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.

 

Gadgets

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.

 

Attitude

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 enquiries@ngclogistics.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A significant portion of the logistics industry is rooted in asphalt, and ‘road rage’ is just not welcome.

Let’s face it. When out on the road, there are times when many motorists can feel frustrated. Recent Gallup poll statistics show that nearly 9 out of 10 UK drivers have experienced road rage first hand, with around 70% committing the offence and about 80% being victims of it. Us UK folk actually hold the world title for biggest road rage nation. However, it’s a problem seen in most countries. Even the AAA Foundation in the US reports that nearly 56% of fatal crashes happen because of potentially aggressive actions.

The great thing about the logistics industry, is that we are constantly surrounded by a network of professional drivers. Each well versed in the world of transport and the behaviors that come with it. It is always a good idea to be aware of these traits so that when the need arises, we can remember and apply. Here are some top tips from our experts and veterans of the road to stay calm and safe.

 

If you see it

Now and again, we spot the odd shaking fist, honk or a straight flipping off. Unfortunately in some cases, such gestures are just the first link in a chain of events. As propagators of safety, we do not want an escalation for anyone. Consider the following:

 

If you feel it

Professor Zhen Yan of State University of New York proved that stress clouds our thinking and impairs our decision making abilities. There is a range of precautions we can take to make our journey on the road as stress-free as possible.

 

For more information on the topics of road safety, please visit http://think.direct.gov.uk/ and www.rospa.com

If you feel like talking to someone about stress, the Samaritans run a 24 hour help line. Please call 116 123.

 

In some cases, a 9-5 job is just not right for us. A better balance of work and home life. The opportunity to be independent. More flexibility and control over your career. These things matter and can be made available in a self-employed role.

Freedom

A company or individual can nominate you to complete their work. Of course, they will clearly state what end result they expect from you. They might even share some info, on the best way they think it can be done. But how you direct your work is your choice. You are your own boss, and build your own routine. This means that you choose where, when and how the job will get done. You will want to keep your clients satisfied in order to get good referrals, more work and better paid opportunities. But at the end of the day, you are free to do business with clients, not work for employers.

 

Finance

The great thing about a business is that you can make a lot of money. Companies will normally pay contractors more than employees for the same work. Additionally, business expenses can be deducted from taxes by independent contractors, increasing your pay. Your private assets can also be partially included as long as you can justify their business use. If a business loan is taken out, the interest can even be deducted from the revenue if the terms and conditions state.

Talking about support, the government also provide financial help to those wanting to start their own business in designated regeneration areas. Even charities such as the Prince’s Trust have been known to help 18-30 year old start their own business. Coming straight out of unemployment can be hard. But if you meet certain criteria, your local Jobcentre Plus could arrange self-employed credit of an extra £50 per week if you meet the criteria. You may even qualify for entitlement to working and child tax credits.

 

Form

When you run a self-employed operation, it can be in one of several forms:

In a sole-trader or partnership situation, you are self-employed legally. Running your own limited company would normally mean you are employed as a director in your own business. It is important to understand your format because different legislation can apply.

 

Opportunity

With more and more people discovering the flexible advantages of a self-employed occupation, it is no wonder companies like NGC Logistics are growing.

Click here to head over to the Self-Employed Driver Opportunities page to view the posts in your local area and request a call-back for more information.