Delivery Problems

 In my repair business, although I have a reasonably large stock of new parts on hand, I need to regularly place orders for things like relays. Relays come in lots of shapes and sizes, and more particularly in a large range of prices. I have several preferred suppliers to whom I go several times a week. Most offer free delivery, some regardless of order size and some who insist on a minimum order. The problems I've had lately are probably due to competition and possibly recruitment difficulties. The cheapest supplier has done a deal with Royal Mail to offer "first class delivery", but with a wait of maybe 3 or more days. "First" reminds me of the way they changed the football league names.. here "First" or Division 1 is really the 3rd Division so maybe the Post Office have invented 3rd class but renamed it First class? Championship post is the old 2nd class and Premier class is now the old next day delivery first class?

Some suppliers no longer allow small orders and for example force you to buy a quantity of ten (or a lot more) specific items rather than one or two and some just quote very high prices for small quantities. The carriers used by suppliers are mainly Royal Mail and UPS but the former has changed its definition of first class so that next day delivery is no longer guaranteed. UPS, on the other hand has maintained "next day delivery guaranteed", but alas this is meaningless.

I quote..."First Class beat its 93.0 percent target for next-working-day delivery with a 93.2 percent performance during the three-month period. Four of the 118 postcode areas achieved greater than 96.0 percent performance and 14 were above 95.0 percent. However 14 areas were below the minimum 91.5 percent First Class performance. Royal Mail is doing all it can to lift the unacceptable performance in these areas".

"For single-piece, first class mail, they target 96% delivery in the same area where mailed within 2 days, and within 3–5 days anywhere in the nation outside the local area".

In fact....Royal Mail actually allow 15 days for a first class letter to be delivered.

  I waited the best part of a week for items from CPC (quoted and supported by the franking on the parcel as "Royal Mail First Class"), and my last order from Farnell managed to get from Belgium, via Germany and Castle Donnington to Southampton in only twelve hours before just vanishing into thin air (loosely described as "In Transit").

This is shown by UPS at 10:00am Thursday, 6th December 2018

In Transit 04/12/2018 8:37 Southampton, United Kingdom , Destination Scan

04/12/2018 7:32, Southampton, United Kingdom , Destination Scan
04/12/2018 7:30, Southampton, United Kingdom , Destination Scan
04/12/2018 7:25 , Southampton, United Kingdom, Arrival Scan
04/12/2018 4:31, Castle Donnington, United Kingdom , Departure Scan
04/12/2018 3:53, Castle Donnington, United Kingdom, Arrival Scan
04/12/2018 3:30, Koeln, Germany , Departure Scan
04/12/2018 0:27, Koeln, Germany, Arrival Scan
03/12/2018 22:30 , Grace-Hollogne, Belgium , Departure Scan
03/12/2018 19:45, Grace-Hollogne, Belgium, Export Scan
Shipped , 03/12/2018 19:45 Grace-Hollogne, Belgium , Origin Scan

Label Created, 03/12/2018 20:03 Belgium , Order Processed: Ready for UPS

By 2pm Thursday was added, and still showing 9am Friday and still there Monday, and Tuesday, after my redelivery from Texas on the Monday........

"In Transit, 06/12/2018 5:37 Southampton, United Kingdom"

and

Still there 10 days after the guaranteed delivery date:- "We've begun an investigation to locate the parcel"

and, "Please check again later for scheduled delivery"

Meanwhile, racing to the rescue is FedEx... see below.

I discovered that contacting UPS is hopeless unless you call them very early (open 8am till 8pm UK time), when their call centre will forward a message to the local branch. I called at 8:50am and after a few hours I had a call (number withheld) from Southampton and later again a second call to explain that my parcel had disappeared without trace. If UPS was satisfactory the local office wouldn't have telephoned me to tell me they'd lost my parcel with "number withheld" showing on my dial.

As my order hadn't arrived either by "next day guaranteed" or the day after, I decided to try again to re-order the same relays. Farnell insisted I pay a second time to place the same order so I refused on principle and looked again at RS and CPC. Either too expensive or not sufficient stock made me look further. Ebay or Amazon are both options as electronics parts suppliers but prices can be sky high compared with leading wholesalers, so I looked at alternative suppliers with whom I'd previously placed orders. Top Tools was one, but although I could see their catalogue, and have an account, I could find no way of placing an order, and an email remains unanswered. Next was Mouser. They have a UK presence and their website proclaims .co.uk, so I went ahead and discovered one relay was a penny cheaper and the second was 4 pence cheaper than prices from Farnell. So by moving my re-order to Mouser would actually save me money. My order met their free delivery criteria so I went ahead and placed my order at half past two, Wednesday.

