GLS Germany and its transport partners

GLS Germany is one of the four biggest parcel service providers in Germany. On this website, we inform you about the collaboration between GLS Germany and its transport partners. GLS puts great emphasis on long-term business relations – as they are the cornerstone of high-quality services.

n/a

Investments in delivery processes

GLS continuously improves processes and procedures. In the past five years, more than 50 million Euros have been invested in the optimisation of systems. Here are some examples of the various measures taken:

Network consolidation

In the past years, GLS has opened numerous new depots and distribution centres in Germany in order to reduce journey times to and from delivery areas – for example in Bremerhaven, Ingolstadt, Kelsterbach near Frankfurt, Offenburg (Baden-Wurttemberg), Kesseldorf west of Dresden, Meppen and Passau. The largest new depot is currently being built in Essen. 

The expansion and modernisation of several locations also contributes to the improvement of working conditions. In Neuss, for example, the conveyor technology was recently modernised and everything was prepared for the addition of another sorting hall. A replacement building with double the sorting capacity is being built in Mannheim.

GLS will continue to invest in the network in the years to come.
 

Equipment

The introduction of new equipment has also made the lives of transport partners and their delivery drivers easier: for example, a new optional tool optimises routing and navigation suggestions in real time according to parcel load and traffic conditions. Where necessary, depots have also set up additional parcel handling stations.

Processes

GLS has restructured delivery areas across Germany in order to simplify route and planning processes for transport companies. Thanks to the electronic stop code lists, delivery drivers save time in the morning. Instead of postcode areas, GLS has divided the delivery areas into so-called fine cells in order to achieve better areal demarcation and simplification in the sorting operation. The processes in depots have been reorganised, and additional sorting staff hired.

In order to optimise and simplify the pre-sorting of parcels in the morning, an IT-supported system is in use in many depots. 
 

Partner Code

GLS Germany has condensed the basis of its working relations with transport companies and service providers in a jointly developed Partner Code which has been last updated in May 2019. This forms part of the contracts with transport partners. The code also stipulates compliance with applicable laws and regulations. The Partner Code can be found here on the GLS website. 

Communication

Communication with transport companies has been strengthened in order to optimise cooperation at the interface between GLS and its transport partners. Depot dialogues ensure continuous and direct communication. The flow of information between recipients, delivery drivers and depots is constantly being improved and simplified with additional data and communication options.

Training

GLS offers its transport partners training programmes that address the challenges of day-to-day work routines, such as securing loads, driver safety and cost-effective driving as well as basics and skills for successful management in operative and administrative functions. Within the scope of the ISO 9001 quality and environmental management certification awarded by independent testing institute DQS (German Association for the Certification of Management Systems), the management of outsourced processes, products and services is audited. This includes the management of transport companies.

New services and solutions

GLS Germany has also optimised the last mile. Delivery is hampered by the fact that ever more private recipients are not at home at the time of delivery, as well as by access restrictions in city centres. Firstly, GLS is addressing this issue with new services and solutions such as FlexDeliveryService and the GLS App. This enables recipients to have a say on/change delivery times and locations, meaning that delivery drivers find themselves standing in front of closed doors much less often. Also, GLS is deploying alternative delivery vehicles – such as e-bikes, eScooter and eVans – in city centres where access restrictions apply. This makes it possible to arrange delivery routes more flexibly.

Insights

Working at GLS is full of variety – both for our own employees as well as for our transport partners and their delivery drivers. Our video portraits of transport partners, their delivery drivers and our depot teams offer an insight into their day-to-day work.

FAQ

1. Why does GLS work with transport companies?

Division of labour is a principle that is practised successfully in many areas of the economy. Like most major parcel companies in Germany, GLS uses transport companies for long-distance transports, as well as for parcel collection and delivery.

Our transport partners know their markets and local conditions inside out and can plan first-hand. The best route planning is done by the delivery drivers themselves, as they have the most detailed knowledge of their delivery areas, such as opening hours, contacts, alternative addresses and access restrictions.

GLS has a considerable interest in sustainable, long-term commercial relations with its transport partners. The excellent working relationship is the cornerstone of the high-quality service that GLS provides to its customers. Business relations with more than a third of the company’s transport partners go back more than ten years – and more than 25 years in some cases.

