There are 3 possible outcomes your business can experience each peak season. You can struggle and just get by, you can succeed and set your business up for more profit and growth in the future, or, you can fail.
We're going to assume that you want to succeed. If so, here are the most important tips you can use to make sure that this happens....
These tips are always important, but they can make or break you when the package avalanche comes.
1) The Most Important Thing Is To Provide Your LEADERSHIP
Without question, your drivers and employees will be looking at you to figure out how they should be handling the challenges presented by the upcoming busy season.
They will adopt your attitude toward everything. If you appear to be collapsing to package pressure or any other difficulty, you have just made it okay for them to do the same thing.
You must communicate...everything! Communication is vital to getting your goals and vision across. Tell everyone how you see things going, how you expect things will be after peak is over. Reassure your folks that they can handle the increased challenges.
Don't rely on managers if you have them. YOU must communicate what you want to happen.
2) Develop A Mind-Set For Success
Do you want to win? How bad? Do you know what winning looks like?
The constant bombardment of problems makes it really easy to throw in the towel, give up and go over to the dark-side.
Don't do this.
When faced with the multitude of problems, think about what your goals are, where you want to go. Think about what it will look like at the end of the busy season when you have successfully conquered the challenges.
Think about winning and why you got into this business to begin with. Think about the things that are important to you, not the problems.
It's easier said than done, but you must train yourself to do this.
3) Recruit, Recruit, Recruit
The root of almost all of your troubles can be traced back to how well you handle driver recruiting.
You simply cannot afford to neglect this task. Either it will bite you during peak or sometime
thereafter, but the turnover dog will bite if you let it.
What happens when someone unexpectedly leaves or you have to show them the door? Do you have a replacement ready to go, or will you drop a nuclear bomb on yourself? The recruiting ball needs to be moved down the field everyday... no excuses.
Worse, do you keep someone in place that is hurting your operation vs. helping it because you haven't recruited well? This causes you to make damaging decisions for your business and kills employee moral.
You need to do something in this area everyday, or you can use the driver recruiting app in eTruckBiz For FXG system.
4) Waste Not
Large increases in business volume create a sense of urgency and the perception that you can afford to "do whatever it takes" to get the job done. But this does not necessarily mean that you now have unlimited funds to throw at problems.
While it is true that you need to get the job done, how you handle the extra volume is the difference between making a few bucks during this time of year or having it cost you more than it is worth.
Here is where good planning, recruiting and leadership pay off. This is what it's all about.
Don't just throw extra rental vans and untrained drivers at a pile of packages because you "can". If you have to do this, then most likely you are losing the peak game. This is an "easy button" response to this problem that raises your overall cost per stop, not only for the "extra" stops, but your whole operation.
Look for ways to increase current driver productivity, like the addition of a helper on some routes. Next, and you need to do your homework on this first, look at putting a pick up route in place in order to increase the delivery productivity of your current drivers.
Really, getting better with what you already have is what "waste not" is all about. In order to solve package pressure problems, look first to increasing current productivity levels. Then, and only then, do you look at supplementals and rentals. These two solutions cost you more per stop and package than do your current drivers and trucks.
It's good to have increased volume, but being smart about handling the increased volume will pay you dividends later.
5) After The Crunch Is Over
Once things have settled down, your job is not done. You need to take this opportunity to perform a very important task.
This is where you need to seize the opportunity to set your business up for even more success.
Take the time to reward and recognize your employees. We're not talking about just a few extra bucks here. Money is nice but what will last longer and go farther is PRAISE.
Point out great individual efforts to the person who did them and to your employee group as a whole. Then, you can also provide some monetary rewards with the praise.
Don't squander this opportunity.
Bonus: Webinar Replay
If you wanted to attend the webinar, How To Survive And Thrive During Peak, but missed it, here it is:
eTruckBiz For FXG is packed with tools to help you during this time of year.
Check them out here: