Choosing the wrong shipper can mean your customer may suffer a poor experience, resulting in the cancellation of an order! This can reduce repeat business and generate negative reviews and comments on social media platforms.

Packaging and Marketing 

With the increase in online purchases companies have to ensure that their items arrive in one piece, on time and with additional aftercare to ensure repeat business. Companies are going above and beyond to exceed expectations by including a voucher, thank you note, branding on the delivery box or delivering the item before it is expected.

Packaging is another effective way to increase your brand awareness and make sure that the items don’t get damaged in transit. How often have you received a (personal?) delivery of a small item in a huge box with an excessive amount of packaging with nothing to illustrate where it’s from?

Why not think about the following items to ensure repeat business and reduce the amount of items being damaged in transit:

  • Name and website printed on box or on a leaflet inside
  • Discount offer for future purchases
  • Suggest alternative purchases
  • Discounts for sharing experience on social media
  • Use packaging as an extension of the quality of your brand

Packaging Options

There are hundreds of options to ship items depending on the nature of your consignments from bulk cargo on pallets, light weight boxes, wooden crates and padded envelopes. There are new innovative ideas being introduced to the market place which can reduce your courier costs, especially when sending large volumes out daily, so be sure to always review your packaging! Do not make the mistake of using inappropriate packaging for the item being shipped resulting in the package being damaged and the inability to claim on the insurance.

 Courier Service

Remember! Not all couriers are the same! It’s not as easy as using one man and their van as your default driver assuming that your parcels will be delivered on time, every time. Care must be taken to choose the correct courier by ensuring that the drivers are vetted and trained to ensure that your items are in safe hands. Most couriers will provide goods in transit insurance cover as standard which will cover articles that are being shipped.

What other services do you expect from your courier?

Here are a few services that Apollo can provide:

      • 24 hours a day 365 days a year
      • Same day dedicated vehicles from small vans to artics
      • Nationwide couriers with other offices based throughout the country
      • Experienced staff and well trained drivers providing an efficient service
      • Overnight services from parcels to pallets
      • International services – Worldwide via economy or express service
      • Dedicated vehicle cover of £10,000.00 per vehicle as standard!

Your goods are important to you, so why not ensure that you get the best services with a courier company that will look after your interest’s at the most cost effective way. As a family run business in the market place for 21 years, we know how hard it is to be competitive and provide the best service to your client’s. Apollo will always ensure that we treat your customer’s the same as you like to be treated yourself. What lengths will you go to ensure you have the best courier available?

Written by: Emma Dyer

Apollo Distribution Solutions – Cardiff

http://www.apollodistributioncardiff.co.uk

 

Why would you pick Apollo?

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Established in 1995, we have demonstrated 21 years of expertise in the logistics field. We provide a bespoke and robust logistics plan to suit your every need, from same day dedicated vehicles through to international shipments Worldwide. We can also help you to archive any files with our secure Cardiff storage facility.

Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year we can guarantee a time-definite and dedicated service to ensure that your items are delivered “on time every time”. From small vans to artics we have a vast range of vehicles available to our clients.

Apollo also considers more cost effective way of sending less urgent items with our combined fleet and chosen partners. From overnight door to door deliveries to international Worldwide shipments via air, sea and road, we pass on our volume discounts to our clients to provide the fastest transit times.
We’ll always go above and beyond what your current courier service does for you. The size of our team means that nothing will get lost in translation meaning the safe and secure delivery of your items. There’s nothing worse than uncertainty when you trust a distribution company with your goods, which is why we make sure to provide you with real-time updates and always secure proof of delivery for you.

Most companies operate utilising a call centre system; at Apollo there are dedicated highly experienced staff who will advise you on the best and most cost effective way of sending consignments depending on the stipulations you have to comply to.

Where vehicles are used to provide a service, route consolidation and strategic load planning are utilised to minimise vehicle miles and “empty running”. It is company policy to maintain vehicles in an efficient condition.

The van and its driver are vital to the UK economy with more than 4 million on the road. That’s the view of the FTA Logistics Report 2016, which shows the dramatic shift in the way the public shops; by the end of 2015, retailers predicted they would be delivering more than 860 million parcels to UK homes – thanks to the e-commerce explosion.

