Regional logistics company meets soaring demand during pandemic
The Challenge for Courier Express
When you think of businesses that have been around for a long time, you might imagine that consistency is one of their keys to success. At a company like Courier Express, which has decades of experience in the logistics space, company leaders need the ability to meet customer expectations month after month. With the ebbs and flows in demand that naturally come in the logistics space, the company often has to find novel ways to maintain the consistency that is so critical to satisfying customers. Meeting demand that’s always changing was a challenge only exacerbated by 2020.
Courier Express was growing fast and needed to find workers to keep up with the demand created by new clients and increased volume. As COVID-19 lockdowns created pressure on the logistics industry, major national carriers implemented limits, forcing companies to look elsewhere for logistics services. "We have ebbs and flows in our peak season. Just maintaining the proper workforce based on the usual flow can be very challenging."
When this happened, Courier Express experienced months of continuous growth as new customers came from their previous providers looking for greener pastures. That sounds like something that would thrill any company. However, it created tougher challenges than usual for the logistics company, because the spikes they typically expect grew in a big way. “Typically, just depending on the flow of our business, we have ebbs and flows in our peak season,” says Py Stills, strategic project manager at Courier Express. “Just maintaining the proper workforce based on the usual flow can be very challenging if we have a customer that hits peak higher than we were expecting.”
To keep up, Courier Express used staffing companies and temp agencies to bring in workers. However, company leaders quickly got frustrated with the inconsistency in the reliability of temp workers. They’d get bad workers in one day, then the next they’d have some they like, and later in the week they wouldn’t recognize anyone that showed up. Without control of the selection process, there was little they could do to fix the situation. “We were using agencies to fill our needs, and we would have a situation where one day we started training a person, and the next day they might not be there,” says Stills. “It’s frustrating when you invest your time in training people and then that person doesn’t return for whatever reason and you’re not getting good communication back from the staffing company that you’re using.” Stills needed workers fast, and she needed to know she could trust them to show up and do the work well. The work required significant training, and losing time training temps was a drain on Courier Express. “It all boiled down to consistency. The work we do requires training. Without consistency, we were restarting that process every time we had turnover. That level of frustration on us was enough to make a change,” says Stills. Frustrated and ready to make a change in how she solved the labor needs at Courier Express, Stills set out to find a better way.
How They Used Veryable to Scale Their Operations
Just in time to meet increased demands from clients, Stills heard of Veryable’s on-demand labor platform. At first, she was hesitant to commit to the solution, so she tested the waters by posting a few work opportunities (Ops) in general warehouse work. “Starting out, honestly I was testing the waters to see if everything that I had been told about Veryable was accurate,” says Stills. “Getting into Veryable and being able to see the distance a worker lives from here, how many other Ops that they’ve worked for other companies, and what their ranking is... none of that’s available at staffing agencies or temp firms. When I first saw all those options there, it put a question mark in my mind because it’s not something that I was used to seeing. Usually you just get a human, they show up and that’s what you get.”
This first round of Ops brought in workers doing general tasks to lighten the load on her full-time employees. “When we first started, it was just to see if the quality of work matched what the Veryable portal said. Within the first week, we saw that what Veryable provides as a ranking from other companies and the performance from who actually walks in the door coincided."
Within a week of using on-demand labor, Stills could see a difference. She quickly realized the potential to complete other tasks with Veryable Operators and began posting Ops that required more training. “I started with one building because that’s where we needed it the most for the clients we were bringing on. Now I have Operators working in three buildings. We use Veryable workers on both our day and night shifts,” says Stills. “When we first started, it was just to see if the quality of work matched what the Veryable portal said. Within the first week, we saw that what Veryable provides as a ranking from other companies and the performance from who actually walks in the door coincided. Now, some of the people that we’re finding with Veryable are trained side by side with our employees to take care of our clients’ needs.”
Consistent Quality at Last
With control over who showed up and the ability to add workers who performed well to a labor pool, Stills was able to keep up with the fast growth happening in her business. She found the consistency of quality and the control of the labor sourcing that she was missing before, and used this to meet her goals with on-demand labor.
“Having consistency allows us to meet our customer metrics. The key with Veryable that has them stand out above the rest is consistency and the fact that you can choose your candidates based on their rankings according to previous jobs,” says Stills. “The amount of information that you get gives you the insight you need to choose the right person that will fit your network. That’s something you won’t get with any other company out there.”
Stills added her favorite workers to a labor pool, and now she consistently invites workers who are familiar with her operation back to work when there is a need for them. She rarely brings in new people unless she needs to scale her operations to meet an unusually high peak demand.
The results from the Courier Express team’s implementation of an on-demand labor pool speak for themselves.
“Between Courier Express and Veryable, we were able to cover everything we needed without having to go to outside sources. We got to increase business with one of our clients and we brought on a new client in our distribution network, with a second one pending already this year,” says Stills.
Flexible Capacity for Future Growth
Since creating a business portal on Veryable and posting the first Ops for Courier Express, Stills has grown her implementation to inviting 20-30 Operators each week while demand is high. She has added two users to the portal to manage the Veryable implementation independently at each of the company’s active sites. Veryable Operators regularly work at all three locations on day and night shifts when demand is high, doing skilled work right alongside her full-time employees. “Veryable will be able to fit any future need we may have. It’s already branched out to other states we are in. We will continue to grow with Veryable as each new market picks it up and starts to use it.”
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