Four businesses go head-to-head to be awarded Home Delivery Operator of the Year, sponsored by Cartwright Group: DPD; Hermes; John Lewis and Whirlpool. The winner will be announced at the Grosvenor House hotel in London on 4 July.




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DPD won £81m-worth of new business in 2017, in a year in which it held on to its title of the fastest growing parcel delivery group in the UK. As in previous years, the parcel delivery group saw much of its success come from its investment in new technology. Downloads of its consumer mobile app reached 2.3 million in 2017, which had increased to 2.5 million by February this year. DPD says it delivered seven million parcels via its app in 2017, and the technology improved its first-delivery rate by 3%. It also made savings of more than £500,000 by using push notifications instead of paying for SMS messages.

Judges praised DPD's development of its Chatbot system, which it developed after discovering 90% of consumers would rather not phone a call centre with an enquiry, but a fifth of chat advisors were screening basic enquiries. One judge said: “A relentless focus on innovation is demonstrated by an impressive app and Chatbot, which clearly has the customer at heart.” Another added: “With exceptional rates, logistical planning and consistent seasonal performance, it’s clear to see why it is topping customer surveys.”

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In recent years Hermes has consistently trumped its personal bests, with parcel volumes and its ParcelShop network increasing at impressive rates. Handling parcels on behalf of 80% of the UK’s top high street and online retailers, with recent business wins including fashion giants Boohoo and Missguided, Hermes remains a leading staple in the home delivery sector. With the opening of its new Coventry super hub last year, Hermes handled 13.5% more volume in 2017, while its ParcelShop network’s volumes rose a further 20%. The network of shops has a store within a mile of 82% of the UK population, with 80% of outlets now open until at least 10pm. The business has also made strides towards its goal of halving its CO2 emissions by 2020 through optimised delivery routes, consolidation and cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Judges were impressed with Hermes’ focus on technology, particularly its innovative work collaborating with Amazon and Google to add parcel tracking functionality to their smart speaker products. One judge said: “Hermes is a strong network delivering equally impressive volumes year-on-year at consistently high service levels. The recent opening of the hugely impressive Rugby facility is a particular highlight.”

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John Lewis

John Lewis was shortlisted for this award because, as one judge said: “John Lewis has always stood for quality and reliability. It is clear that the home delivery operation has recognised that reputation and earned it in terms of customer retail experience in its final-mile delivery service.”

The retailer and operator demonstrated an impressive business performance from its two-man delivery service in 2017, with a turnover increase of 95%, reaching a record £20m.

With a firm focus on improving customer experience through training its delivery teams, John Lewis has made impressive strides in lowering its damaged-goods-in-transit rate, which dropped from 3.4% to 0.7% in 2017. Its installation success rate rose from 86% to 92%.

One judge said: “John Lewis has shown impressive dedication to customer service, evidenced by a strong training programme clearly yielding results.” They were also impressed with John Lewis’s engagement with the DVSA’s earned recognition pilot, which they said showed a strong commitment to compliance and safety.

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In early 2017 Whirlpool overhauled its transport network, expanding its area to cover all of the UK and Northern Ireland, seven days a week. It then expanded this proposition further to include installation of built-in electrical appliances. The result is that the own-account operator now runs an end-to-end retail experience for its customers, uniquely maintaining responsibility for the domestic appliances it sells from the point of sale to installation in customers’ homes, and the removal and recycling of old appliances.

Whirlpool, which makes deliveries under Hotpoint branding, gives end customers a three-hour delivery slot initially, then informs them when their delivery is to be made within the hour.

One judge said that Whirlpool is “clearly a manufacturer that sees that making the product is only part of the process in delivering a lasting impression to the consumer on an end-to-end service offering”. Judges also praised the training undertaken to make this possible, in which Whirlpool ensured its delivery teams were fully qualified to install electrical goods.