Five signs you’re not prepared for the Christmas crush

The Festive Season is wonderful, but the increased demand places pressure on your delivery transport. Will your business succumb to the Christmas crush, potentially letting down customers with late or missed deliveries? By Walter Scremin.

The Festive Season is wonderful, but the increased demand places pressure on your delivery transport. Will your business succumb to the Christmas crush, potentially letting down customers with late or missed deliveries? Here, Walter Scremin offers five warning signs to look out for to help you avoid this happening. 

1. Your staff are being shuffled about to plug gaps: Businesses commonly pull staff from the warehouse or other areas to do delivery runs when demand heats up. Even as a temporary fix, this is unsatisfactory, firstly because that person is not a professional driver, and secondly because it causes more stress for staff who are already under pressure from increased workloads. 

2. There’s a seasonal jump in courier costs: Resorting to courier companies is an expensive stop-gap. Couriers have a high-cost per delivery and do not offer the same level of service as dedicated drivers. If courier costs are going through the roof each Christmas, it may be time to consider other options.

3. There’s a seasonal jump in customer complaints: A huge warning sign is when customers start complaining – customers don’t want to hear that you are stretched – they depend on you and if you can’t deliver they will explore other suppliers. Remember, many of your competitors have no issues delivering on time at Christmas. 

4. You’re not sure what peak efficiency looks like: Your fleet’s efficiency is only as good as its ability to handle peak loads. Fleet operators who do it well incorporate technology such as GPS and PDAs to track and measure efficiency – they know what their fleet is capable of. 

5. The thought of a vehicle breakdown keeps you awake at night: Many business owners have fleet arrangements that aren’t flexible. This makes peak times, such as Christmas, a challenge because they can’t access drivers or vehicles short-term, and are particularly vulnerable to staff absenteeism. For many, having just one driver off sick or one vehicle off the road throws the whole system into chaos.

Walter Scremin is General Manager of Ontime Group.

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