Auto parts deliveries: Important trends you need to understand
“Auto parts companies need to understand the difference between hype and reality when it comes to transport and logistics trends” - Walter Scremin, Ontime Delivery Solutions CEO.
This is what Walter Scremin, who heads up national delivery transport firm Ontime Delivery Solutions, says. On hype, he says it may be too early to start considering autonomous vehicles or drone deliveries, but states there are other paths to greater efficiency.
“Trends which are relevant to auto parts companies mainly involve smarter use of technology. But there are some perennial delivery transport issues which auto parts companies also need to consider, such as understanding how much their delivery transport is really costing them and how they can become more efficient,” Walter said.
Digitisation is becoming more influential, covering everything from common telematics technology which tracks delivery drivers and deliveries, or sophisticated global systems incorporating the Internet of Things (IoT). A major trend is toward more measurement and analysis in a bid to improve performance.
“It’s always been important to measure performance regularly, but the volume of data available has increased. This can potentially overwhelm, so it’s best to focus on a few items which most impact your fleet,” Walter said before stating that measurement extends beyond data and includes other issues like fleet responsiveness.
“Delivery fleets are often hampered by deeper structural issues, which have little to do with data or technology. For example, fleets have problems if they are inflexible, unable to respond at short notice, if they struggle to replace absentees, or if they resort to using couriers as a stop-gap,” Walter said.
“Getting the balance right with how you use and engage your fleet resources is the most important step. This allows you to maintain efficiency through tracking and monitoring.” Further, Walter says as technology races ahead, there is a risk in over-spending and overcommitting to something with only a marginal pay-off.
“At Ontime Delivery Solutions we have worked with several parts companies on their fleet tracking, which has had a relatively modest cost but a positive impact on performance. For your investment in digitisation to really work, you need good systems and processes in place already. And you need a commitment to put in the daily effort required to get the most from the technology,” Walter said.
Tracking technology allows auto parts companies to plan delivery routes, prevent drivers from doubling-up, and achieve more deliveries with the same resources. The same technology can use geo-fencing to alert when drivers go ‘off-route’ or have an unexpected or prolonged stop.
Another key trend, which ties in with digitisation, is more frequent communication with customers. Walter says this reflects growing expectations among customers generally. Walter notes businesses have to be prepared that sometimes the return on investment is not immediately apparent.
“Technology’s many benefits are often found beyond the bottom line: customer service may not immediately show up as a ROI yet may foster greater customer loyalty,” Walter said.
“Technology should improve delivery times but also lead to increased professionalism, and more accuracy in delivering items in full, undamaged and on time. Tracking technology may also protect your business from accusations of misplaced parcels. These may all take time to track as measurable ROI.”
Written by Walter Scremin, Ontime Delivery Solutions CEO.