Many businesses will utilize second-hand services to deliver their products. For some, it’s much more cost effective to deliver the products themselves. Some of the factors you will need to consider are the type and size of the product you are delivering, State regulations, vehicle storage space, and the destinations you deliver to. For example, let’s say you’re a food supply business, hoping to provide excellent and beautiful ingredients to many restaurants in your area. For that, you will need to consider not only getting the products to their destination but being able to deliver the items in a secure, sanitized and temperature-controlled environments.
If you chose to deliver the products yourself, logistics will play a vital role in your plan. Decision making is essential here, to ensure the fundamental processing of your systems prevents tangling or confusion down the road. With that being said, here are a few things you want to keep in mind when mapping your business logistics plan.
Map Out Destinations
You may only have a somewhat small radius of deliveries you need to make. This means you can ascribe a square mile radius detailing just how and where you might need to travel, or what alternate routes might be taken in case vital roads are blocked off. Your customer may even need you to drop the items off at a local warehouse vice the store. Be sure to verify this with them.
When expanding, you might consider just how far you could realistically deliver, what the delivery shelf life of your product has, or what expected delays you could allow your customers to expect. This can help you calculate fuel costs each week, book effective timings correctly, and assess which roads may not be suitable for the size of the delivery vehicles you use. Make sure your drivers have the destination mapped out before their departure. If they have a long drive, include recommended places to stop and get some rest.
You’ll have a bad time making deliveries without vehicles but buying new vehicles can be a costly expense. When starting out, you may want to consider buying a used heavy good vehicle (HGV). You can find used HGV’s at an incredibly competitive price. If you conduct practice runs for your business or provide training, used vehicles are better and safer to use then new ones.
Once you have the vehicles, design them to represent your brand. For example, you can have your logo placed somewhere on the vehicle. Design the interior to fit the needs of the product. Depending on the product, you may need to add a refrigeration system or special storage racks. Ensure that all of your vehicles are properly registered and maintenance kept up to date. Implementing refrigeration systems, regular deep cleaning and sanitizing the environment should meet the health and safety codes you need to follow.
Hiring drivers, the right drivers, is essential to the success of your business. In fact, it’s the most important thing to keep in mind. You must rely on drivers to get your loads where they need to go and allow them to consult with you with maintenance issues or road delivery problems. They have to be able to carry or help the receiving business unload and store the items. Before officially hiring someone, make sure they understand all the conditions that go with the position. If they are responsible for unloading the truck they need to know. How heavy are the products they will be lifting? Are overnight runs ever expected? What type of record do they need to maintain? Explain a much as possible to avoid conflict in the future. When employees fully understand their responsibilities up front, they are more likely to stay.
You can offer only full-time or part-time positions, it all depends on the needs of your business. Most likely, a combination of both may work best. During seasonal and peak times, you can offer part-time employment to make sure customers continue to get their deliveries on time. One other key factor is the expected knowledge base.
You have to decide if what your potential employees should know about the product before they are hired if anything. You can have a training plan which teaches them the ins and outs before they start driving. Cost should not drive the decision. If an employee in the company is familiar with the product and can clearly talk about, they can actually cause sales to go up. They will share what they know with not just customers, but friends and family as well.
The Stone Store
The Stone Store located in Harmans, MD, is a great example of a company who has successfully set up its business logistics. They have been in business for over 21 years as service Residential/Retail Customers as well as Contractors/Commercial Customers in the MD, DC, VA, PA, DE and surrounding areas. Their dispatchers work closely with their drivers to ensure accurate timely deliveries. They take into considerations all factors such as travel time, delivery days, needs of the customer, etc. They have training sessions and meetings to that work to build a strong team. As you can see from the photo, their vehicles are branded with their colors and logos.
It may take you some time to reach the level of The Stone Store but they once were exactly where you are. They started out slowly but they weren’t afraid to try new things and they took the time to set things up properly. Once they had a system in place they did and still continue to work to improve it. Try implementing the strategies mentioned here and see the difference it makes in your business logistics. Here’s to YOUR success!
Carolyn R. Owens has over 25 years of proven experience and serves as a Career Strategist, Leadership and Life Coach. She is the Chairwoman and CEO of Infinity Coaching, Inc. where they help you up-level your skills so you can up-level your income. Infinity Coaching, Inc. provides one-on-one and group coaching, organizational training, personality assessments, and a signature program, the Infinity Coaching Inner Circle. Carolyn is certified to give both The Energy Leadership Index Assessment and Myers Briggs Type Indicator Assessment. You can find out more about both assessments and other products and services at http://www.infinitycoaching.net.