Whatever kind of business you run, if you offer a delivery or distribution service, you need to ensure that it runs like clockwork. Even minor glitches can end up costing you time and money, and you may lose out to competitors if you fail to impress clients. If you’re keen to deliver on your promises, here are some tips to avoid dilemmas and increase efficiency.
Set realistic targets
In this day and age, customers want convenience, and if you can offer a swift service, you’re going to attract more customers than a rival that takes longer. If you deliver on your promises every time, that’s great. However, if you fall short of the target, you’re going to disappoint your customer, you stand to lose out financially, and you may play into the hands of your competition. If you offer next-day delivery, make sure you can actually provide this service. It’s better to have realistic targets than goals that are out of reach. If a customer knows they’ll have to wait an extra day, they won’t get angry when their order doesn’t arrive the next day.
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Running your fleet efficiently
If you’ve got a fleet of vehicles, you want to make sure you operate as efficiently as possible. There are various ways you can do this, including planning fuel and time efficient routes, ensuring that your staff rota works and investing in fleet fueling cards. If every driver knows where they’re going, what hours they’re working and where they can stop for gas and fill up with minimal hassle, this is going to save time, effort, and money. If you don’t already use technology to plan delivery routes, now is as good a time as any to start. There’s no point in sending more than one driver to one area or giving another a route that results in them doubling back on themselves. Using software, you can plot the best itineraries.
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Offering clients a choice
If you’ve ever ordered anything online, you may have noticed that many websites now offer you a range of choices when it comes to delivery options. To compete with rivals, whether you’re focusing on the retail or the distribution aspect of the business, it pays to give your clients a choice. As a society, we’re used to getting things done quickly, and services like next-day delivery, weekend deliveries, and collection points are increasingly popular. If you can offer a service which makes life easier for your client base, this could help you to outshine your competitors. If you are thinking of expanding your options, make sure you do your research first, cost everything up, and see if there’s a demand for additional features. You could use techniques like client surveys and polls to determine how popular a new delivery service would be, and whether introducing more options would be more likely to attract new clients or prevent existing customers from choosing alternative services.
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Having a plan B
Even the most successful organizations hit stumbling blocks. If you manage a logistics company or you’re responsible for delivering orders placed on your website or over the telephone, it’s essential to have a plan B. In this domain, even minor hitches can be incredibly costly. If your service isn’t running as it should be, this can result in delays, canceled orders and most importantly, customer dissatisfaction. Think about all the issues you could encounter, and try and ensure that you have solutions in place. What will you do if one of your vans breaks down? Would you be able to manage if you had a couple of members of staff off sick? How will you cope with adverse weather conditions? What happens if a major road is blocked? Planning ahead can save you time and money, and it will also reduce the risk of failing to provide customers with the level of service they expect. If you do encounter problems, and you’re not going to be able to satisfy your client’s preferences, make sure you communicate with them.
If you offer any kind of delivery service, efficiency should always be a priority. You want to ensure that you deliver on your promises to your clients and that you do so in a cost-effective manner. Take advantage of modern technology, make life easier for your employees, and offer clients a choice. Always ensure that you have backup plans in place, which can smooth things out if the service isn’t running as normal. If you’re prepared, you can respond to difficulties swiftly and minimize disruption.
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