E-commerce was on a steady upward trajectory prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the last six months, because of COVID, e-commerce sales have skyrocketed, and there is no indication that they will slow down as households and businesses have become used to the convenience and safety of having goods delivered to their doorsteps.
Just last week, both UPS and FedEx said they are planning huge hiring efforts in advance of the holiday buying season. UPS indicated it expects to add 100,000 seasonal workers, while FedEx is looking for an additional 70,000 people for the holiday season.
E-commerce is all about the final mile and getting products directly to the end customer. The focus on final mile is changing the face of trucking. As more and more companies are adding regional warehouses in order to get products closer to the end consumer and to facilitate next-day or same-day delivery, we are seeing an increase in regional haul.
In the past several years, the average length of haul has decreased; short hauls could mean a change in the type of equipment you need to operate efficiently. If drivers are out and back every day, it might make sense to consider adding day cabs to your fleet instead of sleeper cabs.
Now might be a good time to evaluate your current fleet to determine if you have the right mix of equipment to meet your customers’ evolving needs. Invite them for virtual coffee in order to discuss with them the changes they see in their operations over the next 12 to 24 months. Then use that information to evaluate the type of equipment you currently have to see if it meshes with that they need.
Having the wrong equipment could cost you money from inefficient hauls or business if you can’t meet customer requirements.
Jane Clark focuses on managing the member services operation at NationaLease as vice president of member services. She works to strength member relationships, reduce member costs, and improve collaboration within the NationaLease supporting groups.