Consider the following projections for the upcoming holiday season:
56% of consumers plan to make a purchase on Cyber Monday 2017, up from 39% in 2016
Total e-commerce sales could reach anywhere from $111 billion to $114 billion
How are all those purchases reaching their destinations?
‘Tis the busiest time of the year for local and long-haul delivery fleets, as they’re entrusted by retailers and consumers alike with making sure thousands upon thousands of gifts arrive in the right location and, most importantly, on time.
It’s also one of the most competitive periods for businesses, so every minute spent on the road counts. But, because it’s one of the busiest times of the year for everyone else, too, there are several seasonal factors—which we’d like to put on Santa’s “naughty list”—that fleets have to contend with.
Walking in a winter wonderland may be magical for some, but inclement weather like snow and sleet are no walk in the park for fleets. More than 70% of U.S. roads are in regions that receive five inches or more in annual snowfall, which often times makes driving through hazardous conditions unavoidable.
In 2016, holiday traffic reached a record high of 103 million Americans, according to AAA, and 2017 is expected to be even higher as families hit the road to visit relatives and friends—in addition to the thousands of truck drivers. AAA says an estimated 50.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving, a 3.3% increase from 2016.
On top of contending with millions of other drivers on the road, fleets must also battle rising gas prices. Idling in traffic is one of the biggest contributors to excess fuel costs, and in November, the national gas price average increased nine cents over the course of 13 days. Prices could go even higher based if strong consumer demand continues.
Driver shortage ranked as the trucking industry’s number one concern for the first time since 2006, according to an annual survey by the American Transportation Research Institute, especially as shipping demand increases. This echoes the sentiments of our 2017 Telematics Benchmark Survey: U.S. Transportation Edition, in which 37% of respondents said they are outsourcing drivers.
Do you know what’s not on the naughty list, though? GPS fleet tracking technology. That’s because having the ability to monitor an entire fleet’s activities in real time can solve the myriad of logistical challenges that fleets face during the holiday sprint. Ensuring that as many loads of presents as possible get to their destination safely and on schedule is nearly impossible with the support of GPS technology.
To learn more about optimizing your fleet operations, check out: Fleet Management Software