Christmas is coming…
As the Festive season gets into full swing, Michael Watson, Head of Logistics, from Drivers Direct, looks into the struggles the industry faces in managing the daily deliveries in the run up to Christmas.
This time of year is a notoriously busy period for the motor transport industry, with retailers expected to send out 20 percent more parcels than this time last year.
As ‘Black Friday’ takes over the UK with more than 700,000 deliveries expected to be shipped over the weekend, combined with the usual surge in Christmas shopping sales, suppliers and their distributors are being put under pressure to meet tighter deadlines, keep shelves stocked and fulfil orders.
Although a further 19,000 Royal Mail drivers employed during the busy period, Christmas deadlines are often just ‘managed’ rather than exceeded and drivers are often required to work longer hours. Schedules are put under extreme pressure from more demanding customers and innovations from retail giants such as promises to deliver before 9am, 12pm and next day.
Industry insiders reckon that there are now around 40,000 delivery drivers at the forefront of a battle between retailers competing to offer the fastest or cheapest deliveries.
Once you throw in a dash snow and a sprinkle of ice to the recipe, the £4.5bn UK delivery industry can be thrown into chaos as drivers are unable to get to work, vehicles are unable to return to base on time and drivers can be left waiting for vehicles and loads.
These factors along with ensuring compliance with the legislation that governs the hours drivers are allowed to be on the road, make it crucial for companies to remain organised and efficient during these challenging times.
The Road Haulage Association, which represents the delivery industry, says the sector needs 60,000 more drivers to cope. As a result however, the last three months of the year, the demand for drivers is greater than ever as companies run close to or even beyonde capacity. So to stay ahead of increasing requests from clients, Drivers Direct starts planning the peak season from the beginning of July with a strong drive in the field of recruitment and training.
We book our drivers out for contract work, which means we can start gauging their availability in the summer and begin to plan a strategy. We also review last year’s peak trading period, this helps us predict the requirements for this year, and more importantly we work very closely with our clients to ensure we meet their demands and expectations and train all staff so they’re confident within the job.
With the right support and preparation, Christmas can be a busy but rewarding time of year that can be enjoyed equally by clients, customers and even delivery drivers.