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DPD UK has partnered with a technology investment fund to launch a new programme which will aim at helping and supporting entrepreneurs who are looking to improve upon their business deliveries. With company L Marks, DPD UK is calling for applicants from start-up companies for the programme, branded Last Mile Labs.

Lasting for eight weeks, the new programme will have ten ‘teams’ taking training and mentoring from industry tycoons, in addition to £12,500 in funding and access to £100,000 in long-term funding. The programme comes as many parcel couriers begin to face an increase in the pressure to transform and reinvent more often and quickly in the bid to meet with customer needs and demands in the ever-growing e-commerce sector.

L Mark, based in London and Manchester, is a technology investment fund which has ran similar programmes in the past for popular retailer John Lewis. L Marks Chairman, Stuart Marks, has said: “Last Mile Labs is an initiative that will invest in the ‘science of delivery’, working with start-ups in early and growth stages to provide customers with the best possible service for years to come…Last Mile Lab is open to anybody who has a great idea.”

The Last Mile Lab programme is looking for start-up companies within four main categories. The programme looks to improve the ‘final mile’ delivery experience, develop real time communications between DPD drivers and the receiver, the use of data to secure efficiency and also offer innovations that will ultimately improve delivery experience.

DPD UK Chief Executive, Dwain McDonald, has said the firm’s current “big” technology team was often “full up replacing the new lights on the old engine.” Speaking about the new programme investment, McDonald has said: “We delivery 150 million parcels a year and technology is so important to us because at the end of the day, we only get paid once. We’re now using mobile phone to buy, shop, track – wherever the mobile phone takes us is where the next innovation for DPD is. We need fresh thinking and new people. That’s what’s so exciting for me, and why Last Mile Labs is so refreshing.” He also added: “If it means we innovate faster, customers like it, we retain our customer base and a competitive advantage on all other parcel carries – great result.”

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