E-Commerce and your fleet?

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It will come as no surprise to you that the buying, selling, and trading of goods online has reached new heights in popularity and is still climbing. Many well-known companies, like Amazon, don’t even have physical stores to shop in, and those companies that did start with brick and mortar have quickly embraced the e-commerce trend as more and more people – and companies – make the switch to online shopping.

What may surprise you is how much this affects you as a member of the heavy trucking industry. Read on to learn why it’s important for you to understand what e-commerce is all about, and what it means for your fleet.

What does e-commerce have to do with heavy trucking?

A higher demand for goods, with the ability to rush-order them available to nearly every consumer, means more and more trucks are dealing with changes to what had been previously been considered the norm for fleets. For instance, a higher number of fleets have reported an increase in intra-regional trips, while their long-haul average has declined, as of early 2019.

More fleets are also reporting that they are working harder than ever to comply with deadlines. Major retailers, like Wal-Mart, have allowed customers to select narrower and narrower windows for delivery. At the same time, they have started imposing fines or other consequences on those drivers and companies who are responsible for delivering the items to a distribution center and who are unable to meet the projected delivery time. This means that truckers are feeling the pressure to meet the supply and demand of the goods they are delivering, while also working to maintain high safety and maintenance standards.

Even seemingly small considerations, like parking availability for large trucks in urban areas, have become an issue as everyone on all sides of the e-commerce industry works to adjust to a trend that does not seem to be going away anytime soon.

But it’s not all bad news. Drivers have reported increased flexibility and better hours as they make more trips over shorter distances. This, in turn, has been a boon for driver recruitment and retention, which is a constant source of struggle for the heavy trucking industry as a whole. The increased demand for more immediate delivery has brought about the creation of distribution centers in major cities, which gives drivers access to better roads and safer routes as they work from the center as opposed to driving cross-country. Some trucking companies have added extra income by offering additional services – for instance, if a company is delivering furniture, they may offer to assemble the furniture for an additional fee.

There is even hope for issues like urban parking – seeing how many trucks are needed to meet the consumer demand for e-commerce has prompted many cities to make plans for better, safer parking for large trucks who are delivering items purchased online.

E-commerce may not be at the center of your fleet’s concerns, but that doesn’t mean your company isn’t affected. Stay on top of this trend to keep your fleet ahead of the curve and ready to deal with these increasing digital developments.

More on Dickinson Fleet Services

Headquartered in Indianapolis, Dickinson Fleet Services (DFS) has grown to become one of the largest independent fleet maintenance and management companies in the country. DFS is the leading provider of on-site mobile maintenance and repair services nationwide, offering mobile on-site maintenance and repair services for light, medium and heavy-duty trucks and trailers with over 450 mobile units operating nationwide. DFS services fleet customers with 21 maintenance facilities each offering select services from accident repair, paint, refurbishment and dedicated technician services, combined with an in-house CARES CALL center providing 24/7 repair assistance. DFS has made significant investments in training and technology, including WebWrench® (maintenance tracking and scheduling through proprietary technology) and TRAIT® (real-time reporting and dynamic preventative maintenance inspections processed through a proprietary field service application) and is the only fleet services company in the nation to provide both fleet maintenance and management to its customers nationwide. www.dickinsonfleet.com