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City Link attempting to deliver major IT turnaround

Live tracking system introduced by owner Rentokil

Rentokil Initial's troubled courier business City Link is attempting to turn around its fortunes with a technology overhaul.

City Link has been in the red since 2007. In the first quarter of this year, the division, which generates around 60 percent of its sales from business customers, reported that operating losses had increased from £4.4 million to £10.7 million in a year, partly caused by the severe snow.

The delivery business is now introducing customer service tool My City Link, which has been developed in-house at a cost of £250,000, the Financial Times reported.

Rentokil Initial has said that its City Link business failed to come up to the mark for customer service, with many customers complaining about failed or late deliveries, and a lack of information of when their goods will arrive.

The new system will allow City Link customers "to see in real time" the exact location of all their consignments, promises Rentokil Initial. Google Maps and GPS technology will be used to allow customers to track their deliveries.

In the fourth quarter of this year City Link will also start sending customers text messages with expected delivery times, sometimes within an hour. The My City Link system is said to have been in the offing for around 18 months.

Paul Scratchley, head of on-boarding and implementation at City Link, was reported by Road Transport Media as saying at the launch: "We want to be completely transparent in everything we do, and we are confident enough to open our doors and show what's going on behind them."

City Link's tracking system for customers may not give it the market advantage it hopes for though, as rivals already have similar systems. DHL Supply Chain recently rolled out its new Live Order Tracking System (LOTS) in an attempt to improve supply chain efficiency. The internally-developed, bespoke web-based LOTS aims to "revolutionise the way that DHL staff and its customers view order information securely over the internet", said DHL.

Andy Lightfoot, regional transport manager at DHL Supply Chain, said: "This IT innovation will bring complete clarity of delivery status to our customers without the need for them to make contact with us directly."

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