With the predicted online retail boom in full swing and the High Street experiencing a boom in demand following the second national lockdown, 3PLs need to have practical, Covid-secure transport strategies in place if they want to impress customers and reap the rewards of the economic recovery. Here are three steps that 3PLs can take to optimise their transport strategy to reduce delivery times and maximise throughput.
1) Talk To Your Clients About Flexibility
While the UK government has announced its strategy for handling the virus until Spring 2021, none of us can predict what will happen in the months that follow. There may be an early return to normality, or restrictions may continue throughout the year – in which case the large uptake in e-commerce could become a long term trend. Equally possible is a short term kickback against online retail after the end of restrictions, as consumers rediscover their love for the High Street shopping experience. Therefore, it's worth talking to your clients about the flexibility that you can offer them, such as increased delivery capacity or more lenient contract terms, and what you need from them in return to provide a great service.
2) Ensure You Have Robust Plans And Alternative Options In Place
You should already be utilising your vehicles to their fullest extent, planning your routes effectively, and using your drivers in the most efficient way. You may even be using the latest driver tracking systems, route planning software, and modelling programs to help you to maximise your results. However, this year, you'll also need to be ready to adapt to Covid-related situations as soon as they arise. For example, the reprieve on household mixing restrictions over Christmas 2020 is likely to result in the roads being exceptionally busy. Real-time route optimisation software and traffic planning will help ensure your goods arrive on time.
3) Make Sure Your Operations Are Covid-Secure
Finally, when planning your operations, make sure that they comply with the current regulations and best practices concerning the coronavirus, so you can keep your employees and customers safe. These regulations can change at the drop of a hat, so planning inbuilt flexibility into your transport strategy will ease change management and make your business more resilient.
This may mean making more use of robots in your warehouse, so you can function with fewer staff, or enabling your employees to have regular temperature checks. You may also need to hire more drivers so that you can keep to schedule if some are forced to isolate.
For more advice about adjusting your transport strategy to cope with the pandemic, get in touch with LPC. We will work with you to ensure that your business is working at optimal efficiency throughout the crisis and beyond.
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