2. How does GLS pay its transport companies?

The contractual provisions between GLS and the transport company concerned are negotiated on a case-by-case basis between the parties. When drawing up a contract, it is important to strike a balance between the underlying economic conditions relevant to both parties.

Transport partners who complete transport assignments are contractually obligated by GLS to employ drivers in legally compliant employment arrangements that are subject to social security contributions. This also means that transport companies have to pay their drivers at least the minimum wage and comply with the applicable working time regulations. Meeting these contractual obligations is a key component of the working relationship – and our contractors expressly reaffirmed their commitment in this regard when the German Minimum Wage Act was introduced.

The most pressing problem in the CEP sector is the acute shortage of drivers in Germany. According to the 2017 CEP study, it is expected that up to 40,000 additional employees will be needed by 2021 on account of anticipated growth in parcel volume. When you consider this requirement in light of the current low unemployment rate, transport companies cannot afford to offer unattractive conditions. It is only possible to recruit qualified drivers within the framework of a market-oriented price-performance ratio.

3. How much do delivery drivers at transport companies earn?

All transport partners who complete transport assignments are contractually obligated by GLS to employ drivers in legally compliant employment arrangements that are subject to social security contributions and must comply with all applicable national laws with regard to wages, social benefits, working time, overtime, and rest periods as well as their documentation. At least the statutory minimum wage must be agreed upon and paid in employment contracts with employees. Since the introduction of the German Minimum Wage Act, GLS depots have been regularly inspected by the customs and trading standards authorities. So far there have been no serious objections.
 

4. What hours do delivery drivers work?

All transport partners who complete transport assignments are contractually obligated by GLS to employ drivers in legally compliant employment arrangements that are subject to social security contributions and must comply with all applicable national laws with regard to wages, social benefits, working time, overtime, and rest periods as well as their documentation. At least the statutory minimum wage must be agreed upon and paid in employment contracts with employees. Since the introduction of the German Minimum Wage Act, GLS depots have been regularly inspected by the customs and trading standards authorities. So far there have been no serious objections.
 

5. How many stops does a delivery driver have to make on average?

The number of stops or items is determined automatically by route-specific factors such as working hours, distance and volume/weight restrictions due to legal requirements.

6. How does GLS relieve the employees at peak times?

GLS employs more staff at its depots during periods when parcel volumes are high, such as in the run-up to Christmas. Last year, we were supported by some 1,000 additional staff members across Germany, including in terms of parcel sorting.

Wherever necessary in their regions, GLS transport partners increase the number of delivery drivers and delivery vehicles on a seasonal basis.

7. What measures does GLS take to further improve the working conditions of the delivery drivers?

GLS has continuously improved processes and procedures in recent years and continues to do so. In total, well over 50 million euros have been invested in system optimisation in recent years – including in networks, equipment and communication technology, services, tools and processes, and training (see above).

8. How does GLS check whether the legal requirements are met?

Since the introduction of the German Minimum Wage Act, GLS depots have been regularly inspected by the customs and trading standards authorities. So far there have been no serious objections. GLS takes the checks of the customs authorities very seriously and works closely together with these bodies. In the event that a transport partner is in breach of contract, GLS is entitled to terminate the contract without notice.

9. Are delivery drivers allowed to push a notification card through the letterbox without having rung the recipient’s doorbell?

No. Delivery drivers must attempt to deliver the parcel to the recipient. Only then are they allowed to try and deliver to a neighbour or use the alternative option of delivery to a GLS ParcelShop. In both instances, the recipient is informed of the delivery attempt and the whereabouts of their parcel by means of a notification card.

If it was not possible to deliver the parcel to a neighbour or at a ParcelShop, the recipient has the option to redirect the parcel online or by phone.

If the sender uses FlexDeliveryServicefrom GLS, the recipient is also able to redirect the parcel prior to the first delivery attempt.

10. Are delivery drivers allowed to drop off a parcel when the recipient is not at home?

Yes, provided that the recipient has issued a written signature release authorisation allowing parcels to be dropped off at a defined location on their property. Otherwise, leaving parcels by the front door or in the garden is in no way compliant with GLS procedures and guidelines. A parcel may only be delivered if signed for at the recipient’s adress or an alternative recipient (either a neighbour or a GLS ParcelShop).