While practically everyone in the US is enjoying the holiday season and participating in festive activities, the transportation industry is generally undergoing the most frantic time period of the entire year. Given the fact that retailers always kick off their biggest sales starting before Thanksgiving, it means that a tremendous increase in product shipping goes right along with that huge sale increase.
Anyone who works with transporting goods needs to keep up with shipping demands as the holiday season approaches, and all this complicates even more with the arrival of adverse weather in the colder climates.
All this being so, you may want to take advantage of some of these fleet maintenance tips so that you can be sure your vehicles are up to the challenge of all that increased demand.
Implement a Real-time Weather System
You don’t really have to install weather-tracking modules in all your vehicles, although that would be a real innovation in the industry. What you really need to do is make sure that updated information gets into the hands of your drivers and everyone else who needs it. An automated system that issues texts or emails to drivers can be invaluable, especially when any sudden weather changes are on the horizon.
You can purchase a number of fleet management tools that provide this kind of functionality, and others that are capable of delivering real-time weather alerts through the dashboard. When you have a system like this installed, it will be extremely beneficial for your drivers, and it could also improve transportation and delivery times.
Make Use of Freight Factoring
Not paying carriers upfront happens fairly often when working with their biggest clients. This is especially true around the holiday season since those clients are generally low on cash themselves until revenue starts coming in. If you don’t receive your payment promptly during the holiday season, this can put a real crimp in your operations, because you cannot defer expenses, and you might need to pay them whether you have money on hand or not.
A perfect solution for this is to participate in freight factoring, which calls for a financial lender to pay you upfront, in exchange for the invoices which you will issue to your clients. There’s a small fee when it comes to this practice, but the good news is that as soon as you’re ready to bill a client, you can get a steady and reliable cashflow because the factoring company is the one who pays.
Plan Routes Ahead of Time
Planning routes ahead of time can take into account all kinds of weather and traffic, as well as travel times associated with known routes. You probably have some kind of system like this in place already, and you may even have some contingency plans for situations that call for alternate routes.
If you don’t have some kind of system like this in place, it will definitely be worth your while to establish one. There are all kinds of incidents that can happen on the roadways, and the better prepared you are to deal with them, the more likely it is that your shipments will be delivered on time and that your company will retain its good reputation.
Make Use of Anti-theft Techniques
One of the most active times of the year for thieves is during the holidays, and that means the goods you’re transporting are more susceptible to being hijacked than at any other time of year. It’s also possible that you might need to travel through areas that are unsafe. Whenever leaving transport vehicles and storage units unattended or are parked overnight for resting time, there is an increased potential for theft to occur.
Most modern vehicles are now equipped with GPS and location-tracking systems so that they can be better managed and monitored. Location-tracking is excellent for counteracting theft. When you have a driver entering an unsafe area, it would be wise to send them an alert to continue driving right through it or to be sure and stay with the vehicle if stops are necessary. You can also use geo-fencing to avoid parking overnight in questionable areas.
If one of your vehicles does vanish, the GPS tracking system can provide invaluable information to the authorities to help with recovery. Once you’ve installed a system like this, you should make sure that it stays in place indefinitely, so that you don’t lose coverage at any point in time. You can mitigate a great deal of the risk of theft by making effective use of GPS and other tracking tools, planning your routes ahead of time, and training your drivers properly.
Fleet Maintenance Tips for Going Paperless
These days, there’s really no reason to stick to the old system of having paper documents in every single aspect of your transportation service. There are so many practical and efficient solutions available now, that you really have no excuse for not going completely digital. Considering the accuracy and efficiency of digital transactions, there’s just no better time than the present to make the switch and go completely paperless.
That means your drivers won’t have to carry around a clipboard with all kinds of paperwork attached, and they can instead switch to a simple digital operation. It can save a lot of time and effort when your drivers don’t have to fill out forms or keep track of all kinds of paperwork. That paperwork can now be handled digitally, using a mobile device that will be simple to learn about and make use of.
Your drivers will also have access to a tremendous number of really useful features, for instance attaching photos to reports, sharing data about locations, and possibly even submitting documents from their remote location on the road. It will save your fleet drivers tons of time, and will probably also greatly increase the accuracy of any transaction.
What all these fleet maintenance tips will boil down to is increased efficiency on your delivery times, and on your operation schedules.