Meeting Seasonal Demands With Fleet Management
With Christmas fast approaching, it’s not unusual to start seeing an increase in lorries and vans on the roads. A lot of this extra traffic is delivery drivers tasked with ensuring our all-important Christmas shopping is delivered on time.
Are you prepared for the demanding season as a fleet manager? Here is a plan for what you need to have in place to make it a successful period this year.
Predict the Rush
Although it’s common knowledge that Christmas is a busy time for most people, you may find it a quieter period if you are hauling equipment and supplies for trade-based businesses. By addressing the statistic of previous years, you will find an in-depth analysis of when you should expect the busier times of the year. In addition, predicting your higher demanding times can help you adjust your fleet management.
Being prepared with extra staff on standby and other aspects of the business being organised in advance can provide you with the adaptability to cope with the rushes and increase in demand. Your fuel management systems are another aspect to consider. Stopping off for fuel throughout the journey can add time to your driver’s day. However, with onsite facilities, you can ensure that every vehicle is fully fueled for the day before they even leave the yard. This helps to offer more direct routes and keeps deliveries on time.
Supporting Your Drivers
A supported employee is a happy employee. However, a company’s busiest period can stress your current staff. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that, even though they may be under pressure, it’s manageable. If employees feel overworked and undervalued, they may consider leaving.
This is usually the last resort for most people, but it can leave you in a challenging position as a business if not corrected early on.
Most drivers spend a lot of time on the road, which can be isolating. Offer your employees a chance to touch base and air their grievances regularly. It has been proven that staff who frequently have check-ins with their superiors are less unhappy as they feel heard. Not only should you listen to their issues, but by working with them, you can figure out how to address them collaboratively. If staff feel involved in solving problems, they will feel a sense of belonging within the company. Consider bringing in more drivers where possible through busy times, this can help alleviate any pressure on your drivers and prevent the need for long hours on the road.
Efficient Route Planning
A route may work well throughout standard times, but re-addressing routes are ideal for efficiency in your busier periods. Adding stops to your driver’s run may not provide the most economical delivery. It can waste fuel and add unnecessary time to your driver’s day. Overall, poor route planning can cost a business significantly. A route should never be planned alone but be considered with all your driver’s routes. It may make more sense for another driver to take a drop, even if it’s out of their area, if they will pass through. Involve your drivers in on planning stage. They understand their routes if they do them on a regular journey, much better than anyone else. What may look better on a map may have unseen difficulties your driver may make you aware of, such as idling in consistently built-up traffic or narrow lanes unsuitable for larger vehicles.
Also, consider having two sets of routes for everyday delivery demands and when times get busier. In addition, with efficient route planning, you can optimise your expenses with an online fuel management system. This equipment will allow you to keep an eye on what fuel is being used for which route, and by analysing this, you can see where you spend the most in fuel. You can fix this issue with better route planning and seeing where to make routes more efficient.
Prevent the Need For Fuel Stop Offs
One of the most significant inconveniences is stopping off for fuel. If you regularly deploy artics, they need to plan it into their route, with smaller vehicles waiting in line on busy forecourts. By installing an onsite fueling system, you can reduce downtime as your drivers wait for fuel at petrol stations, and it can help lower fuel costs.
You are minimising your drivers’ time off the road without the need to stop off for fuel. This means your deliveries are getting out faster and more efficiently. In addition to onsite fuel, you can offer fuel monitoring for your fleet. This can help ensure that fuel isn’t used against company policy or for personal use. It is also much cheaper to have your fuel than relying on the fluctuation of petrol prices. Buying in bulk and wholesale can offer a much more affordable solution.
Preparation is Key
Preparation for seasonal demand is essential to running an efficient fleet. Understanding, analysing and addressing is the best way to keep your drivers going and have a happy fleet of staff. Without preparation, you could lead your fleet into challenging times, leading to team leaving, poor deliveries and costly expenses.