Any company, especially those that are involved in the time-dependent business of doing delivery work, wants to avoid experiencing downtimes as much as possible. But delays and mishaps are a fact of life for every business, so the proactive way to face such delays is to accept that they can and will happen, and to work around such downtimes. The following are three of the most important ways to do so.
Understand What Is Involved in the Downtime
When doing delivery work, experiencing downtime must be thoroughly quantified-you cannot simply dismiss it as just some afternoon or a few hours of wasted time. You should know exactly what has been delayed and the exact costs of those delays – not to mention paying personnel for an undelivered job, or compensating customers for failure in keeping your end of the responsibility. Every instance of downtime can be itemised according to a number of factors, and each such factor has a cost assignable to them. For example, how long was the downtime in hours? How much you should have earned on a per hour basis, considering other factors such as operational expenses, driver salary, and other details?
Know the Causes of Downtime
Downtime occurs for a multitude of reasons, and most of them are preventable. For example, equipment-related downtime (your haulage truck conks out on the road just when you’re doing delivery work) could have been prevented with regular and meticulous equipment inspection. There are also those that may be the fault of your personnel (your truck has been towed because the driver parked it illegally, or that you were not informed about the impending expiration of registration papers, incurring otherwise avoidable fines and suspension). On the other hand, although there are those that are more or less unpredictable (road accidents or downtimes caused by so-called “acts of God”), that does not mean they cannot be quantified. For every instance of downtime, you should gather as much data as possible, then work on that data to determine not only the possibility of avoiding such a downtime in the future, but also to further improve your operation.
Effective Downtime Management
You can pull out your hair and scream whenever your company is hit by downtime, or you can do the proactive thing, which is to control the damage, minimise the costs as much as possible, and ensure that every party (you, your personnel, and the customer affected) walks away from it largely unscathed. On your part, you can tourniquet the damage by providing equitable compensation to an affected client. If you’re a company that does regular delivery work to certain clientele, you must go out of your way not only to apologise to the affected customer (customers are people, and they remember and appreciate a nice, human gesture better than if you’d just fire off a type-written missive), but also to provide some compensation. A good example would be Amazon, the massive online retailer: whenever there’s a delay or some sort of downtime that affects the timely delivery of an item, the company refunds the cost or includes a gift that is deemed to retain customer loyalty and good will.