direct delivery

What Is a Direct Delivery?

When it comes to deliveries, lead time is always a critical factor. Now that placing orders and sending items has become a common practice, couriers constantly struggle to reduce delivery times. The courier delivery process often takes several days and involves multiple consolidation locations, but is there a faster way?

A direct delivery (sometimes known as ‘direct delivery only’) arrangement is the fastest delivery option, as the goods are picked up and sent to the consignee or customer location directly. 

This type of delivery is much faster than standard courier arrangements, as a consignment would first be collected at the pickup location, transported to the sorting center, transported again to the distribution hub and then delivered to the final delivery location. 

direct delivery process

This article will explain what the direct delivery service is all about and go into several examples to illustrate when this type of delivery method is suitable.

When are Direct Deliveries Suitable?

Direct deliveries are often seen in fast moving industries such as food, pharmaceutical, medical, aviation, semiconductor, machinery, art, automotive, as well as fairs and exhibitions.  

While it’s mainly applicable for products such as life-saving medicine, specific machinery replacement parts, aviation components, and special events, it can be used for almost any type of cargo. 

This service is often used for products that are fragile or where delivery time is extremely critical, whereby the consignment should not be processed in a sorting center and should reach its final destination as soon as possible. 

The purpose is to ensure continuity, prevent line stoppages, machine breakdowns and inefficiencies. However, it can also be used for personal purchases that are urgent. For online retailers, direct delivery can apply to products such as standard order fulfillments, personal effects or documents. 

Who Offers Direct Deliveries?

Not all courier or shipping companies offer direct deliveries, as their infrastructure and fleet may not support this type of delivery arrangement. Traditionally, smaller consignments, such as purchases from ecommerce stores go through sorting centers and distribution hubs. 

Larger or dedicated courier service providers such as UPS, FedEx, DHL and even some freight forwarders offer direct deliveries. They usually have a special service that moves your consignment from the pickup location to the final delivery location directly, without consolidating your goods with others.

How are Direct Deliveries Tracked

Most of the couriers that provide direct deliveries offer tracking. This means that customers are given monitoring tools such as real-time tracking of events and milestones of the shipment. 

For direct deliveries it will show the pickup date, time and location, as well as the drop off or delivery date, time and location. More sophisticated service providers are also able to show an intended or predicted delivery date when the consignment should arrive at its final destination. 

There are even several couriers and forwarders who let you track your cargo movements via gps. This features is usually accessed through a dedicated web link, mobile app or the company’s website.

Example of a Direct Delivery Arrangement

To help you better understand direct delivery arrangements you may refer to the example scenario below.

A printing company has ordered replacement parts for their printer, due to a part malfunction. In order to reduce downtime, they have ordered the items from their supplier under a direct delivery arrangement. 

This will enable them to receive the replacement parts as soon as possible, without the consignment having to be routed via a sorting center and a distribution hub. This also allows them to operate normally again, without long downtimes. 

In the event of a breakdown a direct delivery for parts will ensure continuous operation of machines to meet production volume for the printing company in this example.

Generally speaking, for small and medium business enterprises direct delivery orders ensure the business stays afloat because they can easily satisfy customer requirements without having to wait an extra day to fulfill orders. 

Other examples where direct deliveries make sense are for temperature-sensitive items such as certain medication or other time critical consignments.