E-commerce has spoiled U.S. consumers. With next day drop-off, expedited delivery and free two-day shipping, retailer promises are endless. American buying habits have quickly followed suit. As many as two-thirds, or 66 percent, of online consumers are choosing retailers based on the number and type of delivery options they offer.1
Now, our truckers must deliver.
This new industry standard has moved heavy haul trucking from a hub and bulk distribution model to goods delivery direct from warehouse to home, a shift that poses a host of new challenges – as well as opportunities - for heavy haul trucking.
Recognizing what’s now risky business
Heavy haul trucking businesses operating in today’s competitive logistics market will find greater risk exposure in several areas:
As delivery times become more critical, pressure on drivers will increase. To meet consumer promises, some retailers are serving up penalties for truckers who can’t meet tight delivery schedules. These can include a day or two wait to be unloaded, or late fees. This extra pressure could lead to an increase in crashes and traffic violations.
Supply chain risk will increase as retailers make more demands. Businesses that can’t meet the expectations of other vendors or retailers could be denied continued business. Companies will be under more pressure to exhibit best practices and specific business partnership requirements.
Smaller, heavy fleets will be hard pressed to survive. As heavy haul trucking companies look to diversify their businesses to meet new market demands, additional expenses and regulations, like the new federal electronic log reporting requirement, will threaten to reduce revenue and business stability, making survival more difficult for smaller fleets.
Rise to meet the market demand
When market demand changes, companies that can adapt will succeed. You can rise to meet the market demand with these best practices:
- Provide additional services. One way to differentiate yourself in the marketplace is to look for opportunities to provide additional services to your clients. This could mean diversifying your fleet by adding a last mile service with smaller vehicles. The key challenge here will be the additional risk exposure that comes with hiring a small, local fleet, including interaction with the public, bringing products directly into homes and businesses.
- Be a high service provider. Pick up on time, deliver on time, without cargo claims or damage to product en route. Train your drivers to communicate on a high level and coordinate with vendors. Differentiate yourself when it comes to your level of quality and professionalism.
- Shine a positive light on your business. Become a member, supporter or get involved in programs like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay Transportation Partnership that publically showcases your organization as environmentally responsible to clients, potential clients and vendors and the public.
- Hire well. Having experienced, engaging employees who support your business’ vision and goals will further the quest to differentiate your business and will allow you to develop a reputation for quality service.
 Accenture’s Differentiating Delivery: How to Win the eCommerce Battle study, as represented in; http://fleetowner.com/blog/e-commerce-free-shipping-and-trucking