Yodel Executive Chairman response to Ch4 Despatches Program

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Dick Stead YodelFollowing last night’s Despatches expose of Yodel, one might have felt a little sympathy for Yodel Chief Executive Dick Stead as he stood up in front of hundreds of retailers and courier colleagues at the Metapack Delivery Conference.

I spoke to Dick just before he spoke and he was relishing the opportunity to speak. In his normal down to earth, frank and honest manner he addressed the program full on.

Yes, he said, there were some things the program portrayed which just shouldn’t happen. Dick assured the audience that the board were discussing what actions to take, which include making sure they have enough supervisors for each shift to make sure the ‘Pass the parcel’ game the program showed.

However Dick was quite unrepentant about how trailers are loaded with parcels, how parcels are dropped into cages and that with the best will in the world, sometimes parcels will be dropped, fall off a conveyor or some other less than optimal treatment. It is, said Dick, just the way that high volume couriers (all of them, not just Yodel) operate.

Dick pointed out that a courier can quite easily offer a solution where every parcel is carefully placed in a trailer and generally handled with kid gloves. In fact I’m aware that Yodel do wine and flower deliveries and these items are handled gently.

Avoiding each damaged parcel would cost £12,500

The truth is that there’s a cost to this, Dick says for Yodel this would translate to about 50p per parcel. He also pointed out that their average damaged parcel is one in every 20-25,000 parcels.

In basic business terms, the cost to avoid one damaged parcel would cost anything up to £12,500. Retailers don’t want to pay this. Consumers certainly don’t want to pay more for carriage, they want it for free. If no one is willing to pay £12,500 for each damaged item then we have to accept that they’re going to happen.

Dick also addressed the courier on 60p per parcel who could only deliver a handful per hour. Noting that when you go around followed by a camera crew it does tend to slow you down and deliver way less than the normal 10-20 parcels per hour that their couriers routinely deliver.

Having spoken to many people at today’s Delivery Conference the general consensus is that Yodel were somewhat unfairly portrayed. It’s almost like Despatches went looking for carnage in the expectation that Yodel would have a melt down like 2014 when they suspended collections for up to two days. That didn’t happen so they were left with a bit of rough (but normal) handling and a bit of horseplay which shouldn’t happen but undoubtedly occurs from time to time in just about every warehouse in the country when the boss isn’t looking.

9 Responses

  1. You have to consider that the government owns Channel 4, they also own a share in Yodels competition, Royal Mail. I doubt we would see a reporter going undercover with Royal Mail to explain why they seem to lose an awful lot of packages, and how so many packages sent by 1st Class Post don’t turn up for over a week!

  2. I used yodel before, but the collections were poor. The driver said he didn’t get paid to collect so didn’t see the point.

    I then used parcel force and UPS instead.

  3. Had many a time when Yodel have not turned up to collect a parcel. And worse still had 2 parcels booked but they would only take 1 as did not have paperwork for the other so refused to take it. If they don’t want my parcels I go to other companies.

    UPS on the other hand attitude towards customers completely different, us UPS for large parcels which have to be collected, if got smaller UPS Access point parcels the driver will take them as well to save me a trip. Also had a customer return a parcel with just my name and city on yet the driver worked out who it was for and delivered it. Great service and go the extra mile when needed.

  4. I firmly believe that all couriers are rubbish, but some are just less rubbish than others. The choice really is to go with the ones who mess up the least, which IME is DPD/Interlink, followed by Parcelforce.

    Yodel have let me down so many times as both a sender and a receiver that I wouldn’t use them unless I was totally desperate.


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