GLS Ireland – 20 years on the move

Two decades on the booming parcel market: GLS started its service in Ireland in 1999. A lot has changed in the world of parcel services since then. For GLS, one thing has remained the same – a dedication to quality. InSight takes a look at the most important milestones.

The year 1999 was an important one for GLS in Europe. General Logistics Systems B.V. was founded as a subsidiary of the Royal Mail Group and established in Amsterdam. Moreover, the GLS Group expanded to Ireland by purchasing the Williames Group. The company underwent substantial restructuring and by 2004, the brand GLS Ireland was established. The main network structure was put into place early on. The hub in Dublin serves as an international gateway while the six depots are strategically located throughout the entire country. In July 2019, a seventh depot was launched in Kerry. With short standard delivery times, the network covers all 32 counties and further offers a next day delivery service to Northern Ireland.


Technological advances

The history of GLS is also the story of how technological changes influence parcel services. Take 2005 as an example – the GLS Group invested heavily in technology. With a new IT-system including hard and software, the Group modernised its infrastructure. Irish transport partners benefitted from a new routing system specifically designed for Ireland – supporting them in delivering parcels efficiently. 

The flow of information between all depots and the hub has always been a key to high quality and transparency at GLS. Parcels are scanned at each interface, be that while passing a sorter or when handled by a person. Based on this data, GLS makes the relevant status information available online allowing customers to track their parcels from collection to delivery. Starting in 2008, tracking happened in real time. With the rise of smartphone apps, customers can now carry the world of GLS with them in their pockets.


Convenience is king

The e-commerce boom of the past years is responsible for ever increasing parcel volumes. Online shopping is all about convenience. In GLS Ireland’s past 20 years, this has become more and more important.

What seems obvious today, was still new at the time: shopping and handing in parcels at the same time. In 2005, GLS ParcelShops became a convenient and cost-saving alternative to the state-run Postal Offices. What started with ParcelShops in the six depots in Ireland was quickly expanded to drop points in shops all over the country. The new ParcelShops enabled private and commercial customers with medium to low shipment numbers to hand in their parcels conveniently. Today, there are around 300 ParcelShops in Ireland. Further expansion of the network of shops is currently underway.

New services benefit consignees and web shops by providing more flexibility for parcel delivery as well as return options. In 2017, GLS Ireland introduced FlexDeliveryService specifically for online retail – accommodating domestic and international shipments. The same year, another solution tailored for online shopping was introduced. ShopReturnService allows online shoppers to conveniently return parcels to a retailer by dropping them off at one of GLS Ireland’s ParcelShops.


Like a family

All of these achievements would not have been possible without the GLS Ireland team. Some of them have been with the company for the entire 20 years and have dedicated most of their professional lives to GLS. “The spirit of our GLS Ireland family impresses me every day”, explained Andreas Rickert in the anniversary year 2019, then Managing Director at GLS Ireland. “With their dedication, we have been able to grow together with our customers. And GLS Ireland’s goal is to continue to meet the ever-changing demands of senders and consignees.”

Certified quality

Over the years, GLS Ireland has received several certifications under the internationally recognised standards. Among them:

ISO 9001: Certifies the Group’s quality management systems which works according to the four-tier principle: Plan, Do, Check, Act.

ISO 14001: To ensure processes meet environmental and economic goals, GLS has obtained this certificate which checks how resources are managed.

GDP: Good Distribution Practice (GDP) guidelines certify the transportation of medicinal products. GLS meets the standards for safety and hygiene for the non-temperature-controlled transport of medicinal products.

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