The APC delivery network has achieved record results for the 2020/21 financial year, with profit before tax of £9.2 million, a 53% year-on-year increase.
The effects of the pandemic were seen early in the financial year, with parcel volumes surging and changes to the delivery model - where home delivery became more popular than delivery to business - forcing APC to adapt quickly to support the changing needs of its 35,000 customers.
As a result of the e-commerce boom, APC saw significant growth across all services, especially within its niche services of fragile and liquid, with the food and drink sector forming the largest sector of growth in the year.
Jonathan Smith, chief executive of The APC, said: “Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen growing demand for parcel services, driven by a surge in consumer e-commerce activity and the preference for home delivery. But perhaps most impressively, in response to this shift in purchasing habits, we’ve seen so many of our SME customers quickly adapt, proving their resilience and entrepreneurialism, and thriving as a result.
“It’s this resilience of the SME community that has largely contributed to the growth we’ve seen across our network”.
Smith says that the pandemic has fundamentally changed the shape of distribution and the whole dynamic of the industry; how people are shopping, how people need deliveries and their delivery expectations.
“It has required a structural shift in our business and will continue to shape our priorities in the coming months,” he said.
APC has invested to support delivery operations and increase capacity at its secondary hub, including sortation equipment and additional handheld devices.
The business also invested in its service offerings, to meet the shift towards the business to consumer market, introducing Saturday as a full delivery day option.
At the start of the financial year, the business concluded its shared ownership structure, allowing all depots within the network to take a shareholding.
The loyalty and commitment of the business’ employees was also recognised, through the introduction of a share option scheme, which rewards all long-standing employees with over 10 years’ service.
Additionally, APC has invested in mental wellbeing, introducing a number of mental health initiatives, as well as appointing and training mental health first aiders within the business to help identify and support mental health issues.
Corina Forman, HR director at The APC, said: “This year has understandably proved challenging for many.
“Throughout this time we’ve worked hard to maintain job security and opportunities for all our employees, continuing to provide them with the training and skills they need to fulfil their potential. But we also understand the importance of focusing on, and providing staff with, initiatives that support their health and wellbeing.
“We firmly believe that investing in our people this way pays dividends in the long-term. People who feel supported and recognised within the company tend to identify strongly with our values and they develop secure social networks - these factors combine to support great service delivery.”