By Derek Bryan, vice president EMEA, Verizon Connect
With Christmas around the corner, consumers are starting to purchase their food, beverages and presents for the impending visit of family and friends.
For fleet managers, this spike in demand makes Christmas one of the most challenging periods on the calendar. While preparations started months ago, the stress can be unavoidable.
Every year we hear stories of huge traffic jams and angry customers waiting for overdue deliveries, so how can fleet operators stay on top of their operations, keep their customers satisfied and deliver purchases on time during such a busy period?
Technology can act as ‘Santa’s little helper’, playing a vital role in balancing competing schedules and workloads, and routing vehicles to help keep everyone happy.
For businesses that want to stay ahead of the competition, it’s certainly the most opportune time of the year to make use of the latest tech.
Avoiding queues at distribution centres
Long lines of vans and lorries parked outside depots can lead to angry locals and delays for anxious customers.
Fleet managers must therefore look at their Service Level Agreements (SLAs) to establish expectations, and plan accordingly with distribution centres to map out best timings.
Mobile Resource Management (MRM) systems can use this information to help plot out schedules and simulate various “what if” scenarios, establishing the costs of each situation and selecting the optimum action.
Dodging traffic jams
Even without additional holiday traffic clogging up roads, the UK is one of the most congested countries in the world.
MRM provides managers with live analytics that allows them to plan the best routes beforehand and establish which driver is best placed to take the delivery.
The technology tracks the vehicle’s location once it’s on the road, and can re-route if road conditions change. With near real-time visibility over deliveries, managers can respond quickly to queries if unexpected eventualities arise, helping to ensure customer satisfaction remains high.
Assisting in managing schedules
Driver schedules are challenging during the holiday season. Managers battle to ensure hours are allocated efficiently, even with a reduced workforce as workers take time off for the holidays.
If not done properly, some drivers will become over-burdened and clock up overtime, while others remain under-utilised. MRM can highlight which drivers are available and represent the most efficient option.
As everyone gears up for Christmas, no one wants to be responsible for dampening the festive cheer.
Fleet managers must ensure they are on top of their logistics, using the right technology to not only help meet customer expectations, but also increase revenue and deliver a happy and prosperous holiday period.