Written by: Emma Dyer

Apollo Distribution Solutions Ltd

www.apollodistributioncardiff.co.uk

Misconceptions of the Logistics Industry

Logistics is one of the most dynamic industries in the world, whether you are a service provider or a client that uses the service. There are various categories and ways to move goods from a one man band to a multi national corporation. It is plain to see that even large providers rely on numerous suppliers to move goods and this requires co-ordination between the buyer, supplier and carrier. Buyers are concerned with their delivery, the carrier is juggling other customer’s loads from bulk consignments all over the world to ensure delivery to the end recipient.

All companies operate across multiple supply chains and how they operate can vary enormously, but the end result must be to deliver the consignment “on time every time”. The logistics industry communicates at varies levels, but it would be foolish to think that any one company can do it alone.

It is imperative to understand that the success of any logistics company is due to flexibility, collaboration and the ability to share information.

For the buyer to understand how the suppliers operate they must understand the various services that are available to them.

Same Day Dedicated Vehicle

When a client books a dedicated vehicle it is usually for urgent items that have to be delivered the same day for a particular deadline. As such that vehicle will only carry that client’s items, follow the quickest route and allow enough time to deliver to the destination on time. Sometimes this process can breakdown if the courier provided carries more than one client’s goods in a bid to reduce their costs. This can result in the items not being delivered on time. Some would say that this increases the carbon foot print, but it does ensure the client’s ability to hit their deadlines and service to their end user. Courier firms are working hard to ensure that the vehicle does not return empty by picking up a backload therefore reducing congestion in urban areas. This type of delivery does come at a cost and often client’s are surprised how much. Often we see tenders going on a cheaper overnight service that are worth hundreds of thousands of pounds and being eliminated before the process has began as they were not prepared to pay for a dedicated service to ensure the delivery.

Overnight Door to Door Deliveries

There are many multi national companies that provide a cheaper overnight door to door service for next day, 48 hour or even timed services. Most of these carriers will guarantee delivery or money back. Often client’s are not aware of what this guarantee means! If the carrier fails to deliver, the item is then pushed to the next day therefore missing the deadline which affects services to its client. Overnight packages go through a sortation system and can pass through many pairs of hand’s before it is delivered. It stands to reason that it is open to more human error and can be sorted incorrectly at a main hub that deals with thousands of packages a night. During busy periods such as Christmas, many carriers struggle to keep up with the demand which can result in hundreds of packages sitting in warehouses while they figure out how to deliver them all. I would therefore stress that the overnight service should be used for non urgent items.

International Services

When companies or individuals try to export or import goods within the EU or Worldwide they must consider individual country restrictions, paperwork and taxes and duties. It can be a minefield to work out what is required when sending or receiving any items, but in general if you follow this guide you won’t go far wrong.

  1. Provide a full company name, contact name, address with zip code and telephone number (Various countries often ring ahead to arrange a delivery time).
  2. Measure each item to provide full dimensions i.e L x W x H. (Large items can be volume depending on the carrier which will affect the price).
  3. Weight of the item as this will affect the price.
  4. Provide a full list and description of what is being sent together with their value.

Commodity codes have to be obtained outside of the EU with a value of the goods. You can obtain commodity codes from HMRC online. Each item that is sent outside the EU must be accompanied by a customs invoice.

Although larger carriers supply a more automated service they can often fail on customer services. Smaller companies provide a more personal service, i.e items are tracked on the client’s behalf and any paperwork is completed by the carrier to ensure that the items are delivered on time.  This gives many clients the flexibility to concentrate on other aspects of their job role, safe in the knowledge that the items are being tracked and paperwork completed which will help with the smooth passage through customs.

Article written by Emma Dyer

Director at Apollo Distribution Solutions

 

 

Apollo Cardiff Discuss 3D Printing in Manufacturing

3D printing in manufacturing

Arguably, 3D printing is becoming more prevalent as a participant in the logistics industry, with potentially astronomical implications on the supply chain. Clearly, 3D printing is evolving rapidly; analysts predict that over the following four years the industry will be worth more than ten billion dollars.

But to what extent could this development affect the logistics industry as a whole? With its involvement in the supply chain at the primitive stages, will we see a 3D printing in manufacturing revolution in our life time? Apollo Cardiff investigates.

