Friday rant: Epic Fail by TNT leads me to Big Data!

A bit of a Friday rant of when technology, people and process don’t work together.

My sad story starts on Tuesday I ordered a router from Apple, which I need for an upcoming seminar. Apple processes the order and gets TnT to dispatch the item very efficiently, it is dispatched overnight. Error 1… no notification so no-one is home!


Wednesday night I get home to find the ‘Sorry we missed you’ note including phone number and a web address to arrange re-delivery. Being the geek I am, (and the fact it is after hours), I duly logon and arrange the delivery for Friday, so I can work from home and be there to sign (a requirement).

Error 2 and 3… I get to work on Thursday and receive an SMS that the package is on its way! Why two errors?  Well first they got my on-line request, as they now have my mobile number but then ignored the request to deliver on Friday.

I then arrange for a family member to stay at home to receive the package, yes you guessed it.. no delivery. Error 4 their website shows that they attempted delivery and left a new ‘Sorry we missed you’ card… now neither did anyone knock on the door nor is there a note!! (Something smells wrong here!)

Error 5, this morning I check their tracking web-site and the item is not on the truck. So I call up to find out what is going on.. and my details are taken down and I’m told that ‘Customer Services’ will get  back to me immediately… Two hours later I call again…  Error 6, I am told they are not coming to my area again, so I’ll have to be there on Monday to receive the package!!

Now I know it’s dangerous to insult the waiter before the food has been served! However, after inconveniencing me for two days, there was no qualms about telling me to stay at home for a third. I queried all the errors above and no explanation was given, in fact no interest in ‘customer service’ what so ever! Fascinating was the attitude that this is all my problem and nothing to do with them… how wrong are they?

Now, obviously if I ever need a courier I am not going to choose TNT. However this loss of revenue is of consequence to them given the number of times in my life I will use their services.  But what about from a cost point of view! In the end they will have handled the package 4 times and delivered it, an alleged, 3 times!  Now either I’m totally confused about the margins in the logistics market, but I can’t see how they can turn a profit on this. The time I had to wait for the phone to be answered and the number of complaints I found on the web would indicate this is not an isolated event.

(I am in not saying that TNT does not run a good operation. With customers like Apple, you can imagine the massive volume of packages, and at this scale a low % of errors leads to a lot of on-line noise!)

My question is, what are they doing to move towards zero incidents? My impression from my interaction is nothing! But I have to believe that the multiple handling and error processing processes they have must be costing them millions, which if resolved could drop straight to the bottom line!

Just consider if they collected and collated all of the information they have about these incidents. Not easy as its different types of data and it’s all over their organisation. How hard would it be to pick up inefficiencies, like reasons for ‘not at home’ deliveries, the reason why customers report no delivery was attempted and the system says it was, the marketing program to promote ‘deliver to work’.. oh so many ideas…. Just another big data opportunity, internal efficiency!


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