Business conditions improve, transportation companies could see more orders

Some transportation companies may have seen a lull in the number of pickups and deliveries when the economy was slow, but new research shows firms may once again have to focus on getting drivers to take the most direct route and optimize their schedules as small businesses are increasingly confident in the state of the U.S. economy.

The National Small Business Association's 2013 Mid-Year Economic Report showed American entrepreneurs are more optimistic about the future. This means they could steadily increase the number of orders they place to ensure they have enough products on their shelves and are able to meet consumer demand, especially if unemployment numbers continue to drop and shoppers keep spending.

Future growth could lead to more orders
According to the research, 40 percent of small-business owners think the economy is in better shape now than it was five years ago. This is the highest the number has been in five years. Similarly, the number of people who claim the financial environment today is worse than it was five years ago is at a low - only 45 percent of respondents had this opinion.

Even though 40 percent think conditions have improved, many more (59 percent) are expecting growth in the coming year or already expanding. Thirty-seven percent saw sales increases over the last 12 months, while 47 percent think they will jump in the next year. To accommodate the shoppers making these expectations a reality, merchants will need to be well-stocked, which will likely require them to place more orders, build up inventories and ensure they have enough product on-hand to meet consumer demands.

Meeting client demands
As small businesses place more orders for product, the transportation companies responsible for delivering these goods may see a significant increase in the number of stops they make on runs. This spike could lead drivers to cover more miles in a day, making it critical for them to be as fuel efficient as possible.

While asking drivers to implement fuel conservation techniques behind the wheel can help limit the additional costs associated with making extra stops, employing route optimization software can also limit these expenses. By allowing managers to spend less time planning routes and drivers to spend fewer hours on the road, fuel expenditures can be reduced, making it easier for a company to profit as it ups the number of deliveries and pickups requested by clients.