One of the best ways to prepare for this upcoming holiday season is to know what to expect. As Christmas music begins to play on the radio and temperatures begin to drop, companies are revving up their operations to prepare for one of the busiest seasons of the year. Overall spending was up during the 2014 holiday season and with lower gas prices and lower unemployment rates, we can expect to see another big spending season1. How will this affect the drivers that make sure gifts are delivered in time for the holidays?
Winter Weather Worries
The Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a winter similar to last year. It’ll be unseasonably cold in the north east and around average temperatures throughout the rest of the United States. They are also estimating snow to be similar to last year2. If you can recall some places like Boston were hit with record snow falls reaching 110 inches3 which made traveling impossible. Preparing for these types of conditions can make your job easier and it’s important to know your route and possible alternatives. It’ll also be important that your truck is equipped to handle these weather conditions and continue to be vigilant in your pre-trip inspections.
Traffic All The Way
The weather may also wreak havoc on the traffic conditions during this time. Thanksgiving and Christmas are among the busiest days for travel in the United States4 and those making shopping trips during this time can make roadways more congested. Combine that with the possibility of ice and snow and you can expect to see delays. The chance of getting into an accident increases in these conditions so it’s important to be alert and prepared. Shippers and customers are expecting to receive their goods in a short period of time so it’s important to plan ahead. Give yourself plenty of time and continue to check weather and traffic reports to make informed decisions. Communication with your managers will be extremely important to stay safe and efficient.
Gift Giving Surge
In 2014, there was a 5.5% increase in spending between black Friday and Christmas Eve5. If the trend for lower fuel costs and lower unemployment rates continues, people will have more disposable income which may be reflected in their holiday spending. Ecommerce sales continue to grow and with this comes more distribution needs. Whether you are on a dedicated route or not, you’ll begin to feel the hustle of the holidays. This may mean more frequent deliveries to stores to ensure their inventory is stocked or more movement of goods between distribution centers to make the deliveries in a timely manner. As the holidays approach, demand for shortened shipping times increases. Now is the time to look for efficient ways to improve your hauls and ensure that goods are reaching their destination in the most timely and effective manner.
Truck drivers are an essential part of the holiday season. You are the ones who truly help make the holidays successful. Knowing what to expect this holiday season with the weather, traffic, and demand can help make the holidays better. Although it could be a hectic season for many, regardless of your routes, take time this season to enjoy your holidays too.