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Preparing for Holiday Delivery Season During a Pandemic

By Brian Jungeberg, Vice President, Transportation


Preparing for Holiday Delivery Season During a Pandemic

Businesses have always prepared for the holiday shopping season, a.k.a. peak season, well in advance of its November/December time frame. However, the ongoing global pandemic restricting access to malls and retail stores has complicated matters and further accelerated the shift of consumer shopping behavior to solely online.

In 2019, U.S. holiday e-commerce sales grew by 13.2% to $137.6 billion – a number that has been steadily growing year over year. This year, the supply chain has been in the equivalent of peak season for the past six months straight, and it shows. Manufacturers are struggling to keep up, and delivery drivers and warehouse workers are overworked. There’s a shortage of drivers, shipping delays are getting longer, and UPS and others are already discussing surcharges – and its only August.

How can the delivery industry prepare for the chaos while already trying to stay afloat?

Outsource a Risk Management Team

Historically, peak season is the worst time of year for claims and losses. Incidents soar as delivery drivers rush to complete busy routes amid winter’s notoriously bad weather and driving conditions. While the industry will need to hire more bodies to fill the void, working with a risk management partner to do due diligence and check each applicant’s background ensures hiring remains profitable. Any inkling of a bad driving history, even just a few fender benders, is a red flag. Don’t hire a bad driver just to keep up with the demand — it will cost you more in the long run.

A risk management team will guide better decision making, from hiring to training.

Once a driver is hired, it’s important to not only train them before their first route but consistently thereafter. Even during the pressure of a pandemic and peak season, drivers must complete relevant trainings regularly. Messaging comes from the top-down, so it’s important to instill a culture of safety and for leaders to practice what they preach.

Use Telematics Data

Whether it’s a device inside the vehicle or an app on the driver’s phone, it’s important not only to log fleet telematics data but to then analyze and use the data to be more productive and encourage better driver habits. This information includes speed, idling time, harsh acceleration or braking and more. For example, if a driver was speeding one week but not the one previous, ask the driver what changed and encourage them to slow it down. If a driver is completing what should be a six-hour route in only four hours, find out how that’s possible and encourage them to strike a balance of getting the work done but doing so safely.

While it’s hard to prepare for the next battle while still fighting this one, starting preparations and discussions now can alleviate headaches in the future. If you need a risk management team to help, make sure to get in touch – our team is here.

Want to learn more?

Find me on LinkedIn, here.

Connect with the Risk Strategies Transportation team at transportation@risk‐strategies.com.

Email me directly at bjungeberg@risk‐strategies.com.