Couriers Shift to the Supply Chain Side

A significant number of messenger courier companies are moving into roles as key players in the global supply chain, representing a shift from their previous role delivering letters and packages. That’s according to a survey conducted recently by the Messenger Courier Association of American (MCAA).

“The majority of our members (53%) say their businesses are doing better than a year ago,” reports Chris MacKrell, president of MCAA. “An important component of that success is the industry’s shifting role as a key player in the global supply chain. That contrasts with the old-fashioned view of our industry as one consisting of mom and pop companies delivering letters.”

Over the past few years, MCAA members have increasingly migrated towards handling larger freight. Seventy-one percent of survey respondents now offer expedited freight delivery and 95% are making use of cargo vans. Less than 50% of members needed pickups or vans in 2007, according to a previous survey of members by MCAA. Forty-two percent of members surveyed this year have seen an increase in larger freight deliveries.

The shift is supported by increasingly sophisticated technology, which is seen as a requirement to coordinate the delivery of shipments globally, nationally and regionally, says MacKrell. “Seventy-five percent of respondents told us that their communications’ systems were integrated into their business systems and 93% accept orders via the internet. An increasing number (24%) are able to capture data directly from customers’ websites.”

Other key findings from the survey are:

● A large majority (84%) depend on independent contracts to meet the need for on-demand deliveries.
● Most (57%) offer national and regional service.
● Members expect two key factors to figure heavily in their continued success: new service offerings (45%) and the revival of the economy (60%).
● The key industry sectors served by the expedited business are medical, banking, high-tech, pharmaceutical, 3PLs and government.
● Most members (53%) have been in the expedited delivery industry for over 20 years.

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