Organisational Factors and Delivery Driver Behaviour

Home deliveries are very convenient for customers and may even be beneficial for reducing congestion. Multi-drop driving means there are fewer on-road trips compared with the number of cars that would otherwise be on the road (Braithwaite, 2017). There are fleet safety implications though with concerns being raised about the safety of multi-drop delivery driving. These days courier and home delivery-based companies are focusing on driver safety given its impact on a company’s brand reputation as well as the bottom line in terms of wear and tear on vehicles. Companies are also keen to avoid any serious human costs of injury and fatal crashes which cannot be tolerated.

Whether your company is a ‘Pure play’ online retailer that only sells online, or an omnichannel with both an online presence and physical shops (‘bricks and clicks’) – driver behaviour is a significant factor for customer satisfaction ratings. Customers that receive a poor delivery experience and are inconvenienced by delays are less likely to place further orders (Braithwaite, 2017). As the final point of contact with the customer, the behaviour of the delivery driver can be an influencing factor on your bottom line. Shopper behaviour is fuelled by the expectation of an increasingly personalised retail experience and high quality must be provided across every single touchpoint along the customer journey including the most important ‘last mile’.

Companies are focused on doing all that they can to improve the customer experience but there is a balance between the profitability of timely deliveries and taking risks to complete too many deliveries on an impossible schedule. Companies must carefully consider how routes are scheduled and whether the number of parcels or goods being delivered in a working day is reasonable. In the pursuit of profit, companies may be unwittingly rewarding unsafe driving. Some drivers may not receive a regular salary but are self-employed and paid for each job, or ‘gig’ completed. Driver’s pay can be based on a ‘Drop Rate’ with a fixed rate for each delivery (or collection) or based on a ‘Parcel Rate’ – a fixed rate for each individual parcel. Industry experts working with delivery companies confirm that a parcel delivery target is typically 120 to 150 parcels per van per day. However, some courier-based companies make 20 to 80 parcel deliveries per day.

Taking these two estimates into account, an average of 80 deliveries for each driver may be a high workload depending upon the route. Delivery drivers are motivated to maximise their income, but may experience high levels of stress that affect their driving performance and increase their risk. As well as unsafe driving behaviour, insufficient rest breaks, unreasonably tight deadlines and excessive working hours can lead to an increased risk of conflicts with customers.

This article is an excerpt from ‘Multi-drop Delivery Driving: What are the risks?’ white paper.