Almost immediately I received two acknowledging emails and later that day (4 minutes to midnight) came the order tracking number. To my suprise the delivery is not next day, from somewhere in the UK as I'd anticipated, but next Monday (actually 3 "working" days). The reason is that the parts had been despatched from Mouser's warehouse in Grand Prairie, Texas at 4:55pm, travelled to Mansfield, Texas, then flown from Fort Worth, Texas arriving at 11:02pm in Memphis, Tennessee.

 

 This is shown by FedEx at 10:00am Thursday, 6th December, US times

IN TRANSIT
Arrived at FedEx location
MEMPHIS, TN

FROM MANSFIELD, TX US TO CHRISTCHURCH GB

Wednesday , 12/05/2018, 11:02 pm, MEMPHIS, TN, Arrived at FedEx location
9:49 pm, Shipment information sent to FedEx
7:30 pm, FORT WORTH, TX, Departed FedEx location
6:01 pm, MANSFIELD, TX, Left FedEx origin facility
4:55 pm, GRAND PRAIRIE, TX, Picked up

Then by 2pm the same day things have improved...

Scheduled delivery: Friday 12/07/2018 by 12:00 pm
IN TRANSIT
ROISSY CHARLES DE GAULLE CEDEX, 95
FROM
MANSFIELD, TX US

TO
CHRISTCHURCH GB

Thursday , 12/06/2018, 2:18 pm, ROISSY CHARLES DE GAULLE CEDEX FR, In transit
6:22 am' MEMPHIS, TN, In transit
6:06 am MEMPHIS, TN, Departed FedEx location
Wednesday , 12/05/2018, 11:02 pm, MEMPHIS, TN, Arrived at FedEx location
9:49 pm, Shipment information sent to FedEx
7:30 pm, FORT WORTH, TX, Departed FedEx location
6:01 pm, MANSFIELD, TX, Left FedEx origin facility
4:55 pm, GRAND PRAIRIE, TX, Picked up

 

Then Friday morning 9am, but using GMT

Scheduled delivery: Monday 12/10/2018 by 12:00 pm

3:37 am, STANSTED GB, At destination sort facility
2:50 am, ROISSY CHARLES DE GAULLE CEDEX FR, Departed FedEx location
2:24 am, ROISSY CHARLES DE GAULLE CEDEX FR, In transit
2:23 am. ROISSY CHARLES DE GAULLE CEDEX FR, In transit
Thursday , 12/06/2018, 10:46 pm, ROISSY CHARLES DE GAULLE CEDEX FR, In transit, Package available for clearance
7:53 pm, ROISSY CHARLES DE GAULLE CEDEX FR, Arrived at FedEx location
6:49 pm, ROISSY CHARLES DE GAULLE CEDEX FR, International shipment release - Import
1:18 pm, ROISSY CHARLES DE GAULLE CEDEX FR, In transit
12:22 pm, MEMPHIS, TN, In transit
12:06 pm, MEMPHIS, TN, Departed FedEx location
5:02 am, MEMPHIS, TN, Arrived at FedEx location
3:49 am, Shipment information sent to FedEx
1:30 am, FORT WORTH, TX, Departed FedEx location
12:01 am, MANSFIELD, TX, Left FedEx origin facility
Wednesday , 12/05/2018, 10:55 pm, GRAND PRAIRIE, TX, Picked up

*********

and my parcel arrived 11:29am Monday by FedEx from their depot in Poole

Meanwhile UPS were still searching for my parcel from Farnell.... and they still were on Wednesday 13th December

 Where are the two types of relay manufactured? One in China and the second, I'm not sure, but their manufacturer's head office is in Switzerland.

Mouser's price included UK VAT and any customs payments and pricewise the relays are cheapest. The carrier is FedEx and delivery of 3 working days isn't that bad when you consider the relays were picked from a warehouse in Fort Worth and will be delivered to a small hamlet in the New Forest. The question remains however... just, "what happened to my parcel in Southampton?"

I'll add to this as more information becomes available

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