4 reasons to get ahead of peak requirements

Jul 18, 2023

Peak season delivery: planning ahead to avoid driver shortages

As the saying goes, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. When it comes to running a business, this is especially true for delivery and transport services.

When peak season hits, you can have all the stock in the world, but if you can’t get it into your customers’ hands you could be missing out on one of the most lucrative periods of the year.

With this in mind, we’ve put together our top four reasons why you need to start planning ahead with your driver requirements and get set for summer, Christmas and January sales etc.

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Reason 1: Equipment availability

Whether you’re delivering direct to consumers or moving stock from production to retail locations, the vehicles you require are going to be in high demand. Often not reserved for one specific type of transport, a carrier’s fleet of vehicles can be assigned to any number of tasks, greatly reducing their availability at short notice.

Whilst many companies choose to pre-plan their requirements on an annual basis, those who delay or pre-book too small an amount, can become caught up in a last-minute scramble with other businesses in their local area.

Especially relevant when we head towards the busiest periods of the year such as Christmas, or major events such as the football World Cup, the volume of packages in transit can skyrocket and keep a carrier’s vehicles at full capacity for weeks to come.

Equipment availability is one of the most influential factors in transport capacity, don’t let it hold you back from making the deliveries you rely on.

Reason 2: Driver shortages

Second to the vehicles themselves, driver shortages are one of the most common issues as peak season approaches.

Whilst it’s more realistic to recruit additional drivers on short notice than to purchase new vehicles for a fleet, training and inducting short-term staff can be a less appealing option to many carriers.

If your chosen carrier does opt to employ additional surge staff, their personal rates of pay can come at a premium which may be reflected in the fee you pay for their services.

It can be tempting to conserve your budget and pre-book a smaller number of vehicles for your peak season deliveries, but this can be a costly mistake. As the long-term effects from the Covid-19 pandemic continue to have an impact on the labour market, relying on your carrier’s ability to recruit staff in next-to-no time can lead to service failure and increased costs on your end.

Play it safe by pre-booking a larger number of drivers and protect against factors outside of your control.

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Reason 3: Avoid disappointment

Ahead of the peak season in 2022, one of our clients booked what they thought was a comprehensive number of shifts at around 330. As the season got into full flow, their total requirement ended up at around 550 shifts – nearly doubling what they had pre-booked.

Thankfully for this client, in this instance X2 was able to match the rates from their pre-booked shifts, but this situation could easily have led to major disappointment for them and their customers.

Whilst there are often workarounds and exceptions to the rule, it is not always possible to make last-minute accommodations when things get busy. You may be prepared to pay a premium to acquire the delivery services you need, but sometimes there just physically aren’t the vehicles or drivers available to make these deliveries, no matter how much you’re prepared to pay.

When it comes down to it, putting your products in the hands of your customers is what business is all about – if you can’t get it to them, the business fails to operate.

Whether it’s to avoid committing to a larger financial outlay or just from ineffective pre-planning, avoid disappointment for your company and its customers by booking a higher number of shifts.

After all, it’s better to have 50 unused shifts and 100% order completion during peak time than to pay a premium on price and see orders delayed or cancelled.

 Reason 4: Fierce competition

If you’re lucky enough to find an available vehicle at short notice, chances are someone else wants it too. When availability goes down and demand goes up, prices naturally rise to reflect the state of the market.

If you are prepared to shop around, keep your finger on the pulse and pay inflated prices for your haulier services, it can be possible to find solutions at extremely short notice. However, if you could completely avoid this situation (and you can) by just planning ahead, why wouldn’t you?

When crunch time comes, would you rather have your staff focusing on making and fulfilling orders, or wasting time calling haulier after haulier and negotiating last-minute rates?

At peak time more than ever, time is money – make every second count.

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Summary 

During periods of high demand, we understand that as a business you will look to maximise return and reduce financial commitment wherever possible. However, given everything we’ve said above, doing so can easily lead to service failure and actually end up costing you more money in the long run.

If you’re looking to prepare for peak requirements now and avoid disappointment, X2’s vast pool of vehicles and resources can help safeguard you against exposure to any unexpected shifts in the marketplace.

Get in touch today for a free, no-obligation discussion and quote.