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Yodel unveils its plans to weather the winter and Christmas rush

As retailers look forward to another busy festive period, parcel carrier Yodel has unveiled its plans to ensure the safe and timely delivery of online orders.

Preparations began in January with the appointment of a dedicated ‘peak’ planning team and the carrier has worked in partnership with its retail clients on their predicted volumes, to ensure that the correct resources are in place. It is forecast to handle 15% more parcels than same period in 2013, and has invested heavily in its operation to meet demand.

The company, which has over 60 locations around the UK, has procured an additional 13 sites* to handle this increase in parcel volume. These include five standalone service centres, seven satellite sites to support existing service centres and a returns centre in the Midlands. Fixed canopies have also been created to extend site capacity.

In addition a special control tower has been established at Yodel’s central sorting facility in Wednesbury to oversee volume management, operational action and weather contingency.

On the road an additional 200 HGVs and 500 trailers have been sourced to carry out the trunking between clients’ warehouses and Yodel’s sort and service centres.

Operational hours have been extended at the company’s three central sorting facilities, which include specialist handling for the high volumes of flower and wine deliveries forecasted for the Christmas period. Deliveries to homes and businesses will also be increased to seven days a week.

Yodel’s existing workforce will be bolstered by an additional 5,000 workers across transport, sort, service centres and customer services. Recruitment for the busy winter period began in September to ensure all new workers receive adequate training.

With winter comes the threat of snow and ice, so all operational sites have been equipped with rock salt, snow shovels, ice melt, de-icer and scrapers. The company also has invested in snow ploughs to ensure service yards are kept clear.

In the event of severe weather conditions, parcels will be date stamped and a controlled First In First Out (FIFO) process put into action to ensure that deliveries are made as soon as possible.

Shoppers will be able to use Yodel’s live web chat services 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout the peak period and customer services will also be operating extended hours on social media, telephone and email.

As always, consumers will also be able to follow the progress of their order via Yodel’s user-friendly tracking service: myyodel.co.uk. Pre-delivery alerts will be sent to customers as standard, along with SMS or email updates if delays are expected due to poor weather.

In addition Yodel’s retail clients will be provided with daily performance updates and three-day weather forecasts to enable them to make their shoppers aware of expected delivery dates at point of order.

Dick Stead, executive chairman of Yodel, commented: "For our retail clients this vital season is known as the ‘golden quarter’ and we are fully prepared for parcel volumes to reach record levels. Our clients and their customers depend on us to deliver Christmas and we take that responsibility very seriously.

“We’ve worked closely with retailers and sourced additional sites, vehicles and staff to manage the surge in parcel volumes and have contingency plans to ensure we are well placed to weather the British winter.”

Further details about vacancies can be found at: careers.yodel.co.uk.

* The additional 13 sites are located at: Newbridge, East Kilbride, Preston, Selby, Sheffield, Cambridge, Borehamwood, New Cross, Newhaven, Bridgwater, Farnborough, Eastbourne and Tilehurst.

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