How does the process work?

Charles Hull developed the technology in the 1980s to facilitate the production of basic polymer objects. Plenty of industries, from aerospace to medicine, are now heavily investing in 3D printing.

The process relies on the build-up of incredibly thin layers. A printer computes a digital blueprint of the product and then a slow procedure commences in which material is dropped according to said product design. Despite the slow pace of the print, there is very little setup time. The possible intricacy of this technique has enabled extremely precise levels of detail, unachievable in other methods of product manufacture.

How does it affect the supply chain?

As a manufacturing technique, there are clearly positive and negative aspects which must undergo analysis.

Positive impacts on the supply chain:

  • More local production is facilitated. This minimises the costs of shipping goods around the globe. Furthermore, this is clearly environmentally beneficial.
  • Local production additionally allows customers to receive their orders quickly.
  • When products do need to be transported across long distances, the 3D print process often means said products are lighter. As a result, fuel consumption is reduced, leading to fewer CO2 emissions.
  • It is also environmentally efficient to cut out the delivery and assembly of materials at the initial stage, as it can be manufactured at one specific point.
  • Keeping simply blueprints in digital storage would cut down storage space for manufacturers. This will also reduce the amount of energy needed to maintain a warehouse.
  • Material consumption is lowered due to the fact that the process only uses the materials necessary, there is no excess.
  • Highly complex and detailed structures can be produced, that which cannot be constructed by other manufacturing techniques.

There are, of course, negative implications considered here:

  • What does this mean for those employed at each stage of the supply chain that could no longer exist if this technology becomes normality? Low level assembly workers, for example, become largely redundant.
  • Retraining workers in 3D printing in manufacturing is costly and time consuming. The current design software is incredibly complicated.
  • The current 3D technology is not yet anywhere near fast enough to compete with high-speed manufacturing machinery. In addition, it is also not well versed in a great number of materials.
  • The cost of printing in three dimensions is currently costly, not making practical sense for most manufacturers. 

After assessing the above points, Amazon have recently been investing in 3D printing technology, prototyping the notion of printing products on the customer’s doorstep. The way in which this works is with the use of “mobile manufacturing hubs.” These manufacturing hubs contain 3D printing machines which enable local production literally at the location of delivery.

Amazon argue that this method enables a much faster delivery, which additionally eliminates any potential for damage in transit. Warehouse space is also reduced, benefiting the company and bearing less environmental impact. As a result of these points, customer satisfaction is increased, which is clearly financially advantageous.

So what does this mean for the future of 3D printing?

Overall, we still remain in the very primitive stages of 3D printing in manufacturing. Whereas many see its potential to change product manufacture and therefore the supply chain as a whole, there are responses which suggest we’re not quite ready for the revolution yet.

In its current position, 3D printing is often less cost effective than present technique. However, many of these processes do not allow the same level of customisation, which is becoming increasingly more desirable.

The current impact on distribution is low, but this doesn’t necessary stand for the future of manufacturing. The question remains as to how far away we are from its saturation into the industry. Some argue that we will witness its influence on the supply chain within the decade, with the breakdown of a global supply chain and the initiation of high-tech systems of localised and connected suppliers.

Perhaps the most sensible suggestion is the presence of 3D printing alongside other methods of manufacture. It has clear benefits but it seems impossible to consider a total breakdown of the supply chain, at least at this stage of development.

What do you think? Are we miles away or closer than many suspect? Drop us a comment or a tweet @ApolloCardiff and join the debate! #3Dprinting #ApolloCardiff

With thanks to the following sources:

  • Eureka Magazine
  • Cerasis
  • The Verge
  • The Logistics Business
  • The Guardian
  • Robotics Tomorrow

Employment Opportunities in Logistics

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It has been documented by The Bureau of Labour Statistics that employment in the logistics industry is, based on current progression, expected to increase 26% by 2020. Interestingly, this is a growth exceeding the average for any profession.

But why? Instrumental to this swelling is Globalisation. This isn’t a new term and we’re all very much aware of its integrative implications. However, trade walls are continuing to dismantle, many ideological borders are disappearing, custom duties are being eliminated and industry specific technology is typically marching ahead. Accumulatively, this means that the demand for logistical services of the utmost efficiency is essential for businesses of all proportions.

