You had one job. Parcel deliveries are completely broken in this country


Australia’s parcel delivery system is broken. Not just a little, but completely broken. The rate at which parcels are attempted delivery and fail is simply staggering. Think about it, we’ve had an explosion of online purchasing together with communication between family, friends and business wishing to send parcels amongst each other. With such a dramatic increase in the number of parcels being delivered to the front doors of Aussie homes, there’s an astonishingly high chance the recipient isn’t at home.

Gone are the days where mums are at home all day and could receive parcels during the day. It’s 2013 and in most cases, both parties work. This leaves just a tiny portion of any weekly household calendar available between the hours of 9-5.

Despite fundamental changes to the availability of recipients, transport companies continue to attempt deliver in the same, random method. There’s no consumer notification system, there’s no phone in-advance of delivery option, nothing. In most cases, the best they can do is give you a 6 hour window and in the age of GPS location and route optimal route calculations, this is a classic case of an out-dated business practice that needs to chance.. now.

This was made abundantly clear today when transport company TOLL left a delivery ticket at my door. After collecting it at lunch I made a call to find out when I could get redelivery (another stab in the dark), or my preferred method, to pick it up from the base. I was told they needed to confirm the location of the driver and call me back. While I knew they should be looking up the GPS transponder on the delivery driver’s vehicle to get this information in seconds, I accepted it wasn’t going to happen.

Sure enough the call came.. 2 hours later. The message was that it now back at the depot. I enquired what time the Albury depot closed and was told, without hesitation, a confident 6:30. Given this information I felt relaxed about picking up the latest (unreleased) review product some time after 5pm. Around 5:20pm I arrived to a locked gate with signs clearly indicating it was 5pm closing time.

It was at this time where my frustration boiled over.. you had one job TOLL operator, lookup the correct time. I called and explained I was at their Albury base and was once again told they ‘should’ be open till 6:30pm. After once again explaining I was facing a padlocked gate and the staff member looked again and then confirmed, indeed the office hours were till 5pm. Rage quit.

My experience is hardly an isolated case, and just confirms how out-dated our delivery companies have become. In an era where I can see the location of the nearest taxis, I can’t know when my parcel is due to be delivered. Now I understand some reluctance to give an exact time of delivery in the event that things come up and deliver is delayed, but guess what, notify me of the delay and I’ll be ok with that.

One step in the right direction is Australia Post’s Parcel Lockers, which provide a delivery location available for collection 24/7. This would eliminate the current scenario where a review product is sitting in a distribution warehouse for 15 hours that I can’t access. Unfortunately the Parcel Lockers are only available in a hand full of locations in each state.

This isn’t a problem that needs a solution rolled out slowly over years, but a problem that needs solving Australia-wide yesterday. What are your thoughts? Have you had delivery nightmares ?

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This post is authored by techAU staffers. Used rarely and sparingly when the source decided to keep their identity secret, or a guest author who isn't seeking credit.

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