Customer expectations regarding delivery times are increasing. Balancing this against increasing volumes of traffic and hold-ups on our roads, it is no wonder that more businesses are investing in fleet trackers so that delivery times can be improved, as can efficiencies across the business. But how else can businesses hope to improve their delivery times?
1. Audit your current systems and procedures
Just because you have always ‘done it like’ doesn’t mean it is still the most efficient means of getting customer orders out and delivered. The logistics and delivery landscape has changed in recent years. The number of vehicles on the road has increased, and we are travelling further and for longer—simply because modern vehicles are more efficient and reliable.
If you have not examined your procedures thoroughly, or fail to do so at regular intervals, it’s just not possible for you to be operating at maximum capacity. Fleet trackers provide not only real-time information as to the location of a vehicle, but also offer an overall picture of your delivery network, bottlenecks included.
2. Improve warehouse process
If you truly want to improve your delivery times, then you’ll need to focus on objectively auditing your warehouse processes. Again, technology can help to streamline and define warehouse procedures, highlighting pinch points, although overusing this technology can often make things a little over-complicated.
What it doesn’t provide, in most cases, are solutions, but if you have an understanding of the problems, can negate and minimise them and predict when they may happen – for example, time-bound issues such as Christmas deliveries or when skeleton staff are on duty due to observed religious celebrations – you can take action to avoid disruption.
3. Improve communication
Communication is key in any situation, but certainly when it comes to customer deliveries. And yet, so many firms are still not communicating to the best of their ability.
Tracking systems, including fleet trackers, provide you with valuable information, but its value is only truly recognised when you share all or parts of this information with staff and customers;
* Staff – communication between warehouse staff and drivers can often be limited, especially as drivers spend little time in the warehouse before heading out on deliveries. There are many ways of improving communications, including SMS on e-pods and mobile phones.
* Customers – keeping your customers informed is key in minimising complaints. There are times when no matter how much planning and monitoring goes into delivering, unforeseen circumstances can always arise. Accidents on motorways, issues on A-roads and vehicle breakdowns happen on a daily basis. Informing customers of a new ETA is not admitting defeat, but keeping them in the loop. However, if it keeps happening because of your own processes, clearly action must be taken.
4. Understand common complications and delays
With any delivery firm, no matter what the cargo or products being delivered, there are complications and delays that are common and, to a certain extent, can be foreseen.
For example, planned servicing of vehicles is much better than running vehicles into the ground, or planned staff holidays mean agency drivers can be brought in advance.
There are many more examples, but clearly identifying pinch points in your business, and being ready to take action should they occur, minimises disruption to your business and to your customers too.
5 Incentivise staff efficiency
Productivity is key to improving your business overall, with incentives for staff to reach targets and goals a tool that many organisations and businesses use. When your staff understand – warehouse teams and drivers – the importance of the part they play in improving delivery times, they can be even more willing to drive the business forward.
Delivery times are crucial to your business’ reputation, as well as paramount for your customers, to continue the day-to-day running of their business too. What tips do you have for improving lead delivery times?