Descartes
CV Show
Allports
BoxHaul
Pallet-Track
Mandata
GoWash

December parcel peak: how to deal with increased demand

December parcel peak: how to deal with increased demand

The flow of packages has taken on record volumes in recent years. This means that the peaks overlap, which leads to an unprecedentedly hectic delivery schedule. Parcel delivery operatives are under constant pressure to meet delivery expectations. Unless they plan smartly. If the routes for the parcel deliverers are efficiently planned, this results in a lower workload.

With the annual December parcel peak showing no signs of easing, according to finder.com, in Britain, there was an estimated spend of £3 billion on purchases from Black Friday and Cyber Monday alone. The impact this has on shipping companies is an immense volume of orders to handle in a short period. So how will companies manage to deliver all packages on time?

More time for bottlenecks

One thing is certain: no planner can manage to schedule 80% extra shipments within the same time frame without smart tools. They can bring in additional resources or subcontract. However, with a route planning system, they can quickly assess the resources required and make smart decisions on how to manage the additional workload they have been given.

For a route planning system, such an unusually substantial number of shipments means hardly any extra work. Within seconds, such an IT system distributes all shipments as efficiently as possible among the available vehicles. No restrictions are overlooked, including time windows to environmental zones.

The planning system will provide the planner with a starting point for the periods’ activities. They see which journeys are getting delayed and can reschedule shipments to avoid late deliveries. It is also possible to have the system calculate with one click what the outcome is if an extra vehicle is used. In short: with a route planning system, the planner has more time to solve the bottlenecks. The last-mile delivery specialists will have plenty of bottlenecks in December and other high-volume periods.

More packages per vehicle

However, a route planning system is more than a tool for solving bottlenecks. The algorithms improve the planning capability, with the road network built into the time and distance engine, the planner has fast and accurate delivery calculations. First, the system considers the maximum permitted weight of the vehicle and the loading capacity in all the vehicles available. Only when the dimensions of the packages are known, the last centimetre in the cargo area is used. That means more parcels per vehicle and therefore a greater chance that the promised delivery time to the consumer will be realised. Because nobody wants to receive their parcels late.

A route planning system also offers the possibility to use shorter time windows. As the technology around delivery continues to improve, this data can also be used to improve the customer experience. Once the system has a plan, it will also provide an estimated time of arrival for each parcel and this information can then be passed on to the customer. When the vehicle is out, it will send live updates for the progress of the schedule. This decreasing window can be communicated to both the office and the customer for improved delivery, especially during the December parcel peak period.

To predict

Unfortunately, some parcel delivery and transport companies are still resistant to the use of route planning systems for tactical and strategic planning. Several online stores start predicting the number of parcels per day months in advance. The online warehouse uses this prediction to prepare the employees in the distribution centres for the peak, to hire the right number of temporary workers and – if possible – to smooth out the peak in the workload.

Carriers can use such a prediction to calculate different scenarios with the route planning system. How many vehicles and drivers are needed during the peak period? What are the consequences if the number of shipments is 5% to 10% higher than predicted? Does it make sense to hire additional drivers, who are currently difficult to find, or to open an extra hub? By starting to plan in time, last-mile carriers can guarantee the timeliness of their deliveries even in peak seasons. It is precisely because of this that the logistics sector can realise a successful experience for everyone during its busiest and most demanding periods.

BoxHaul
Pallet-Track
Mandata
GoWash