Delivery transport has become more critical for business as customer expectations rise, margins are squeezed, and the pressure to innovate increases.
Many businesses feel the pressure but are confused about what is achievable. If the delivery transport division is inefficient there is a knock-on effect through the business, which increases costs and lowers customer service.
The challenge is that customer expectations continue to grow as some of the major players successfully innovate in this area. The innovation question is a big challenge – we keep reading about huge leaps forward such as driverless vehicles and drone deliveries, but those are still a way off.
We need one eye on those developments but most important is understanding what can be achieved now.
Any business owner running delivery transport can benefit by asking themselves the following questions:
1. Forget the future: what can we do now?
Transport and logistics seems to be on the cusp of many exciting, game-changing developments such as self-driving trucks, automation and drones. Nobody can really tell you if we’ll see these breakthroughs next year, or in five or 10 years. We don’t even know if drone deliveries will have permission to use airspace, or if the community will accept driverless trucks. There are many ways business can innovate and improve efficiency now.
2. Do we really understand our customers?
Some businesses may not be in touch with the rise in customer expectations. The growth in transport innovation has also grown customer expectations. Customers expect more, and expect to be better informed about their deliveries. What was once a value-add is now a minimum expectation – services such as delivery tracking.
3. Are we getting the most out of our technology?
Many businesses have the tools to innovate yet do not explore all possibilities. We see many companies with telematics systems which are not properly analysed, which means they are missing out on efficiency gains. Often it’s about the appropriate technology, rather than the latest thing – for example, 2D barcodes aren’t exactly new, but are still under-utilised by many transport divisions. Many were also missing the benefit of QR codes, which store a lot of information in a very small space: When coupled with the appropriate technology QR codes can automatically update customers on their order status and provide real-time updated proof of deliveries.
4. Are we getting the most out of our people?
We’re all expected to be more agile. Efficiency gains in this area are about working smarter, not harder. How seamless is the operation between your fixed staff and your outsourced support? It comes down to partnerships, trusting your suppliers to respond at short notice, knowing they have the systems in place which can adapt to your business.
Walter Scremin, General Manager, Ontime Group