The industry is expecting never before seen parcel volumes: corona drives e-commerce, and Christmas is right around the corner. GLS Ireland ramped up capacities, mobilised additional personnel, and explores new ways to keep supply chains moving and consumers well supplied.
Full throttle during peak season
In October 2020, the parcel volumes of GLS customers surged already above the levels of the busiest days last year. “And this was still weeks ahead of the demanding peak in December”, says Swen Krüger, Managing Director GLS Ireland. “During this year’s Christmas season, we are expecting to be moving 75 per cent more parcels than in 2019.”
The “corona-effect” continues unabated. More people are buying online than ever before – enjoying the safety, convenience and contactless nature of shopping from home. At the same time, more and more retailers that used to be pure brick-and-mortar players are moving their offerings online. On top of that, many retailers expanded their Black Friday activities to last the entire month of November. The fact that Christmas presents this year will be sent more frequently using parcels, instead of gifting them in person, will further boost parcel volumes.
More man-power and new processes
“At GLS, we are used to volatile volumes and peaks, but the record volumes during this peak season have posed an extraordinary challenge to the entire parcel industry”, explains Swen Krüger. “Even with all additional measures preparing for the Christmas period, there will still be delays.”
To manage the at times extreme parcel volumes, the number of delivery drivers has been doubled and line haul personnel increased by 50 per cent – an unprecedented reinforcement of transport staff. At the depots, GLS Ireland has bolstered the number of hands on deck by 50 per cent, too.
A newly introduced process at the Hub in Dublin ensures optimal use of space and creates additional capacities. In the morning shift all the parcels have been divided into two waves and are handled one after the other. The first batch, which comprises around 40 per cent of parcels, is smaller to allow sufficient time to deal with any delays and ensure the next round can start on time. This split provides drivers with more space, enabling them to work quickly and efficiently as well as maintain their distance for the sake of their health.
Team stands strong
The flexibility of the team plays a decisive role. GLS Ireland is constantly reviewing capacities and adjusting work schedules to ensure there is sufficient staff in place at the right time. Swen Krüger: “Every one of our employees is on board and engaged. This contributes to our ability to continue to offer companies and consumers a reliable service. A large thanks to all who make this possible!”
Healthy and safe through the winter
Even during the busy Christmas season, GLS Ireland makes sure to maintain all corona-related measures so everyone can get through the pandemic safely. The motto in all customer interaction, at delivery and at the depots: masks on for one less thing to worry about! Anyone who enters the sites has their temperature taken at the entrance. Further important elements are hand sanitiser stations, social distancing reminders on the floor and at the conveyor system, and one COVID-19 compliance officer per shift, who is responsible for ensuring all the measures.