From the moment a customer first googles for a local courier, absolutely every aspect of Deadline Despatch’s service is technology-enabled.
The customer books the job online; office staff process it on a PC and send the details to a driver via a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant); the customer signs for the delivery on the PDA; and the invoicing and accounts are all managed electronically.
Deadline’s four offices are all linked together on the same network, communicating with around 100 drivers, all armed with PDAs.
With hundreds of deliveries being made every day ‒ in the same city, nationally, and internationally, via motorcycle, van, or refrigerated van ‒ it is safe to say that technology is right at the centre of the business.
And this means that the business has to keep up with technology.
The High Wycombe-based delivery company was founded in 1980, so it has already been through many changes on the IT front, almost all with help from First Line IT.
“They’ve been sorting out our glitches for years”
“We’re a legacy customer – we were with First Line before it was bought by Barrie and John,” said Barklay Saunders, IT Director at Deadline Despatch. “They’ve been sorting out our glitches for us for years, and they are now in the process of helping us move to the cloud”.
The decision to move to the cloud was made partly because Deadline’s existing local virtual desktop simply couldn’t keep up with the needs of the business, and partly to ensure business continuity:
“It’s easy to forget how dependent we are on technology because theoretically we could still deliver things, even if we lost our entire network,” said Barklay. “But we wouldn’t be able to give anything like the service our customers expect, and that’s what’s really important.”
While Deadline staff have continued to rely on First Line’s Helpdesk service, therefore, Barklay has been working closely with John and Dan to mastermind the smooth migration of the whole IT system to a cloud-based server.
“Most small businesses can’t afford their own IT director, and so they really need the support that a company like First Line can give them,” said Barklay.
“But even people like me need to have someone they can call on. I know about IT, yes, but I’m not hands-on all the time, and if I’m not doing something all the time I forget it! Whenever I have a question I can ask someone at First Line, and it’s reassuring to feel that I have that knowledge base and expertise behind me.”
“What I like best about First Line is the knowledge that, if I get into trouble, I can just pick up the phone and I will get through to someone. They may not be able to deal with my problem immediately, as obviously they have other clients with perhaps more urgent problems, but I know that they will get back to me absolutely as soon as they can.”
“They are all dead easy to get along with, and really make an effort to understand what your difficulty is and how important it is to you.”