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How trucking companies should prepare for the holiday season

12.3.2020 - 1:59 PM Comments: 0

They don’t call it the most wonderful time of the year for nothing! The holiday season is here meaning that shipping volumes are looking up throughout the industry.

2020 is set to be extremely different from years past, considering the way COVID-19 has impacted the U.S. economy. 

Because of this, companies will need to properly prepare in order to meet the 2020 holiday season demands.

Be ready for increased demand

One major factor in play this holiday season has been the potential for a substantial increase in demand. 

According to Ware2Go CEO Steve Denton, who was interviewed by Transport Topics, his company is expecting “shipping volumes to hit a new peak.” 

Additionally, Ware2Go also conducted a survey where they found 74% of merchants expect a demand spike during the holiday season and 56% believed the spike will be bigger than last year’s. 

With demand increasing sharply during the holiday season, carriers must be properly prepared to meet that demand. However, there is a second wrinkle this holiday season that may be difficult to navigate for some. 

Unlike years prior, in-store shopping this holiday season will heavily decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, people will be doing the bulk of their shopping, if not all of it, online.

The ongoing pandemic has already significantly changed buying behaviors, according to CCJ, as online sales reportedly increased by 55% in July 2020 compared to July 2019. 

That massive jump in the summertime should be seen as a precursor to what is to come this holiday season. However, with more online orders to be fulfilled comes more pressure for the trucking industry.

The fact of the matter is, online orders in 2020 are expected to ship quickly. Places like Amazon and Walmart are already well-known for offering two-day shipping.

With this immediate demand hovering over carriers, they’ll need to have their drivers and dispatchers ready to mobilize, perhaps more efficiently than any other year prior.

This may prove to be a tall task, however, as the industry took a hit to its workforce when the pandemic nearly shut down the economy as a whole. 

While increased demand is obviously a much-needed plus for the trucking industry this season, it will be interesting to see how companies navigate this peak holiday season, especially after dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nevertheless, an increase in demand is not the only thing to keep in mind, as safety will also play a key role in having a successful holiday season this year.

Prioritizing safety

Protecting your cargo is important 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. However, it becomes even more crucial in the holiday season, when trucking companies are historically busier. 

According to the SensiGuard Supply Chain Intelligence Center, in the winter holidays between 2014 and 2018, there was a 20% increase in cargo theft compared to the rest of the year.

Cargo theft can be extremely costly, with the average cost of assets lost being just over $270,000. However, it can even hit the millions depending on what you’re hauling.

So, what can be done to mitigate cargo theft effectively?

Well, securing your fleet with modern technology can go a long way for trucking companies of all sizes.

One way to secure your fleet is by using cameras, specifically some with AI capabilities. Not only can they serve as a preventative measure (thieves are less likely to steal if they’re on camera), but they can also play a crucial role in identifying and catching thieves.

With AI capabilities, dispatchers and other decision-makers can also receive notifications when a driver is not practicing safety on the road. 

Additionally, tail light trackers or just regular trackers can be exceptional at protecting your assets. Tail light trackers can ultimately prove to be more effective, however, as they can be hidden in plain sight.

It’s important to remember that thieves don’t always steal individual cargo, they’ve often also taken trailers altogether. By installing tail light trackers, you’ll have a much better chance of finding your assets in no time.

Getting access to this kind of technology isn’t difficult either. UTECH’s GPSTab, a safety and compliance solution for the trucking industry, has a plethora of safety technology that can help secure your fleet.

Among its wide variety of products, GPSTab offers AI-enhanced cameras and tail light trackers. If you'd like to learn more, visit gpstab.com.

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