As anyone involved in courier work knows, it’s crucial to keep vehicles up to date. While it might be tempting to wait until the last possible moment to replace your fleet to ensure you get most use out of it, this can be risky.
Firstly, a longer wait increases the chance that a vehicle will fail and need replacing ahead of schedule, potentially costing you more and causing you to miss jobs due to being one van down. Secondly, your fleet could fall behind in terms of environmental and other regulations, costing you more in charges. Finally, older vehicles are less safe, and keeping them for too long can put your drivers at risk and potentially increase insurance and other costs.
If you’re a manager, it’s crucial that you have a replacement strategy in place and that you can communicate this to all levels of your company. Read on for some top tips on how to approach vehicle replacement.
While developing a strategy should obviously come before any attempts to communicate it to others, it’s worth beginning with some idea of who needs to know what and how to tell them. Accordingly, you should keep the following tips in mind when thinking about replacing a fleet used courier work.
Have a Solid Pitch
Prepare a condensed version of your strategy. Sometimes known as the ‘elevator pitch’, this approach gets its name from Hollywood, where aspiring screenwriters and directors would have the duration of a lift ride to seek approval from a ‘captive’ producer.
While the transport industry might not be quite this stressful, it’s still good to be able to cut down what you want to say to a couple minutes. Thinking in these terms should also help you to keep your ideas simple.
Back this Up
Margins can be tight in courier work, and you’re unlikely to get far without some sort of quantitative analysis. Get as much information as you can about your company’s workings, and make it clear to your audience how this has informed your strategy.
Sell it to Everyone
Finally, you should do all you can to get everyone on board with your idea. The finance and purchasing team is crucial, of course, as they’re the ones who hold the purse strings. But you should also sell your strategy to local and lower-level teams in charge of implementation. Remember that courier work requires coordination at all levels.
Develop a Personalised Strategy
You know how to convince the firm to back your plans for replacement, then. But how do you actually devise a strategy?
First, keep all the above points in mind. It’s no use coming up with a plan that’s too complex to get off the ground. Begin with all the relevant facts about your business and the type of courier work you engage in. Consider how big your fleet is, how far each vehicle can be expected to drive, what road conditions your drivers work under, and so on.
If you need a guide, generally, light-duty vehicles tend to be replaced every four years or 100,000 miles, while heavy-duty ones are replaced every eight to ten years. In practice, light vehicles often last five to seven years or 120-150,000 miles – but again, the optimal time to replace will vary significantly from fleet to fleet.
Finally, keep an eye on any upcoming changes to regulations that could affect margins and performance in your area of courier work. If a city you deliver to is introducing emissions charges, for instance, you might want to replace earlier.
It’s crucial to focus on your needs and constraints when developing a replacement strategy, and to keep in mind how to sell this to others within your company. We hope these tips help you to do both.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier work in the express freight exchange industry. Numerous transport exchange businesses are networked together on their website, trading jobs and capacity through what is now the fastest growing Freight Exchange in the UK.
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