The winner of this award in 2010, DPD last year made further progress towards its goal of becoming market leader by 2015. The success of its innovative Predict system, enabling it to give the end customer a guaranteed one-hour delivery window, meant it picked up significant new business last year, increasing turnover 16% to £282m.

DPD runs almost 3,000 vehicles, mostly 3.5-tonne vans, and employs 5,300 people. To become number one, chief executive Dwain McDonald challenged the workforce to make “amazing” customer service the new standard “because good doesn’t cut it anymore”.

In pursuit of this goal, DPD delivered customer care training to 4,300 employees and more than 1,000 owner drivers in 12 weeks and introduced a scheme where employees can earn £20 vouchers in recognition of exceptional service.

Tangible benefits include a significant rise in driver productivity that produced an annual cost saving on £10m.

Judges said DPD had secured some decent business wins in 2011 and clearly values its employees, with an excellent focus on employee engagement to improve results. They also said that DPD was the first UK carrier to provide QR codes to increase customer satisfaction and called the one-hour delivery slots “brilliant”.

Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions

Fleet van operator Balfour

Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions (BBUS) works with the energy and water utilities, maintaining essential infrastructure with a workforce of 4,000 and a fleet of more than 2,200 vehicles.

It is part of Balfour Beatty Group, which has set itself the target of achieving zero harm by 2012, a particularly ambitious goal in an industry where accidents have been seen as unavoidable. 

An early focus was a reduction in road traffic collisions, and BBUS installed Greenroad telematics to monitor journeys, monitored, assessed and trained drivers using RiskMaster and invested in bespoke Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans.

As a result, accident rates and insurance premiums tumbled in 2011, with just 46 at-fault road traffic injuries recorded across the fleet.

The Greenroad system also helped BBUS improve fuel efficiency, with one Sprinter driver improving consumption from 24mpg to more than 28mpg.

Judges said the Zero Harm initiative has been a success, halving insurance premiums as well as reducing injuries, and praised BBUS for its impressive road safety improvements.

APC Overnight

APC new1

APC was founded in 1994 by a group of local couriers to offer customers a national next-day delivery service. The network has expanded rapidly and now handles 80,000 parcels a night and operates more than 1,500 vehicles. Turnover was up 15% and operating profit rose 70% in 2011.

This success is based on outstanding customer service, proven by the independent Triangle customer service survey, which ranked APC top on 13 metrics including collection and delivery on time, value for money and customer care. APC is very close to achieving its goal of 100% on-time delivery on the one million parcels it delivers each month.

The company has set itself a target of going 12 months incident-free and has so far achieved a 130-day period without a reportable accident. To reduce its environmental impact it has put 20 double-deck trailers into service and commissioned Mercedes-Benz gas-powered vehicles.

Judges were impressed by the 99.8% on-time delivery rate and commented on the great customer service and outstanding financial performance.