The two key metrics that reveal how good a courier really is

Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

Cost steals the spotlight when businesses are choosing a delivery provider.

It's understandable why – cutting costs and boosting margins are really important for any business. But here’s the thing: it can’t and shouldn’t be the only thing you look at; focusing too much on cost can seriously backfire.

From incurring higher hidden costs to overwhelming your customer service team, and wrecking your brand’s reputation, obsessing over fees and not performance will save you a bit of cash but run plenty of big risks.

Cost doesn’t really reveal how good a courier really is. And in the e-commerce age – when a delivery driver is one of your brand’s few real-world interactions with your customers – a good courier is really, really valuable.

This all begs the question, what metrics should you be looking at alongside cost to get a nice, full picture? 

On-time delivery rate and failure rate are your delivery North Star metrics. Combined, they will very quickly tell you almost everything you need to know about how good a courier really is.

Now remember, if a courier won’t tell you what theirs are, chances are they’re not good.

On-time delivery rate

As it sounds, on-time delivery rate tells you how often a courier delivers packages when they say they’ll deliver packages.

It's a big deal because, in this age of real-time tracking and round-the-clock updates, customers expect to know where the order is and, crucially, receive it on time. As a brand, meeting these expectations can boost your reputation and keep your customers happy; failing to meet them is bad news.

So, what do good and bad on-time delivery rates look like? Let’s look at some numbers.

For bad, Royal Mail is a good recent example. After investigating Royal Mail for failing to meet a range of delivery targets in 2022/23, Ofcom found that 73.7% of first class mail was delivered within one working day. As a reminder – or if you weren’t aware – first class letters are supposed to be delivered one day after they're dispatched.

Packfleet’s on-time delivery rate is 99.95%, on the other hand, which we’re very happy to say is pretty darn good (we’ve worked hard to get it there).

Failure rate

Failure rate is about the mishaps – how often things go wrong with deliveries, like packages getting lost, damaged or delivered late. A low failure rate is key because it means fewer headaches for you and your customers, and it saves you from the hassle and cost of resolving delivery issues.

Looking at the numbers, believe it or not the big players in the delivery space aren’t that forthcoming with their failure rates for one big, obvious reason (they’re not very good). However, a 2021 report by Loqate found the failure rate for first-time deliveries in the UK to be 6% – in other words, six in every 100 parcels fail to be delivered first time. 

Since we launched in 2021, Packfleet has maintained a parcel failure rate of 0.07%, which is a lot, lot less than the leading traditional couriers. Again, we’re very happy to talk about this and how it compares against the rest of the industry because we work seriously hard to get and keep it there. 

Together, failure rate and on-time delivery rate are the metrics that matter most in the deliveries world. That’s why you can find ours on the homepage of the Packfleet website.