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Fireside chat with Stephen Carr, Managing Director at iDeliver Freight

Who is Stephen Carr?

Stephen is a 32yo North Cantabrian with a background in IT. While I started out as a computer technician in a small rural town, time, experience and contacts has lead me into a project management role in a niche software development and data management company here in Christchurch. In my day job I dabble in Jade programming, however I primarily manage that important link between the client (end users) and the development team. Outside of my day job, along with my partner and business Partner, Paul Love, we own and operate iDeliver Freight Limited, Canterbury’s leading same day courier service. Paul and I reside in the beautiful Waipara Wine region.

Tell us more about your role in iDeliver Freight?

I am the managing director of iDeliver, and manage all the Accounts Payable and administration side of the business which keeps the wheels turning. Paul on the otherhand is the day to day manager, and is our dispatcher. I work fulltime outside of the business but fortunately that role offers flexibility so I can work both into my normal business day.

What is the most difficult part of your job? But the most rewarding one?

Managing Staff hands down would be the most challenging aspect of running our business. Don’t get me wrong we have an awesome team of people working for us, but managing leave, staffing levels, illness, injuries and personalities certainly have their challenges as typically everything always happens at once. On the flip side, it’s truly rewarding seeing people grow and develop and move through their big life steps knowing we’ve played a part, or had an influence. We have a couple in our team are gearing up to purchase their first home and one recently got engaged after meeting that special someone. Seeing people grow and better themselves and others around them gives me the warm fuzzies. Both Paul and I firmly believe the most important part of our business is our people. We’ve done our best to install a work hard, play hard mantra, and believe in rewarding hard work!. We both made the decision to become a living wage accredited employer a round 3 years ago, and are still the only employer in the New Zealand transport industry to hold this accreditation.

Is there anything that you would change about your professional path?

Hmmm, well I grew up wanting to be an architect, and went into an IT role, and now work in IT and run a freight and logistics company. I would say no, I have made the most of the opportunities that come along my journey. I believe firmly in looking forward and try not to dwell on what cannot be changed.

What’s your key strategy for the development of your company?

Technology is our big focus, Freight and Logistics historically has not been big on technology implementation, especially within the smaller independent players such as our business. My background in IT has positioned us well to not only embrace technology, but pick it up and run with it to help us deliver more, more efficiently, giving our clients the service they rely on. We are embarking on a big digital implementation of a bespoke software platform to run our business operation from end to end. We have tested and trialled many products available in the marketplace, but couldn’t quite find something that did not involve us moving in a different direction. From this process we’ve picked the best features from these solutions and have spec’d them into a bespoke software package which will streamline our business processes, while drastically reducing our admin overhead, and give our clients parcel by parcel transparency across their freight movements.

What do you think about the next period of time, keeping in mind the pandemic and the new business climate? How will your industry be affected?

We were very fortunate our industry exploded around the time many others were mothballing. Three weeks prior to New Zealand being put into full Level 4 lockdown, we acquired a competitor, and our team grew from 4 to 11. This meant we had many mouths to feed, and Paul and I were committed to leave no one behind. During Level 3 & 4, our team continued to grow to 14 and we have sustained our staffing levels ever since. Our market has become a little more unpredictable on a day to day or week to week basis, however overall freight volumes are continuing to grow. We focus primarily on B2B (Business to Business) freight movements and aim to collect and deliver consignments within a 4 hour period across our network covering the majority of the populated towns and citys of Canterbury. Moving forward I expect growth will continue, but at a slower, steady pace, unlike what we have seen in the past 12-15months.

Please name a few technologies which have the greatest impact on your business.

Google Routing and live GPS vehicle tracking have given us much greater transparency of our business, allowing us to see in real time where each van is, what deliveries or pickups they have coming up and an estimated time of arrival. With the integration of these features into our new software solution will change the game all over again. Sparks 4G and early rollout of 5G powers our businesses communications and keeps our team in constant communication with each other and dispatch.

What books do you have on your nightstand?

To be honest, I am not a bookworm. I read on my phone, or even better I listen to talking books. If I had to recall my most recent reads these would be the Harry Potter series and Rich Dad Poor Dad some years back.

Because of the current economic climate our publication has started a series of discussions with professional individuals meant to engage our readers with relevant companies and their representatives in order to discuss their involvement, what challenges they have had in the past and what they are looking forward to in the future. This sequence aims to present a series of experiences, recent developments, changes and downsides in terms of their business areas, as well as their goals, values, career history, the high-impact success outcomes and achievements.

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