Americans rely on truckers all year round, but especially around the holidays - a season which begins on Black Friday and now extends through the end of January due to steep post-holiday return volume. Due to the rise in e-commerce, DHL reported parcel deliveries were up 15 percent between Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2018 vs. 2017.
This year, increased digital sales (Black Friday alone is projected to account for $7.3 billion in digital sales in the U.S. in 2019) combined with shorter days and severe weather in many regions means regions means fleet managers have no room for error when it comes to keeping their trucks running on schedule and in tip-top shape to meet the demand.
Fortunately, an integrated telematics solution with GPS tracking delivers insight into operations that helps hotshot and expedited carriers improve efficiency and profits and maximizes communication and routing. Read on for ways to maximize your fleet’s performance during the high-stakes holiday season.
- Weather: Weather is notoriously unpredictable, so there’s no way to completely remove the risk it might have on your fleet’s operations. However, fleets can implement technology to mitigate those effects by locating drivers, rerouting them to avoid harsh conditions, road closures or hazards and guiding them to their destination. Since telematics keeps fleet managers up to speed, it makes it easier to make last-minute adjustments to the schedule to avoid the worst weather-related disruptions. Many fleet management solutions, including Teletrac Navman, have developed a specific weather overlay feature giving dispatchers and operations teams an instant view of where drivers are relative to weather systems, 24 hours a day.
- Route planning: Theoretically, all GPS fleet tracking software use GPS data to inform on traffic patterns. However, not all of them take into account the list of stops drivers need to complete in a given time period, or vehicle dimensions, load capacity, road restrictions, hazardous materials and other configurations that may affect the route. Teletrac Navman’s routing integration sends dispatchers real-time updates, including vehicle location, speed and mileage, and are able to drill down into overall trip duration, handling and driver time and stops completed to measure against their goals.
- Backhauling: Backhauling (sometimes also referred to as “backloading”) means planning for roundtrip hauls, mapping out routes to ensure goods are transported on every leg of a truck’s journey. It involves carefully planning routes so trucks aren’t driving back empty on return trips, maximizing productivity on the road.
Backhauling requires more planning than sending trucks out to complete one haul at a time, but the benefits make it worth it, especially in periods of high delivery demand. Planning efficient loads improves operational efficiency from maximizing equipment and labor utilization, which in turn means improved productivity and boosted revenue.
To learn more about the benefits of GPS fleet tracking technology, click here.