Australia’s largest franchised courier service is bigger and better than ever, thanks to its commitment to providing its franchisees with high-tech solutions
One van. That and a business plan was all it took to found Fastway Couriers, a courier delivery service in New Zealand in 1983. Today, Fastway Couriers is franchised with a presence in five countries: New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Northern Ireland, and South Africa. Fastway Couriers takes a unique approach to courier services, offering cost effective, reliable, timetable courier service, backed up by the latest computer technology and online parcel track and trace facilities, making them the ideal choice for individual consumers, small-to-medium sized businesses, as well as leading international e-tailers.
The company is proud of its business model, which is made up of franchisees on a national, regional, and courier level. Such a model has proven to be adaptable to various markets, growing and prospering in five countries across the world.
Traditionally Fastway Couriers employed a business-to-business (B2B) model, however the last five years has seen a change in their business due to online retail. To remain competitive in this changing market, Fastway Couriers identified that it too needed to change. Reinvigorating the brand, investing in leading edge technology, and developing national partnerships—particularly in the ecommerce space and ensuring innovation is at the forefront of service development—has enabled the company to retain a competitive market share.
With such a rapidly changing market, Richard Thame, CEO, outlined how important it is to ensure your business adapts to suit.
“As the ecommerce space developed, we saw the need to reinvigorate our brand. We needed to ensure our brand reflected what our customers wanted and from here the decision was made to undertake a rebrand. Fastway Couriers are known to be the ‘friendly courier experts’ who ‘delight the customer at the door’. Our logo, our brand voice, our depots, and most importantly our franchisees and staff must reflect this,” said Thame.
A strong business foundation is required to ensure you can adapt with the market and achieve your service standards, and the Fastway Couriers franchise model certainly does that.
“Our Courier franchisees buy the exclusive rights to a territory, they develop strong relationships with their local customers, and work hard to further grow their business. With enough territory growth there is then the opportunity for the Courier franchisee to sell part of their territory for a capital gain” said Thame. “While our business foundation is strong we recognise that we need to ensure our franchisees are equipped with the best technology, processes, and communication avenues to support them in their daily operations and ultimately their service delivery.”
It was with this in mind Fastway developed its online portal. Designed as an advanced internal communication and feedback tool in the form of an intranet, the portal provides all franchisees with access to remuneration details, score cards, relevant network and industry information, and much more. It also enables Fastway’s head office to effectively interact and engage with employees of every level within the company.
Another piece of technology that has become integral to Fastway Couriers success is Blackbay’s real-time enterprise mobility solutions, which provides an easy solution for parcel tracking and electronic signature capturing. The technology has also helped reduce failed deliveries, a key data point for courier companies.
“We’ve learned over the years that both the sender and the receiver are customers, regardless of who is paying for our service,” Thame said. “So we want to be able to provide services that benefit both. Putting Blackbay’s scanner software in our Courier franchisees’ hands makes it easy for them to know if the receiving customer wants his or her parcel delivered at home, at work, or at a Parcel Connect agent and it updates depending on the choice the receiver has made.”
Partnerships with eBay
Fastway Couriers sees the importance in developing relationships with customers and has maintained a partnership with eBay since the middle of 2014, bringing the online retail and business-to-consumer side of the industry into its business in a big way. It provides a simple and cost-effective way to send parcels via Fastway Couriers through an integrated eBay Portal.
It automatically imports all of the seller’s transactional information: all the eBay seller has to do from there is select a Fastway product that suits their needs, choose a time for pick-up, and attach the printed label. This provides Fastway Couriers’ service on a pay-as-you-go basis, making it a cost-effective option for sellers.
“We’re able to offer a service to Australia’s eBay seller community, and get their goods to buyers in an easy and efficient way,” said Thame.
The best news regarding this partnership is that it’s a win for eBay sellers and a win for Fastway Couriers. Thame shared that the eBay integration has doubled that side of the business every month since its inception.
This year has also seen a partnership with Officeworks for the introduction of their new hassle-free parcel delivery service, Mailman.
“These partnerships are large contributors to Fastway’s continued growth and with the ever changing trends in buyer behavior, identifying, developing, and maintaining partnerships will be a key to our business success” Thame said.
Like every CEO, Thame is looking forward to growth, and has every confidence that it will continue. On top of expanding services to online retailers, the company is excited to see growth in its Trans-Tasman offering, sending parcels between New Zealand and Australia. And with further development of their Parcel Connect service, allowing customers to send, collect, and return their parcels at a time that suits them, Thame’s goal of continued year-on-year growth looks to be achievable. “We currently have over 400 Parcel Connect agents across the country and we project 1,000 to be in operation by the end of the year” said Thame.
“The thing is, much of what we offer—like limited liability coverage on products, a great level of accountability, as well as fostering innovative services like Parcel Connect—means the customer is getting a service above and beyond what everyone else offers, and we’re really proud of that,” Thame concluded.