Preparing for the 2020 Holiday Season: Tips for FedEx Contractors
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. Case in point? A global pandemic that introduced the world to social distancing and turned the shipping and delivery industry on its head.
Typically, the busiest season for FedEx deliveries is from late October through early January, but you probably noticed a surge in package volume beginning as early as March of this year. Thanks to widespread safe distancing mandates and many brick-and-mortar stores closing their doors (either temporarily or permanently), the delivery industry experienced what some described as a “holiday-like surge” during months that are typically not as busy.
Now, with the actual holiday season approaching, FedEx route owners can look forward to more of the same. In fact, there are rumors that Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, may not even happen in stores this year, since many retailers will be shifting their focus to online sales instead—and you know what that means.
What can FedEx route owners do to prepare?
To get ready for higher volume during the holidays, distribution centers will typically add more shifts and extend their existing shifts. That means your FedEx route business needs to be up to the challenge. Follow these simple tips to keep your drivers safe and your business thriving during the 2020 holiday season.
- Start planning now. Sit down with your driver team to talk about what they can expect and discuss any possible roadblocks they may encounter, including increased traffic, weather delays, scheduling conflicts, and vehicle repair or maintenance issues. Think back to past peak seasons and focus on what worked well (and what didn’t) so that you and your drivers can implement a successful course of action to deal with the increased number of deliveries.
- Add more drivers and vehicles. During a typical peak season, delivery volume can increase by as much as 50 percent, but it’s safe to say that 2020 has been anything but typical. If you haven’t already, consider bringing on additional seasonal drivers now to ensure they are properly trained and ready to hit the road before we enter the busiest weeks of the year. And remember: With extra drivers comes the need for more vehicles. Instead of purchasing new vehicles, you can shop around for good deals on rental vehicles to supplement your existing fleet during the holidays.
- Make sure your drivers have what they need to stay safe. With COVID-19 cases on the rise once more, making sure your delivery drivers are properly educated and equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE) is paramount to safeguarding their well-being. FedEx contractors should also make sure all vehicles are working optimally and are up to date on all of their scheduled maintenance. During the winter months, because it gets darker earlier, it’s also important to outfit your drivers with flashlights and reflective gear to help them perform efficiently when visibility is limited.
- Step up your communication. Communication between FedEx contractors and their delivery drivers (and fleet managers, if applicable) is always important, but it’s even more important during high-volume delivery times. Stay in constant contact with your team to keep them informed of any changes and to quickly identify and address any issues that may arise.
Preparation is the key to an efficient and profitable 2020 holiday season.
It goes without saying that retailers across the country will be counting on the upcoming holidays to make up for the lower-than-average sales they likely experienced during the spring and summer months. And with COVID-19 precautions still present, you can bet they’ll be beefing up their cyber sales and promotions. For FedEx contractors, that means taking important steps to prepare for increased delivery volume and safeguard your workers and your bottom line.
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