The Christmas rush is something hauliers anticipate every year. But it’s going to be felt more acutely this year with the additional pressures of a driver shortage and Brexit affecting the supply of some goods.
The haulage sector is set to experience its busiest Christmas period on record. On top of the usual increase in demands, there’s the perfect storm of the HGV driver shortage and supply chains impacted by Brexit and COVID. By focusing on increasing efficiency and reducing empty running, hauliers can meet these higher demands and ensure their customers receive the highest level of service.
Here, we cover how hauliers can cope with arguably the most demanding Christmas we’ve ever experienced.
Make planning more efficient
Efficient planning is paramount to success for all hauliers, but never has it been more important than right now. A Logistics UK survey revealed that 96% of hauliers are struggling to recruit drivers, with 13% saying their shortage is severe to very severe. To meet high demands with a potentially depleted workforce, hauliers need to get the most out of their available resources.
That’s where route planning software comes in. By feeding in all the collections and deliveries you need to make, and your vehicle and driver availability, you’ll be able to plan the most efficient routes and get the most out of your fleet.
With these solutions, you’ll have one view of your business supported by real-time information. Your planners can then make informed decisions. In the hectic traffic rush leading up to Christmas, it’s critical you can identify and manage exceptions as deliveries progress because it’s undoubtedly the busiest period on the road.
Eliminate empty running
When you have a larger-than-usual task on your hands to keep up with demand this Christmas, running empty seems even more wasteful than usual. Yet, for many hauliers, this is the case on their return journeys. If your drivers travel back empty from Glasgow to Plymouth on their return journey, for instance, that’s a lot of wasted mileage.
Using a freight exchange platform gives hauliers the opportunity to not only make the most of their journeys but also serve more customers in a time of increased demands. This can help optimise fleets in the short term and also enables hauliers to expand their network to connect with new shippers. Haulage companies with loyal customers but limited resources have the opportunity to subcontract their excess work on these platforms, meaning they can still take on additional haulage loads and get customer’s jobs done.
Allow your drivers to do more in their workday
The changes to drivers’ hours, which means drivers can work up to 11 hours a day twice a week, has been extended once again to January. But we know that making already overworked drivers work longer hours isn’t the solution, especially when many of the drivers who’ve left the sector have done so due to poor working conditions.
Giving your drivers the tools they need to achieve more in their workday is a much better solution. Not only will this allow your business to be more efficient, but you’ll also improve their satisfaction by making their jobs easier. Let’s face it, dealing with paper proof of deliveries is difficult to manage and adds time to their day.
It’s these inefficient processes that can frustrate drivers, cause delays, and even result in them finishing their day later than expected. It’s no wonder that drivers are leaving businesses that aren’t addressing this problem. Using digital tools like electronic proof of delivery and apps that provide real-time details of their deliveries allows them to focus on the job and get more done in their day.