If we step back in time, the tools in a courier’s arsenal were fairly limited and basic compared to what we find used by the couriers of today. As time progressed, technology evolved which helped logistics firms to expand their operations. Thanks to GPS technology for example, drivers have quickly found themselves working in unfamiliar locations more often, and are expected to make efficient and accurate deliveries. Couriers
The simple fact is that delivery work has evolved and so has the set of tools a driver uses to get their job done faster and easier. Let’s take a look at what items are on offer, taking inspiration from classic essentials to modern technology.
Clothing & PPE
Steel Toe Boots – when going into loading and cargo areas, safety is always first. Likewise, many veteran couriers have been caught in the heavy rain and have had to deal with slushy socks all day. A good pair of waterproof steel toe boots is a great investment and will serve purpose in many situations.
High Visibility Vest – drivers definitely should be visible in safety controlled areas. In addition, when out on the road in winter times when early sunsets are commonplace, it is recommended that drivers stay visible in remote areas or places with low lighting to ensure other motorists can see you. Customers are also more likely to react better to a driver if they are highly visible.
Waterproofs – good old weather can be a mysterious character. With unpredictable drizzles and flash sunshine spells, it is always good to be prepared. Water resistant trousers and a water resistant hooded coat are a handy pair to keep in the cab. Tip: keeping these items thin and light will mean you can slip them on and off easily with little discomfort. For those who get caught unexpectedly, keeping a change of clothes is a good idea.
Comfortable Running Shoes – steel toe boots are not the most pleasant things to wear, especially if you are out for quite a few hours. Switching to a good pair of comfortable foot wear when sensible will make a huge difference to mood and foot maintenance.
Stationary & Documents
Pen – a good pen for most couriers is like a limb. Find a type that writes well, is easy to grip and not too expensive to replace. You might want to throw a few in the glove compartment while you’re at it.
Writing Pad – always good to keep around the van, you never know when some key information needs jotting down to turn an attempt into a successful delivery.
Map – the tried and tested method. A printed street map of your delivery area will not run out of battery. Especially important when operating in new territory or in the midst of a possible technological malfunction.
Insurance & Road Side Assistance – if ever in an incident, having the right documents can make processes much more efficient. Making emergency hotline numbers easily visible will always help in times of uncertainty.
Smartphone & Apps
In 2016, the UK has a population of over 65 million people, 71% of which have smartphones. This means in each internet ready unit, a wealth of tools and apps are on offer to enable the modern courier to operate and perform more efficiently than ever. It is very easy nowadays to find a highly functional smartphone for well under £100.
Google Maps (Free) – an easily found and simple to operate navigation app. Includes traffic warnings and the ability to avoid toll roads.
Waze (Free) – having developed significantly since its release in mid 2016, this alternative navigation app also includes traffic warnings but most importantly is able to display the less common but more efficient routes to avoiding traffic. Brilliant for the courier who doesn’t want to slow down when traffic hits.
MileIQ (Free or £4.49 for Upgrade) – mileage tracking is regular practice for couriers. With apps like this, one can keep a track of their travel miles with handy mini-reports, saving time and making things nice and simple.
BBC Weather (Free) – when heading out for the day, understanding the weather situation is important as couriers are often in and out of their vehicles. The weather app is clear and accurate, making attire, vehicle and PPE preparation easy.
Satellite Navigation – often sold as single units or now more commonly integrated into vehicle dashboards, a dedicated GPS system is very handy to find your way around considering the smartphone alternative may run out of battery or credit.
Mobile Phone Mount – a very useful piece of kit. When in the flow of driving and delivering, attention given to a phone flapping around on a seat or in your lap can be very dangerous and possibly lead to an accident. Mounting your phone on a sturdy holder will mean its visibility is efficient and safe, providing minimal distraction.
Hands Free Unit – normally based on Bluetooth, dashboard or voice control elements, these things are legal and help with safety. If you find that calling customers or answering important calls happens often in the day, it is better to it properly and avoid fines, points or a driving ban. Most commonly rechargeable and ear mounted.
Cigarette Lighter Splitter – many courier companies often use hand held devices to assist with delivery processing and tracking. This will most likely need to be kept charged. However, you can use one of these handy things to charge your phone and other things at the same time. Bonus: some units even come with USB ports.
Vehicle Maintenance & Misc
A responsible motorist will keep a regular eye on their vehicle from tyre tread depths to fluid levels. That being said, there are always occurrences that can happen unexpectedly.
Tyre Changing Kit – oh the horror. The stories I have heard of wrenches not fitting the nuts. As professional drivers, couriers may find themselves in the situation of changing a tyre or two. It is important to have a complete and functional set of tools that turn this task into a doddle. A suitable spare wheel, jack and lug wrench are essential.
Flashlight – when taking a closer look at things or navigating low visibility areas, this thing can turn difficult situations into very manageable tasks. Bonus: most mobile phones have inbuilt flashlights but it is always good to keep a dedicated unit for emergencies.
Lubricant – a can of WD-40 can go a long way when it comes to preventing locks from freezing in the winter or dealing with door functionality issues.
Ice Scraper – some vehicles have fantastic technologies built in to prevent any snow or ice forming on the windows. However, not all vehicles have such advantages. Keeping a scraper around will mean that in a few short strokes, you can be ready to set off and get your day started.
Piece of Carpet – laying a piece down in the back of the van will certainly make you feel groovy but when stuck in the snow, will also serve a great purpose. Using carpets or similar items in addition to gritty things like sand and cat litter can make a huge difference when working get unstuck.
First Aid Kit – you can never really know when you might require one, but you will definitely be thankful if you have one tucked away if the need arises. Better safe than sorry as they say.
This is the real essential element. If an individual can get this right, all of the items above will just bolt on. If you can think of anything that we have not included, please let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org