How do fleet owners maintain flexibility during the year-end rush?

With the help of advanced transportation management software, owners of small and medium-sized fleet operations can easily adapt to changes resulting from many external factors. No matter how many employees a company has on hand, the busy holiday season can quickly turn into a source of stress for managers, drivers and the organizations that receive shipments of various products. For instance, fuel prices are often prone to late-season fluctuations. Limiting effects of new federal regulations also have the tendency to become particularly heightened during the holidays when fleets are running at full capacity. Reliable logistics software tools can ultimately ensure businesses maintain maximum flexibility, regardless of the obstacles that come in their way.

Diesel prices jump in anticipation of holiday travel
Making the most of all available resources in a transportation operation is a must for small and medium-sized businesses. According to the online publication Trucking Info, the average price of diesel fuel made one of its biggest increases in recent months during the week leading up to Thanksgiving. The website cited the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that said the price of diesel fuel rose 2.2 cents to a total of $3.84 per gallon in the past week. The cost increases were mostly uniform nationwide. However, the Midwest region experienced the largest jump with 3.5 cents.

How can fleet managers ensure the effects of these price increases have a limited impact on operations during the holiday season and beyond? In addition to creating greater overhead costs, the industry magazine Fleet Owner said the weeks surrounding Thanksgiving will likely involve 43.4 million travelers on major U.S. highways. The prospect of being stuck in traffic poses significant problems for ground transportation organizations.

Delivery routing software may be one of the most reliable solutions to these challenges. With these tools, managers can easily identify the fastest and most efficient routes for shipping goods. As a result, businesses can save money on fuel and ultimately satisfy their customers by meeting scheduled deadlines.

Maintaining full flexibility
Small and medium-sized fleet operators may experience a variety of other obstacles during the holidays. A separate article from Fleet Owner said changes to the federal "hours of service" regulations from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), which limit the number of consecutive hours truck drivers can work, may put a strain on flexibility this season. The American Trucking Association (ATA) said the sudden increase the number of motorists on U.S. highways may also enhance the risk of accidents and collisions - especially if adverse weather conditions are thrown into the mix. The organization recommended fleet managers take the time to plan ahead, perform regular vehicle maintenance and avoid making shipments during severe storms.

The end of the year has the potential to run much more smoothly with the help of automated trucking software. Daily operations are filled with external challenges. However, managers can maintain maximum flexibility by leveraging technology to their advantage.