Matkahuolto delivers packages to all places in Finland and on Åland. They reach the rest of the world through a partnership with TNT. Most packages are sent using the national bus network.
“If it’s possible we use our bus routes, as it saves us money, time and the environment. But we deliver a lot of large packages, so there’s not room for them all in buses when there’s limited space,” explains Juha Wallin.
Some of the 45 million packages that Matkahuolto handles every year therefore travel with the company’s own and business partners’ trucks to Matkahuolto’s facilities in various places in Finland for more detailed distribution locally. They also collaborate with TNT in Finland for deliveries to locations that aren’t served at all by buses.
“We’re flexible. Where a need arises, we look at alternative forms of transport,” says Juha Wallin.
Finland is a large country, and most people live along the coast or in one of the major cities. This makes it difficult to price transport services in the country.
“When we negotiate with new, foreign customers they don’t appreciate the challenge we face – metropolitan regions where most people live and vast rural areas,” he says. Matkahuolto naturally also offers services such as door-to-door collection and distribution.
“The packages we deliver to consumer customers come primarily from Sweden and large mail order companies such as Ellos, Cellbes and Haléns. All these packages come through us thanks to an agreement we’ve had with PostNord since 2008,” says Juha Wallin. In total, Matkahuolto distributes two million packages for PostNord every year. When the order is placed, the consumer can choose what kind of notification he or she prefers when the package has reached one of Matkahuolto’s service locations in Finland.
Staff in the shop scan in the barcode on the parcel, and Stralfors is then instructed to send the information on to the customer. Depending on the customer’s choice, this is done by letter or text message.
“We send 45,000–50,000 letters and 400,000 text messages every month. We also send 2,500 e-mails every day to customers who’ve chosen that method of notification. But they don’t go via Stralfors, they’re sent directly from us,” explains Juha Wallin. Ideally, he’d like as many people as possible to choose text message notification.
“It’s both quicker and more direct, which is better for both us and the customer. Both regular letters and e-mails take longer.” The most common arrangement is that the customer collects the package from a grocery store when he or she calls in to buy milk, beer and bread. In most cases this will be in Suomen Lähikauppa, the grocery chain with which Matkahuolto collaborates most. Their 700 stores also have the longest opening hours in Finland, from 07:00–23:00. At the moment there’s tough competition in the market for packages
in Finland. The Finnish Post Office and Itella are market leaders, with 50 per cent of the market. Matkahuolto is the newcomer with 20 per cent of the market.
Why should people choose to send packages via Matkahuolto?
“Because we’re fast and reliable. 98.7 per cent of our packages arrive on time. The stores that operate as service points are also open longer, and we’re closest to Finnish households. And people know us. We’re also the public transport network, the backbone of Finland,” says Juha Wallin, explaining that Matkahuolto has 1.5 million visits to its website every month. And only ten per cent of visitors are customers looking for information about packages.
Nowadays people are shopping online more and more. The trend is that we look at products in showrooms and then order in peace and quiet at home.
“This has a major effect on our business. In future private individuals will also be wanting to have door-to-door deliveries. That’s a much bigger challenge than business packages, and in this respect the industry has much to learn and do in the near future,” says Juha Wallin, concluding:
“Otherwise the future’s very uncertain. We still don’t know what’s going to happen with all the old post offices and how this will affect competition in general. But one thing’s for sure - if we play our cards right, the future looks bright for us. And it feels good that we have strong players such as Stralfors and PostNord at our side.”