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Modern distribution companies face a wide range of challenges. Along with the many complexities involved in running a fleet-reliant business, they must also work in highly time-sensitive environments with varying factors (such as congestion) out of their control.
Then there is the increasingly demanding customer to contend with. As consumers come to expect faster, more transparent services, distribution companies must meet this demand to compete – offering tighter SLAs and evermore accurate ETAs.
Technology is going to be key in determining which of those in the industry rise to these new challenges and which companies fail to compete on the modern playing field.
Turn to technology
Profit margins in the distribution industry are often tight. Against this backdrop, it’s vital that each day’s jobs are carried out as efficiently as possible.
Field management software can help to optimise your drops, considering live traffic information to provide your driver with the most efficient route. Not only can this potentially allow you to fit more drops into the working day but it means you can provide customers with more accurate ETAs as well.
It's also possible to track the location of each of your vehicles in near real-time, allowing you to update customers on time of arrival in the event of an unforeseen delay. You can even share this information with your customers so they can track your driver from your depot to their door.
Should a new assignment come in during the working day, this location information can also be used to quickly find and re-route the nearest driver to the job.
Listen to your data
An effective fleet management solution can also gather valuable data on numerous events within your fleet – from driver behaviour to fuel consumption. This data can be leveraged to help boost efficiency, reduce costs and improve fleet safety.
For example, by tracking instances of speeding and harsh driving, you can coach drivers into safer practices. Not only can this help to reduce the risk of accidents, it can also minimise the level of wear and tear on your vehicles.
By monitoring and reducing the number of other events, such as excessive idling, you can also decrease fuel consumption and help drivers to improve MPG. Creating a friendly rivalry among your drivers is a great way to do this.
Data collected on driver behaviour – be it idling, speeding or any aggressive driving, can be used to create a scorecard based on driving style. Drivers are then encouraged to improve their score and climb the league table through safer and more economical driving.
Let your drivers drive
With an increasingly demanding customer-base and tightening margins, it’s vital that drivers are given the tools they need to do their jobs as efficiently as possible. This means reducing or even eradicating time-consuming tasks wherever possible. Field management software can help here too.
Location information, along with data on start and finish time, can be used to automate processes such as timesheets and reduce job paperwork. As well as improving the accuracy of these processes, this also allows your drivers to concentrate on the most important job of all – delivering goods to your customers.
Further to this, you'll be able to see exactly where your drivers are at any given time and where they’ve been. This means you no longer have to hassle them for job updates and ETAs.
Are you ready for data-driven distribution?
The right tools are vital when trying to meet the many and varied demands of running a successful distribution business.
See how your fleet data can help you to meet these demands and drive your distribution company towards greater efficiency and profitability by signing up to a quick demo.