Local courier company FAN Courier, estimates that this year's turnover will exceed the 131 million euro, up 13.2% over the previous year's results, in line with the company's initial forecasts and the results of the top 11 months of the year. For FAN Courier, 2017 can be characterized as the year with the most value-added services launched. "The rising appetite of the Romanian market for courier services, mainly as a result of the explosion of the e-commerce segment, risks being affected by the legislative and fiscal changes announced for 2018, with a relevant impact on all economic actors - companies and consumers. Against such backgrounds, our estimates of business developments for the next year are more cautious than in previous years. The budget for 2018 will be built taking into account two scenarios - pessimistic, for which we are also preparing for a possible stagnation and a realistic prudent scenario in which we anticipate a 10% increase, "said Adrian Mihai, founder of FAN Courier.
The lack of fiscal predictability is alongside the labor market crisis, are the main concerns of the company's top management in terms of business development in the coming year.
"All the signals indicate that 2018 will be a more difficult year, even if in official statistics the figures are optimistic and show that the Romanian economy is blowing. At the uncertainties that lie in the business environment, our only answer is to continue our investments and take all the measures that depend on us to minimize the effects. Consequently, 2018 will be a year in which we will focus on finalizing the investments started and on the cost control, "said Felix Patrascanu, managing partner FAN Courier in the annual press conference of the firm.
By the end of next year, investments will exceed 36.5 million euros (16.5 million euros in 2017 and 20 million euros in 2018), major investments aimed at expanding the main HUB of the company, the one from Ştefăneşti and the start of the works of construction at the HUB in Cluj for which a land of 24,000 sq m was purchased, the surface of the hall to be built with an area of 5,000 sq m.
The land that is being built at Ştefăneşti has an area of approximately 64,000 sqm, so that the total area of the company's main HUB will exceed 100,000 sqm, out of which 22,000 sqm will represent storage capacity (8,000 sq m current warehouse and 14,000 sq m new warehouse).
"The expansion of Ştefăneşti's HUB is a solution to avoid overcrowding, in the context of an increasingly accelerated growth of online commerce. Our plans provide for the new warehouse to begin operating in September 2018, with the final investment including sorting strips that substantially increase labor productivity, "said Neculai Mihai, founder of FAN Courier.
The largest amounts invested in 2017 were directed to the fleet - 7 million euros, the deposit in Ştefăneşti - 6.7 million euros so far from the total of over 20 million euros. 10% of the value was intended to upgrade FAN headquarters in the country and to invest in IT. The newly implemented services accounted for around 5% of the total investment volume in 2017.
The company launched this year's e-BOX service and expanded its Collet Point delivery option through a strategic partnership with the PayPoint network and experimented with the card payment service. Both e-BOX, the lock service that allows full purchase and delivery control, and Collect Point are delivery options for customers who shop online but do not want to depend on the courier program.
"Starting in December, the Collect Point service is available in more than 770 locations across the country, which means we have multiplied more than 4 times the number of locations since launch, since the middle of the year. We introduced the e-BOX service because, in our opinion, the customer's objective is to be able to pick up the product at any time. It is an intelligent solution, often used abroad, and which we believe will be successful. We are equally confident in our card payment system, even though cash payment is still preferred by more than 75% of our customers, "Felix Patrascanu explained.
"The investments made by FAN Courier include the role of educating the market, not just meeting the needs expressed by some customers. "They are long-term investments, so we did not intend to analyze their profitability earlier than one year after the launch of each," added Adrian Mihai.
The main challenges of this year were for FAN Courier infrastructure, unexpected legislative and fiscal changes and staff crisis. The company has continued its staff expansion plan, so FAN Courier currently has 5,750 employees. To compensate for the lack of staff, the leader of the local courier market opened the FAN School, where the first courier promotion is already being prepared. They will graduate from the first courier school in early May, and the first pilot generation will also provide the company with the data to calibrate the educational platform and learning processes within the school.