The demand for delivery services has increased exponentially over the past year, as consumers buy more online and expect to have their goods delivered to their front door within hours, let alone days. This has also led to greater competition, as companies vie for more market share.
This, plus an increase in vehicle congestion as well as heightened consumer expectations mean it's more important than ever for delivery businesses to manage their fleets efficiently, without breaching regulations or putting excessive pressure on their drivers.
Delivery drivers face many variables in their day-to-day operations, such as traffic jams, mechanical issues, or other factors. Getting deliveries done in time is an ongoing challenge.
Many delivery business workflows are inefficient and rely on old school paper workflows and manual data entry. Sorting through documents and filing them adds processing time, wastes valuable staff time, and creates delivery bottlenecks.
Once on the road, drivers often need to take unexpected detours due to traffic, roadblocks, accidents, or other events, adding extra time and cost to each delivery. Missed, or delayed, deliveries create problems for customers, who may choose to switch to a more reliable and trustworthy provider.
While many businesses use GPS and telematics tools to keep track of their vehicles, modern fleet management has evolved far beyond this. Delivery fleet management solutions, such as Connect, have become much more than just an asset tracking service.
With centralised fleet data that integrates with other systems in a business, they now provide a comprehensive and complete overview of a vehicle fleet. Armed with this real-time perspective of their delivery operation, business owners and managers can make data-driven decisions to keep deliveries on track.
Here are five ways that modern fleet management solutions use the latest technology to eliminate many of the obstacles that delivery fleet managers face daily.
Real-time vehicle tracking lets you monitor vehicles and ensure staff are working according to schedule. This is especially important when perishable goods - such as grocery or food deliveries - must arrive fresh.
Under this scenario, delivery delays can have a significant negative impact on business reputation. A single late delivery may be acceptable, but a pattern of lost, missing, or spoiled items will definitely result in lost customers.
With comprehensive location and route data supplied by a platform like Connect, you can plan schedules more accurately, predict delays in real-time and make adjustments accordingly. This will help ensure deliveries are on time, every time.
When drivers are on the road, they need mobile-friendly and responsive support that paper-based systems can't provide. Connect provides a centralised platform for all forms, which lets drivers use sign-on glass and checklists to manage their deliveries.
Reducing the time spent on admin tasks and paperwork through digital automation means more time on the road, helping drivers direct their efforts to completing more deliveries.
The latest technology makes optimising delivery routes a simple task. Artificial intelligence (AI) and live traffic data can help identify the best route, so you can communicate with your drivers while they're on the road using mobile devices. This prevents them getting stuck in slow moving traffic and avoids unnecessary detours, thereby making each delivery trip more profitable.
Real-time dynamic routing also means you can respond to changes in customer demands and re-prioritise deliveries throughout the day.
Unplanned breakdowns can throw delivery schedules out of sync. Ensuring delivery vehicles receive proper maintenance and servicing will help reduce breakdowns while your drivers are on the road. This also helps you to take all possible measures to improve vehicle safety, increase its uptime and prevent unscheduled downtime which can be both costly and disruptive to service.
Intuitive, digital maintenance checklists also make vehicle assessments quicker and help identify minor issues before they become major ones. This type of preventative maintenance extends the life of your delivery vehicles and increases asset utilisation.
Optimised routes and well-maintained vehicles can save fuel costs, which are a significant expense for any delivery business. Although the savings on each trip may be small, they add up across a large delivery vehicle fleet when compounded over the course of a year.
Fleet managers can also use other measures to detect dangerous driver habits. This lets you influence drivers towards more economical driving, for example, sticking to the speed limit and avoiding hard braking and accelerating.