[This article was written by Lizzie Weakley.]
One of the most overlooked parts of a business is delivering the final product. It seems that lots of energy goes into design, manufacturing, and even packaging, but getting the product to distributors or final consumers ends up being an afterthought. If you’ve started thinking about doing your own delivery, keep these four factors in mind.
Plan Delivery Routes
Efficiency is key on delivery routes. Your fleet should have an organized series of stops that have been planned to minimize stop times, avoid traffic, and cut out as many time-killing left turns as possible. This will also determine how your loads are organized, so your packing, loading, and warehouse crews should know the correct sequence of deliveries as they fill trucks.
Package Products for Shipping
You’ll want to determine appropriate packaging sizes and capacities to help your delivery staff work quickly and efficiently. Boxes that are too wide to pick up or too heavy to handle will require the use of handtrucks, adding time to each stop. Optimize packaging for easy handling, as well as for stable loading inside trucks and at your delivery stops.
Get Staffed and Equipped
Once you have a plan for your delivery system, you’ll need the people and vehicles to make it happen. Find a reliable source for truck sales that can provide you with all your fleet needs, during both your startup and the ongoing operation of your delivery system. Hire properly-licensed drivers with good records, familiarity with your area, and maybe even with experience in handling your type of products.
If you’ve been shipping your products, you had a known dollar figure for each shipment. You must be able to continue that when you do your own delivery. The cost of fleet purchase, maintenance, service, and fuel must go into the calculations, along with the wages and benefits of the added staff. Accurately incorporating all those figures into your production budget will ensure that the benefits of doing delivery won’t be overwhelmed by the costs.
The mere fact that your company has become large enough to justify doing its own delivery is a sure sign of success. At this point, that growth can become a bonus or a burden. With a well-managed delivery system, you’ll be able to increase your market share, lower your costs, and regain control of shipment schedules, and that means your truck operators won’t be the only ones in the driver’s seat.
Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her three-year-old husky, Snowball.