How to Find the Best Courier Service for Transporting Food in the UK.

Posted by Paul
How to find the right courier and fulfilment company to deliver your foodstuff across the UK undamaged, on time and at the right price with Parcel Ex

You need to transport food in the UK. You want it to get there on time and undamaged. You also want to know that no food items have gone missing and your courier, looking strangely satisfied, suddenly doesn’t feel the need for lunch that day.

Finding the right courier service to transport your food items across the UK can be a tricky business. There are a few considerations to take into account before trusting a delivery service to transport your goods.

Parcel Ex has outlined for you, the main do’s and don’ts when it comes to transporting food across the UK.

  1. Is your courier service a reputable company?

You will always find companies with either no track record, or even worse a negative track record when it comes to transporting foodstuffs. Do your research and read reviews.  If other people have had trouble with them then the chances of your experience being ‘less than pleasant’ is greatly increased.

That is not to say you should never give a newer company a chance for a greatly reduced rate but if they have no track record, do you really want to be their test market?

  • Does your courier have experience transporting food items across the UK?

To transport food and chemicals across the UK takes much more than a transit van and a willingness on the part of the driver not to sample the stock. There are specialist vehicles that offer refrigerated and heated transportation of food and pharmaceuticals across the UK.

I’ve mentioned in pervious blogs, the bad experiences they have had with other companies (I haven’t mentioned names for obvious reasons). Clients have had late and damaged deliveries and even lost clients because of the failure of the courier service to deliver on time.

  • Do you have real time contact with your courier and fulfilment company?

Communication is everything. Let me correct that – Honest and transparent communication is everything.

We’ve all experienced that feeling when waiting for a taxi company to arrive at your place of residence to take to an important engagement. Your taxi is late, so you call the number, and even before you have finished dialling you know what the operator is going to say:

“Your taxi is just around the corner.”

In a sense they are right. They just don’t specify what corner!

Some companies offer a tracking system, where you can tell exactly where your goods are at every stage of the journey. Others offer the facility to call and get an honest appraisal of where the lorry is at any stage of the journey.

A few companies will call twenty minutes or so before the delivery arrives to let you know, so you can call your clients and of those some have the facility to call your clients too.

If you can find a courier service that is willing to call their drivers on your behalf and find out exactly where they are and that your goods are safe then that is an added bonus.

Once the goods are on the road, the time it takes to get there is out of your hands and in the capable hands of your courier service but if you know that there is going to be a delay (Perhaps due to bad weather or a road blockage) then you can call your clients and keep them informed.

  • Will your Food items be delivered on time?

You will have a list of requirements from your courier service. Chief among I imagine them is that the time you have agreed is the time that it is delivered.

If you use a fulfilment company to transport your goods, then the chances are they already have your stock. It is catalogued, quality checked and shipped out ready for delivery at precisely the time that they said it would be. The company handles communication with your client and you have an accurate online inventory of what is being delivered, where and when.

If, on the other hand you are simply hiring a courier service to transport your food items across the UK then you will need to make sure that they are aware of what time the goods need to ARRIVE at the final destination. They should advise you of the optimum time to arrive at your location and load the goods.

  • What if weather Conditions Delay My Delivery?

Life happens. Sometimes elements that are completely out of your control such as adverse weather conditions or a road traffic accident can severely delay your courier delivering your food stock across the country within the agreed timescale.

A good courier service does what it can to minimise the effects of these conditions. At Parcel Ex, for example we have dedicated staff that monitor roads for unexpected congestion and communicate in real time with our drivers advising preferable routes. Our drivers are trained in this also so we generally find they have made the appropriate adjustments before we have even made the call.

You will be looking for a service that takes this level of care in making sure your delivery is completed on time.

  • What If the Lorry Breaks Down?

Surprisingly, that has never happened with Parcel Ex as it is a common occurrence with many couriers across the UK (Fingers crossed).

With specialised transportation there is more that can go wrong with it. You don’t want to be delivering refrigerated goods across the UK only to find that the refrigeration unit stopped working half way through the journey, rendering your entire inventory worthless and not fit for purpose.

The courier therefore will need to be using perfectly maintained vehicles and will need to be quality checked to make sure the temperature is carefully maintained throughout the entire journey.

If in the event of a lorry breaking down, two things are essential.

  1. You are to be kept informed.
  2. A counter measure is in place to minimise damage and delay of your stock.  (At Parcel Ex we have an engineer that can fix problems en route and if that is not possible, we make sure a replacement vehicle is on hand to take over the delivery.
  • Will the driver do the loading and unloading?

This often changes from courier service to courier service and in some cases from driver to driver too.

Many companies will not want to take responsibility for loading and unloading fragile items, food or dangerous chemicals simply because if anything goes wrong with it (They drop and ruin a pallet of your stock for example) then there is an argument you can potentially make for liability.

At the very least, the driver should make sure the items are secure once they are loaded onboard the transport.

Some companies however will offer the full service and load and unload your goods. This should not generally come at an extra cost and as far as Parcel Ex is concerned is an understandable expectation to make sure the goods are loaded safely on the refrigerated or heated vehicle for transportation across the UK.

  • What If My Items are Damaged en Route?

It happens from time to time. Couriers should do all they can to minimize the risk, but is items are damaged en route across the UK or a significant delay in delivering your items has resulted in a financial loss for you then select a company who has insurance in place to take the burden of cost from your shoulders.

Not all courier services offer this, so it is worth your while shopping around to find one that does.

If you need further help and advice on packing and arranging delivery of food items throughout the UK (Business or residential), leave a comment in the comments section or give us a call.

I hope this has helped. If you need any further information or would like a quote for a delivery or fulfilment service, click on the link below:

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