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 17 days (20 Dec 2018) 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

 A few days later (Sunday 6th Jan) I assumed UPS had probably just gone through a bad patch at ther Southampton Depot so I ordered a set of parts from Farnell for the repair of a machine controller. A couple of 8 pin chips (U3 & U5) a transistor and a zener diode. These had failed because one of the electrolytic capcitors, C35, had gone open circuit. There's also a couple of resistors down there that have burned out. I also ordered some relays for a second job. A second batch of relays that I needed were too expensive but I found identical relays at CPC some 80 pence cheaper than both Farnell and RS. As I needed 20 this meant a saving of £16.

The Farnell order would be due on Tuesday and the CPC order probably a day or two after that. I also ordered on the Monday from Amazon an SSD for a friends computer and on Tuesday a pair of 4-port USB3 PCI Express cards for a second computer.

The tracking details told me the Farnell order was out for delivery, due end of day Tuesday. The SSD arrived at 10am Tuesday which is pretty good as the order had been placed only 16 hours earlier.

The next day, Wednesday, there had been no delivery from UPS and their tracking details said "a days delay", out for delivery by end of day. At 10am the USB3 cards arrived and a few hours later I received the relays from CPC via the postman.

At 4pm Wednesday, while carrying down the lane, a repaired computer, a UPS van sped past and disappeared a few hundred yards away in the trees. As the road doesn't really go anywhere I stood in the middle of the lane and awaited his appearance. Soon the UPS van came into view and after waving he sped towards me and found my parcel.

 
 Chasing up the reason for the delay I was told the parcel had arrived too late on Tuesday morning to catch the delivery lorry. I wonder why their tracking information claimed it was on the way, out for delivery and due end of day, Tuesday?

Delivered 09/01/2019 15:59 CHRISTCHURCH, GB
DELIVERED
Proof of Delivery Open link in new window

Past Event Out for Delivery 09/01/2019 8:20 Southampton, United Kingdom
Out For Delivery Today

09/01/2019 4:40 Southampton, United Kingdom Loaded on Delivery Vehicle
09/01/2019 4:19 Southampton, United Kingdom Destination Scan
08/01/2019 18:05 Southampton, United Kingdom Delivery will be delayed by one business day.
08/01/2019 8:23 Southampton, United Kingdom Out For Delivery Today
08/01/2019 6:41 Southampton, United Kingdom Destination Scan
08/01/2019 5:45 Southampton, United Kingdom Arrival Scan
08/01/2019 2:52 Tamworth, United Kingdom Departure Scan
07/01/2019 23:55 Leeds, United Kingdom Departure Scan
07/01/2019 20:20 Leeds, United Kingdom Export Scan
Past Event Shipped 07/01/2019 20:20 Leeds, United Kingdom
Origin Scan

Past Event Label Created 07/01/2019 17:47 United Kingdom
Order Processed: Ready for UPS

 Meanwhile, what of my package despatched on 3rd of December?

Apparently it's still in transit (today is 10th Jan 2019) but no-one knows where....

Update

Scheduled Delivery
Please check again later for scheduled delivery.

In Transit 04/01/2019 4:54 Southampton, United Kingdom
We're attempting to verify the package location. / Claim issued.

06/12/2018 5:37 Southampton, United Kingdom We've begun an investigation to locate the parcel.
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
Past Event Shipped 03/12/2018 19:45 Grace-Hollogne, Belgium
Origin Scan

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

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