Scope in alternate cities and countries is vital to financial success and a fully integrated global supply chain and logistics industry facilitates this. Additionally, the processing of documents has been greatly simplified and both communication and transport options are faster than ever. Overall, this enables companies to expand their field of expertise around the world.

The opportunities are clearly present to work abroad with the skills gained from a position in logistics- positions in such roles as: customer service, transportation, operations, purchasing, strategy, warehousing etc. Furthermore, foreign language skills are invaluable when embarking on such a career that has global prospects.

Are young people unaware of the career potentials in such a fast-paced industry? Andy Kaye, reporting for Transport and Logistics Online, thinks so. Many education programmes have been established in order to provide young people with a full 360 degree understanding of the logistics industry; many of these courses lead pupils straight into guaranteed employment. Kaye notes that students aren’t shown these opportunities and miss out on “fantastic career opportunities.”

Often, career prospects evolve from idealised notions seen in the media. T&L Online note the sharp increase in popularity in such degrees as Forensic Science emerging from television series such as CSI. In reality, there are few jobs in this sector. This is true of many romanticised positions and perhaps it is in the hands of careers advisors to equip young people with the further knowledge they need to make a more informed decision as to how they will move forward on their paths to adulthood.

What skills are important in the logistics industry in order to succeed? There are a wide variety of roles, all demanding different qualities. However, there are a core few which both students claim to hold and logistic employers deem necessary. Skills such as teamwork, practicality, accuracy, attention to detail, IT confidence and problem solving are all widely sought after. Computer literacy is incredibly important and key to the progression of the distribution industry. Typically responding well to digital advancements, many believe that young people are now vital to this field.

A huge number of varied roles are available, awaiting young and enthusiastic graduates begging for a career in a lucrative industry, predicted to inflate further as we move into the next lustrum. Would you consider a career in logistics? Let us know your thoughts and join the discussion using #logisticscareers on Twitter.

With thanks to:

  • DHL
  • Brazen Life
  • Transport and Logistics Online
  • Financial Times Lexicon

Happy Birthday to us!

We’ve had a typically busy week at Apollo HQ this week, furthered by the fact that it’s our birthday week! We’re leaving our teenage years behind us today and striding into our 20th year of unrivaled customer care and courier servicing.

Two decades worth of experience means we are in the best position of experience ever to provide our customers with the optimum service, tailored to their preferences – get in touch if you want a competitive quote to plot against your current courier or storage company!

We couldn’t possibly see in our 20th without some sort of editable landmark. A huge thank you to Thorntons for their sensational iced champagne bottle!

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In addition to our birthday celebrations, we’ve continued to bridge the frequently forgotten gap between distribution and Blue Peter (stay with me here) with our Valentines Day gifts. To mark the occasion, Apollo has been playing Cupid all week, distributing a different kind of package to our most loyal clients. Several balls of ribbon and boxes of Milk Tray later we arrived at this conclusion, a conclusion which seems to have gone down very nicely.

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We’ll be making the final few deliveries today, so keep an eager eye out for us, we might just be playing Cupid in your office this afternoon ❤

Why Pick Apollo?

There’s certainly a cacophony of courier companies ready to serve your business. What makes Apollo different? How would you benefit from picking us above another?

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We vow to put you first. Customer care is the vital cog to Apollo’s fiery machine and is the reason why our customers use our services recurrently. Our customers are loyal to us because we return that sentiment. Our booking clerks are available 24/7 to book your delivery, deal with any worries you might have, give you live updates and protect your consignments.

We’ll always go above and beyond what your current courier service does for you. The size of our team means that nothing will get lost in translation meaning the safe and secure delivery of your items. There’s nothing worse than uncertainty when you trust a distribution company with your goods, which is why we make sure to provide you with real-time updates and always secure proof of delivery for you.

Most companies operate utilising a call centre system. Which is annoying. Our team operate using one number across a number of lines. We communicate fully within the team regarding each and every existing and potential client. We’ll never lose sight of what you want from us.

Make a noncommittal phone call to our Welsh office today to find out a bit more about how we can shape our bespoke services and prices around your expectations. Meanwhile, I’m going to continue crafting some Valentines treats to deliver to a lucky few next week! We hope you’ll be our Valentine <3.