How Fleets Can Cope with a ‘Delivery Economy’

Business Insights

Over the past year business has undergone a radical reversal in how it delivers products and services to its customers: increasingly, customers no longer go to businesses, businesses are traveling to their customers.

The hospitality industry is a great example of this. With restrictions in place on bars and restaurants, more than 1 in 6 Brits are now active users in the online food delivery market.

With a growing number of businesses expected to deliver a service to customer homes, how a business makes those deliveries is more important than ever. This is especially true when over 80% of customers who order a delivery care most about “being kept informed” and having “no extra delivery costs”.

It is, therefore, prudent for businesses to start thinking about how to optimise their fleets and their fleet costs.

That is easier said than done of course, particularly for small to medium-sized businesses who may not have the resources (like a full-time fleet manager) or experience to do so. Some businesses may not even realise that ‘fleet optimisation’ is a possibility.

That’s why Vimcar, a fleet tracking provider, has recently launched a free online tool kit, Fleet Assets, to help small businesses run their fleets at a lower cost.

As part of the online tool kit, Vimcar’s Fleet Assets have produced a guide on how businesses can cut fuel consumption within their fleets showing that the first steps in fleet optimisation can be straightforward.

As a first step, Fuel consumption is a good place to start. Fuel is often recorded as one of the highest fleet costs, second only to vehicle leasing/purchasing. In fact, on average, fuel usage adds up to 25% of all total fleet costs.

It is therefore essential for fleets, big or small, to do all they can to reduce this expenditure - especially if customers expect free delivery!

Businesses that now find themselves relying more and more on their fleet to deliver their goods or services should also consider how fleet tracking can help them cope.

Fleet tracking can help slash fuel costs further by helping cutting down on wasteful miles, whether that be by preventing vehicle misuse, always sending the closest driver to a customer appointment or identifying wasteful driver behaviour (like excess speeding).

Fleet tracking also has the added benefit of giving businesses a live overview of where all their drivers are. This is crucial for the majority of customers who value “being kept informed”. If you are delivering your service or product to customers, then tracking drivers means you can update customers with ETAs.

Mike Meyers, the Managing Director of Critical Facilities Solutions, uses Vimcar’s fleet tracking for this very reason:

“What’s great is having a helicopter view of our vehicles... providing customers with accurate ETAs and ascertaining when a driver has arrived and left a site.”

Mike also uses customisable notifications so that he is alerted whenever a driver has arrived at the business premises and is available for the next job.

Another Vimcar customer, Doherty Meats, relies on its fleet to make efficient food deliveries. With a strict emphasis on quality, Doherty’s Meats needs to deliver products (often with a short shelf life) to customers quickly, and several times a week. A high performing fleet is essential to their business.

Brain McQuaid of Doherty Meats claims that he uses fleet tracking to make sure fleet costs are kept low throughout any influxes in demand. He can use fleet tracking to look at his fleet’s route history and get rid of any fuel-wasting overlaps:

“I can now ascertain whether or not the same vehicles are servicing the same areas and tidy up their route if necessary. We cover the whole of Northern Ireland so looking at route history is really important for us.”