Here at Metafour, our team is our biggest asset. Between us we have 170 years of industry experience, and our people are definitely the magic that makes the company what it is. So we thought it was about time to introduce them! First off is our Director of Customer Experience, Richard Ive.
Hi Richard! Thanks for taking the time to talk to me. Could you start off by telling the readers a bit about your role?
No problem! In essence, it is my responsibility to ensure Metafour can deliver three of our key services: Onboarding new customers through our Implementation Team, supporting our existing customers with the Customer Service Team, plus developing new features and services with the Product Development Team.
So how did you end up here?
Bit of a long story this one! For my Computer Science degree, I was required to complete a year in industry. Way back in 2009 Metafour kindly offered me the opportunity to work as a Software Developer as a part of this requirement, and after I finished my 12 month position they offered me a role once I’d finished university. After my final year (and the obligatory gap year!) I returned to the company full-time as Product Manager. In 2016 I was promoted to Associate Director, and in 2017 I was promoted to the role I’m currently in today.
So what do you enjoy about working for Metafour?
Firstly, the people. Metafour is made up of some of the most dedicated, committed, intelligent, hard-working people I have ever met. They challenge me to be a better member of the team and a better person every day.
Next it’s the technology. As a self-proclaimed geek, the technical challenges posed by developing courier and mailroom software is hugely stimulating. I always tell my friends and family that the courier industry is far more complex than just getting something from A to B. Using technology is great fun, and a huge challenge.
There’s also the customers. We have a fantastic commercial relationship with our clients, but also a very ‘human’ relationship. I’d like to think that our customers know we care about them, and that this feeling is reciprocated. I feel that our customers care about Metafour, and work hard with us to build a strong relationship with our team.
Finally, their support. As I think my story shows; Metafour invests heavily in their people. We support, nurture, and guide our staff as much as we can. I personally have benefited hugely from that, and I’m immensely grateful.
What do you think are the standout features we currently offer our clients?
There are two features that I am definitely most proud of helping design. The first is SafeSign. One of the main reasons I taught myself to code as a teenager was because I loved to design and make things. In April as the Covid-19 pandemic was really taking hold, I had the honour of working with our development teams in Dhaka and London to create Safe Sign – Our solution contactless proof of delivery solution.
Designing and working on such an important and urgent development project is up there with one of my best experiences at Metafour. Taking a proof of concept to a production-ready in 3 days was exactly why I got into software development and I didn’t even write a line of code!
Our customers loved being able to collect proof of deliveries without the need to hand over their device. They can even collect signatures without having to ring the doorbell!
The second is Invoice Reconciliation. As one of NetCourier’s most complex modules, and definitely a technical challenge, I personally get a great feeling every time one of our customers start to use it for the first time and say “Wow, we’re going to save X hours a week using this!” or “This is going to save us £X thousand a month!”.
On occasion there is a development project where you honestly feel you may not be able to overcome all of the technical challenges to provide a valuable addition to the product, and supplier invoice reconciliation fell into this group. It was so immensely complicated trying to deal with all of the different carrier invoice formats our customers used, the different charges that can be added to a shipment after delivery, and the volume of data that the module needs to handle in a short space of time. The fact that we have customers automatically reconciling tens of thousands of shipments per-week makes the late nights of software design worth it!
And do we have anything exciting coming up?
We consistently re-invest in our product, so we’re always growing our suite of products. There are two major updates on our roadmap that I am particularly excited about, however: Our new framework replacement, and a new sales invoice module.
From our first version of NetCourier, our courier users have needed to install some software on their PC to run the application. We want to get rid of that – and so are working on a really nice, secure, cloud-based replacement that won’t need to have anything installed, and will make NetCourier much easier to use from any PC at any time. We’re really excited about it!
Our current sales invoice module is good, but we can make it better! This is why later on in the year we will be working on updating it to allow a number of invoice runs to be started at one time. This will help your accounts team to save time, as there will be no need to wait until the last one has finished before you start on the next. In addition, you won’t need to be logged into the system to collect the output of the run. It should also be much, much faster!