The Cannock-based company reported a 53% rise in profit to £9.2m for the year to the end of March.
According to APC, the effects of the pandemic were felt early in the fiscal year, with home deliveries becoming more popular than business deliveries for its 35,000 customers.
Due to the e-commerce boom, APC has seen significant growth across all services, particularly in its fragile and liquid niche services, with food and beverages being the largest growth sector in the year.
Jonathan Smith, CEO of APC, said: “Throughout the pandemic, we have seen growing demand for parcel services, driven by an increase in consumer e-commerce activity and preference for delivery. home. But perhaps most impressively, in response to this shift in buying habits, we’ve seen so many of our SMB customers adapt quickly, proving their resilience and entrepreneurial spirit, and thriving as a result. It is this resilience of the SME community that has been instrumental in the growth we have seen across our network.
“We have worked tirelessly to support our 35,000 customers, recognizing their changing needs and investing in our business to support this evolution. The pandemic has fundamentally changed the shape of distribution, and indeed the entire dynamic of the industry; how people shop, how people need deliveries, and their delivery expectations. This has required structural change in our business and will continue to shape our priorities in the months to come.”
He added, “What I am most satisfied with is that we have kept everyone safe and helped the SME base recreate and strengthen a bit.
“Activity probably increased by around 20-40% during the pandemic last year. We are now at around half of that. Around half of the Covid-related trading volume is on hold.
“Before it was half home and half work, I would say now it’s around 70 per cent home. Of course, for a lot of people, their home is now their workplace.
“The Covid safety measures we put in place last year – masks, distancing and cleaning – we haven’t relaxed them at all.
“Our customers are probably concerned about material sourcing, but we haven’t seen that bite yet. I’m confident we can serve our customers.
“We are also concerned about the workforce. At this time of year we employ temporary workers, but at the moment I would like to offer about 100 other full-time jobs.
“We had no problem finding temporary staff. It’s good to have temporary and interim staff, but we like people to be employed by us.
“We have changed our reward for people significantly – driver salaries have increased and we need to improve our offer for people who work in our sorting centres.
“We invested around £1m last year in new equipment and moves, primarily at our Essington site, but I expect we will invest around the same amount at both sites. (Essington and Cannock) in the coming months as well.
“We are looking at moving our London depot to a new location in the new year. During Covid, London has actually become a bigger part of our deliveries.
“We have also invested in a program to improve the skills of our employees and we seek to be as creative as possible in training drivers.”
In response to growing demand on its network, APC has made significant investments to support delivery operations and increase capacity at its secondary hub, including additional sorting equipment and portable devices. The company has also invested in its service offerings, to respond to the shift from the business market to the consumer market, by introducing Saturday as a full day delivery option.
Anticipating continued demand for delivery services, APC has also planned new investment in its hub operations and in the London delivery region.
In addition to investing in its business operations, APC is also committed to investing more in its workforce. Early in the year, the company completed its co-ownership structure, allowing all depots in the APC network to take an equity stake. The company also has a stock option program in place, which rewards all long-serving employees with more than 10 years of service.
Corina Forman, Director of Human Resources at APC, said, “It’s understandably been a difficult year for many. Throughout this time, we have worked hard to maintain job security and opportunity for all of our employees, continuing to provide them with the training and skills they need to reach their potential. But we also understand the importance of focusing on initiatives that promote their health and well-being and providing them with initiatives.
“We firmly believe that investing in our people in this way pays long-term dividends. People who feel supported and recognized within the company tend to identify strongly with our values and develop secure social networks – these factors combine to support excellent service delivery.