The Internet of Things is not only allowing for the development of new products and services but also improving the way of doing things. Nowadays, there is little left in our modern world that isn’t affected by technology and the carrier industry is no exception, being strongly influenced by the rise of ecommerce.

Data from the Ecommerce Foundation shows that ecommerce in the UK was worth €157bn in 2015. This has direct repercussions for carriers with the number of parcels travelling through the supply chain increasing year-on-year. During the peak period of 2016, we were noticing heights of 3,700 orders per minute across the NetDespatch platform. All of this demonstrates that consumers are becoming more engaged with ecommerce than ever before, and this trend shows no sign of slowing.

Carriers are being challenged to innovate and develop in what has become a highly competitive industry. Our recent research revealed that next day delivery is a top priority for consumers and 88% of those surveyed stated that they would be prepared to pay for a one or two day parcel delivery service. In addition to this, same day, Sunday deliveries, evening deliveries and a whole array of delivery destinations for the delivery driver are becoming increasingly available for consumers. This is certainly presenting new challenges for carriers, not to mention an escalating demand for more and more delivery drivers.

The industry however is facing a national shortage of delivery drivers. The combined impact of an ageing professional HGV driver workforce and the lack of new entrants coming through to replace those who leave the sector as a result of retirement or to pursue different careers is taking its toll. Sadly, not enough young people are considering driving as a career option. There are several reasons for this including the cost of licence acquisition, lack of understanding of the sector, poor sector image, driver medical requirements and low quality driver facilities.

What can carriers do? One idea that is being discussed is the ‘uberisation’…