As demand for delivery services grows, lots of businesses need to find ways to keep pace with the pressures of meeting customer expectations.
Thankfully there are plenty of strategies and solutions you can put into practice to scale up and achieve success in what is an undeniably competitive market.
To that end, here are some potential tactics to try out that will let you take your delivery operations to the next level without overstretching your resources.
Deploy the best software solutions to improve efficiency
Optimizations can be tough to achieve if you are having to do everything from route planning to customer communications manually. The good news is that there are all sorts of game-changing software platforms built to ramp up the efficiency and consistency of delivery services.
Whether you are wondering how to deliver packages with your car as a self-employed courier, or whether you run a whole fleet of trucks, software services can streamline your day-to-day operations in all sorts of ways.
The aforementioned route planning potential of delivery apps will let you set realistic schedules that customers will appreciate, while also being able to account for the impact of unexpected disruption, be that congestion on the roads or any other kind of courier conundrum.
Such services will not only make your operations more scalable, encompassing additional scheduled drop-off points without taking more time to hit deadlines, but also more affordable. Better planned routes means less money wasted on fuel, and these optimizations will allow you to re-invest in further growth and expansion.
You might be very protective of your delivery operations, in which case you could feel cautious about working with anyone else because of the fear that this will make your brand vulnerable to elements outside of your control.
However, this state of mind can be restrictive, since it is only through taking risks and leveraging external resources that you do not currently have available to you in-house that real scalability can be achieved.
For example, during seasonal peaks in demand, you could choose to outsource a proportion of your delivery duties to third parties. This could be a major national brand, or it could be a local provider.
The point is that by swallowing your pride and recognizing the business benefits of outsourcing, your delivery operations can flourish, rather than being held back without good reason.
Keep customers in the loop
Word of mouth recommendations remain a powerful tool for any business, and if you have delivery operations as part of your offerings, then you need to make sure customer satisfaction is right up there with the best of them.
This is where frequent and consistent communication comes into play. We already touched on how taxing this can be to do manually, but it is worth reiterating that letting people know where their goods are can now be automated affordably, and moreover should be done by organizations that want to grow.
Live tracking through a combination of GPS and delivery management software is an option, although you can opt for simpler solutions, such as SMS alerts sent out at key points in the journey.
Whatever the angle adopted, realizing that customer expectations are higher than ever and upping your game to meet them will bring untold branding benefits, and help you sidestep some of the more commonplace stumbling blocks in this area.
Consider accelerating the delivery cycle
If you put together the right infrastructure to support it, you could look into catalyzing your entire delivery operations and getting orders to customers in less time than you do at the moment. This type of scaling will not necessarily increase volumes overnight, but might make you more competitive, especially when stacked up against much larger rivals.
Same-day delivery is a good example of this, although it only really applies to businesses that are based in large urban areas where transport links are reliable and distribution resources are adequate to ensure orders can be fulfilled in the desired timeframe.
This is where trialing big changes before you roll them out to all customers is a life-saver. You can determine how well your accelerated delivery cycle works out based on a small number of orders, and then decide how to proceed according to the results of the test scheme.
Monitor performance to highlight issues
Even if you feel like your delivery operations are running like a well oiled machine, there is always room for improvement and you just need to be willing to look for weak links.
This is made much easier thanks to all of the software that is made for wrangling delivery services, with modern platforms offering impressive analytical abilities. As such you can see how different team members are performing, providing an indication of who is excelling and who is not pulling their weight.
This also eliminates the need for using guesswork when deciding which members of staff might be in need of additional support and training to fulfil their potential. Performance monitoring is not all about weeding out problem employees and sending them on their way, but should instead be seen as a means of managing teams with care and compassion, while still focusing on the need for productivity improvements.
Most importantly, you need to get away from the temptation of thinking that your delivery operations will scale naturally as your order book fills up and demand increases.
Instead you have to be proactive about stimulating growth, satisfying customers and taking your business to the next level. There are the tools out there to help you achieve this; you just need to reach out and grab them.