We are asked from time to time why we don't send out small items for free, or just put a stamp on a jiffy bag - it's a good question but there's a lot of background to the answer !
Firstly, we don't have stamps ! We have an automated warehouse system, with printed labels - then Royal Mail, ParcelForce & UPS come to Bridge House at the end of each afternoon to collect, sometimes as many as 200+ parcels.
People often quote a company named after a river in South America, you know the one which some folks say doesn't pay much tax in the UK? They say if XYZ can post for free, why can't you? The bit they forget is that this not very philanthropic company (as of Oct 2023) charges £8.99 a month for it's membership, so £107.88 is disappearing from your bank account every year without you really noticing, whether you use their not so 'free' post or not.
What some companies do (but we don't), is raise the price of every product by a few quid to cover this mythical free postage. Why don't you I hear you say ?! The answer is simple - very few of our customers buy one single item, they often buy multiple products. For example, if buying hearing aid spares, they might buy a pack of domes, a couple of packs of tubes, a pack of batteries and some cleaning wipes, so if we had put say £2 on each product price to enable us to offer 'Free Postage' - the total for this customer ordering 5 items would have increased by £10!! We much prefer to have a postage price which covers the cost to us on a parcel by parcel basis - we know the weight & dimensions of every product, so for every order we can calculate which postal service is most appropriate and suggest a service at the best price - at the same time we try to offer upgrades for speedier delivery etc.
Then, what we hope folks will do is look at the total price, including our fair shipping price and see how we compare with others. If someone else is cheaper, fine, go to them, but you might want to consider the level of service you get, which of course is all part of the transaction. Did I mention that 99% of emails received by Connevans customer services are answered the same working day, or that we have knowlegeable & helpful humans who answer our phones?!
Then there is International postage - we ship to more than 40 countries around the world and this can be an interesting challenge !
In years gone by, we had a very small overseas market, so we sent parcels by standard air mail - but we experienced a mysterious and extraordinarily high number of 'missing' parcels. Many overseas customers contacted us to say their parcel had not arrived - consequently we were obliged to send a replacement by an insured and trackable service which did of course arrive and we had to pick up the cost for. In a nutshell, our overseas business was costing us money, we were making a loss on it.
So, we either stuck to supplying customers in the UK or we had to find another way. We now exclusively use UPS for all overseas shipments. UPS offer a very good professional service, they can deliver across the globe, the parcels are trackable all the way and signed-for on delivery. They also offer assistance if required with processing the parcel through customs. Since we changed to UPS, we have a virtual 100% success rate in overseas deliveries. Out of the many thousands of parcels we have around the world only a couple haven't made their destination and those have been returned to us.
UPS use a 'volumetric' weight to calculate the cost, this is a combination of the size & weight of the parcel as of course it takes up space in a plane. Our web site knows the weight & sizes of products, so it will automatically calculate shipping prices, based on our reduced rates with UPS.
Patrick is our regular UPS driver, he has been for years ... he delivers to us on his morning round and collects outgoing parcels every afternoon. Most International orders are delivered in a few working days.
Another point we like to consider is that often, if the product we are offering is available in the overseas location, it is still be cheaper to buy from us in the UK even including the cost of UPS shipping!
Did we mention Brexit? :-(
Up until Brexit and 2 years after, we had no trade borders with the EU, so all of our parcels went happily from the UK across the EU and were quickly delivered hassle-free. Things have changed now - depending on local territories, some EU customs authorities at some EU points charge import duties on some products. This all sounds pretty vague, because it is. We supply a few thousand different products and we simply don't know the import duty for every product for every country - all we can say is there may be import duties, or there may not - it's one of those unintended consequences of Brexit.
Did you know we run a very planet friendly company :-)
It starts with having some knowledge & the right attitude and cascading it across the company, so we all try to do the right thing and we know it will always be fully supported by Connevans.
Here are some of the things we do for our planet ...
- Our Connevans staff are trained in our environmental policy and encouraged to participate
- We re-use all incoming packaging wherever we can
- Our company car policy is to only buy electric or hybrid cars (we've sold our old diesels)
- We have an outside charging point, so I can charge my car and drive home on sunshine!
- We spent £30k+ on solar panels around 5 years ago, they have nearly paid for themselves
- We spent another £25k+ in 2023 on more solar panels as teh originals were doing so well
- Ross takes a particular plastic to Sainsburys at the weekend that our collector cannot recycle (Sainsburys can)
- Wendy takes crisp packets to a shop in her village to be recycled
- Goods Inwards recycle all the incoming cardboard boxes & packaging which we can't re-use
- We use paper glue tape rather than plastic
- Our internal parcel packaging is biodegradeable or compostable
- We use a specialist recycling company to collect our waste & recycling, it's more expensive than our local council, but they recycle or re-use 100% of all their collectables
- All Connevans staff members have a green bin by their desks for recycling (as well as a normal bin!)
- All mixed paper & cardboard/metal/glass/plastic bottles are recycled.
- We have a ‘Green Champion’ in our company, responsible for environmental issues
- We manufacture in the UK and we source from the UK wherever possible, thus minimising the carbon footprint of many of our products
- When re‐charging is required for our electrical products, our chargers switch off automatically when the charge is complete, saving unnecessary power usage
- We have a communal staff mini ‘allotment’ at the back of our premises, where we grow salad & vegetables
- Our equipment is designed to last & if required, to be repaired, not to be used & thrown away
- We support all Connevans manufactured products for at least 8 years, giving them a considerably longer than average lifetime
- Connevans is a certified member of The European‐wide WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Directive, which controls how WEEE may be disposed of and recycled at the end of its working life
- We send as few parcels as possible and avoid ‘part‐shipping’ our orders to minimise the carbon impact.
- The fruit we give to our staff is sourced from a local greengrocer, supporting the local economy.
- We encourage our staff to cycle to work by having shower facilities and a cycle storage area
- All electronic equipment is switched off when not in use and power is cut centrally at the end of the working day
- Our cleaner uses bio‐degradable products and works when the company is open for business, rather than after business hours, so avoiding extra lighting/heating.
- We recycle all paper, cardboard, scrap metal, plastic bottles, glass and batteries through recognised schemes
- We recycle all printer & toner cartridges through charity schemes
- We make sure that we use scrap paper in our printers to ensure both sides of a piece of paper have been used before recycling the sheet. Staff are encouraged to use scrap paper for making notes.
- We do not have a fleet of sales reps who routinely travel the country visiting customers. When we do make visits, we keep these to a minimum and always try to combine appointments to minimise travel and carbon footprint.
- We review our policy on an ongoing basis and always improve whenever we can. We are committed to our environment both globally & locally
- We are aware of the need for energy efficiency measures and our building is only heated & lit when people are in it
- We have battery recycling points around our building and take batteries from our neighbours
Or if you would like to email me directly, please send to firstname.lastname@example.org
By the way, you might be wondering about me 'driving on sunshine', so here's how it works - solar panels on our roof are fed by sunshine, feeding into the Connevans building, which feeds the charging point for my car, I just charge it up when I am in the office and drive home on sunshine, simples !!