expediting delivery one customer at a time
A leading courier and distribution company, Courier Express provides the best route
If there is one business where speed and reliability guide the best business route, the courier business would be it. With many competitors in the space, companies that strive to provide leading logistic services must keep up with technological trends, provide fast and consistent service and put their customers first.
Courier Express is a multi-faceted company providing a full range of courier services, parcel distribution, freight services, warehousing, and logistics support. Providing speedy, customer-first services is at the heart of what it does every day. The company is headquartered in Marietta, Georgia, and services the continental U.S. with a heavy focus on the southeastern U.S. from Tennessee and the Carolinas to Florida and Alabama.
With 30+ locations, Courier Express has grown since the COVID pandemic thanks to increasing demand for its e-delivery services for retail products, including final mile delivery. Another major part of its business is delivering supplies, specimens, and other items to customers in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors. Additionally, Courier Express completes thousands of additional deliveries, bridging retail chains, independent retail pharmacies, and institutional providers such as hospitals, health systems, integrated delivery networks, and long-term care providers.
The company has roughly four decades of service but has had the same family of owners since the mid-1980s. Its e-commerce parcel division started in the early 2000s which is where the real growth began. The overall strength of the company though is its employees and the services they collectively provide. Throughout the entire company, Courter Express has assembled a large team of employees with numerous years of experience in the courier, freight, and warehousing industries. Their goal is to operate in a manner of efficiency—economic, social, and environmental.
Another corporate strength is in the technological investments made by ownership, says Jimmy Baker, Vice President, Regional Sales and Marketing for Courier Express. Much of this technology has been created by Courier Express’ internal team of professionals and is customizable for companies of all sizes from Fortune 500s to smaller firms. Technology solutions include automated features that support Courier Express’ goals of becoming more efficient in its hiring and operational practices.
For example, the company’s drivers are independent contractors, which can lead to higher-than-average turnover. Fortunately, its internal systems have improved Courier Express’ ability to find qualified drivers for open positions. That was a significant challenge in 2020-2022 as more Americans chose to stop working during the pandemic, however, that trend seems to be abating, Baker says. Having ways to quickly and automatically handle background checks through a software partner, Fountain, helps tremendously.
These and other reasons are why Courier Express continues to grow largely through referrals and word-of-mouth sales. While the company has a strong direct sales group of professionals, it rarely has to “search” for new business, Baker says. Its brand will likely further expand with newer marketing activities like adding video content on social media and promoting customer case studies to publicize how Courier Express can help uncover solutions.
“One of our main goals is to improve our level of service and efficiency in the Southeastern U.S. as much as possible,” Baker says. “We are setting up and optimizing more efficient routes and are (aiming) for high delivery performance levels in that region of the country.”
Evolution of healthcare and pharmaceutical needs
Serving customers in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors was not new to Courier Express when the pandemic rocked the sector – and the world for that matter – in 2020. But the scope and needs of healthcare and pharmaceutical customers changed because of it. Patients delayed many elective health procedures out of mandate or preference. However, the need to transport COVID supplies and safety equipment for health professionals more than made up for losses in the courier business elsewhere.
Pharmacy deliveries were also in demand because of the pandemic, and those services have remained steady ever since as consumers have become more comfortable with having their prescriptions delivered. That demand has forced retail pharmacies to develop final-mile delivery partnerships with companies like Courier Express. According to Baker, “It is another fast-growing area for us.”
Purchase habits of hospitals and health clinics have also evolved since the pandemic with a greater emphasis on efficiency and cost savings, Baker adds. While the other costs associated with COVID have forced many of these changes, it has created a range of logistical and delivery services within the healthcare sector that Courier Express has added, or in the words of Baker, “allowed us to show our creative side in finding unique solutions.”
Technology improvements rely on innovation and versatility
New customers for courier and freight services and parcel distribution have arisen in the last few years. One such new customer is laboratories. Some of these laboratories in a variety of industries have found it difficult to get the resources and supplies they need to operate a business, and Courier Express has stepped up to support some of the related supply chain and delivery challenges.
The ability to develop internal technology solutions keeps Courier Express at the forefront of its industry. Baker says the company created its own technology to capture pictures and customer signatures. It also developed solutions to assist customers in following geo-data of deliveries more effectively through a tracking mechanism that is easy to follow and operate.
Ideas for new technology that can help support both customers and internal team members often come from collaboration with customers. As they communicate their needs and expectations, Courier Express utilizes its team of IT professionals to proactively create upgrades and processes.
“We created a tool where a customer’s lab can see how long until deliveries arrive by accessing our current transportation routes,” Baker says. By having such data in real-time, customers like medical laboratories can better create flexible scheduling for their employees while ensuring the necessary personnel are onsite to handle peak periods of work. This can help customers save money.
Developing strong relationships with customers and employees
Perhaps the best way for a service-based company like Courier Express to exceed customer expectations is to anticipate, empathize with and understand customer pain points. That’s why Courier Express team members work to develop a collaborative solution that features high-tech tools.
However, to find those solutions, Courier Express also takes time to learn more about the customers themselves. One way to do this is by hosting workshops with customers where employees are tasked with better understanding their business. Doing so can improve the timeliness and efficiency of project implementation, Baker says.
Educating and improving satisfaction for its independent contractor drivers is one of the ways to further improve the level of service and customer understanding needed to excel. Courier Express has established its “Driver Love” program where full-time team members get to know their drivers and vice versa, helping to support a work/life balance. Improving these relationships goes a long way toward improving customer satisfaction as all routes are covered if enough drivers are willing to do the job.
“We live by our values and really feel they are critical to our success,” Baker says. “We believe in building an atmosphere that fosters a passionate pursuit for excellence with a ‘can do’ attitude.
Top priorities in 2023 and beyond
While the work can be difficult and complex, the goals that Baker and other leaders at Courier Express have established are simple and straightforward. The first is to continue growing existing market segments in the healthcare, pharmaceutical, retail, and other sectors through continuous improvement. A second is to further improve customer service and innovation throughout the U.S. This includes adding customers, creating new routes, and establishing new specialties.
“We really want to get better at what we do and where we do it every day,” Baker says.
Third is always striving to find resources that support the customer base and help separate Courier Express from its competitors within the industry. E-commerce remains the fastest-growing sector of the industry and Baker expects that to be true in the foreseeable future.
Lastly, Courier Express aims to serve as subject matter experts in the logistics sector for technology. It will work with customers to find solutions to both common and custom challenges and offers the internal technological expertise to be versatile and responsive. “We want to further build on our reputation as we grow over the next decade-plus,” says Baker.
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AT A GLANCE
What: leading courier and distribution company providing fast and reliable service
Where: Marietta, Georgia