Keys to solving the delivery transport headaches for small business


Most people didn’t get into small business to deal with delivery transport headaches. Common headaches includelate, lost, or misplaced items, absent drivers, broken down vehicles, accidents, or delivery drivers that are rude, disinterested, or unsafe.

The other bigger transport headache is the cost, which can easily blow out on you.

So, how can small businesses regain control and solve these parcel delivery headaches?

There are five keys to consider:

Understand your goals: Start with the basics: how important is delivery to your business? Consider how often do you need to deliver items, and how fast do you need to respond to customers – how many deliveries need to be performed each day, week, month. What kind of items are being delivered? Are they small parcels, or products which are large, irregularly sized, or fragile? These may demand specialist care. Be realistic. Understand the role delivery plays in yourbusiness. Do you need a permanent delivery fleet, or something more flexible? Do you need vehicles and drivers branded with your company? Are your drivers the face of your business? This will influence the level of professionalism you require.

Analyse your current performance: Bring everything out into the open. Ask your customers about their experience with your deliveries – consider an anonymous survey so you know responses will be truthful. Try to get a picture of your speed and consistency – is it up to scratch? Examine things like driver absenteeism, accidents, insurance claims or WorkCover claims. What is working, and what can be improved?

Be honest about your shortcomings: Honesty in your assessment is a critical step. It can be tempting to sweep real problems under the carpet. But how much are these shortcomings in your transport operations potentially costing you? For example, if corners have been cut, or if ‘false economy’ decisions made – such as opting for the cheapest provider – it’s important to recognise them. Consider how these shortcomings impact your customers. And consider the opportunity to improve your company’s reputation, trust, and client loyalty by rectifying these issues.

Analyse your current costs: Delivery transport costs often trouble small businesses because they can easily get away from you, and ‘hidden costs’ can be a real problem. It’s best if you have access to an impartial financial tool which allows you to input all the data to understand your total costs with complete transparency. Transport can be a major overhead for small business yet it’s amazing how many small-to-medium companies don’t accurately know what their transport is really costing them.

Put steps in place to make a change: Sometimes you need to make a big change, or even start again. Key is engaging with transport suppliers who put more control in your hands. Be wary about how you engage transport suppliers. Remember, cheaper can often cost you more in the long run. And consider the all-important resources on offer – can they adapt with your business, can they manage all those little headaches, whether it’s a quality proof-of-delivery system, or a broken down vehicle, or an absent driver? Finally, can your transport supplier support you when you need resources at short notice, and deliver the professionalism your customers expect?

Written by By Walter Scremin, Ontime Delivery Solutions CEO.

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