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6 ways to meet your business demands this Christmas

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If your business is on the roads over Christmas, these tips will help you cruise past gridlock risks.

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When Christmas rolls around, businesses are under big pressure to meet delivery demands. So, it's critical that you have the right planning in place for your company.

The good news is that you can take steps to ensure you're on the right track.

Let's look at 6 of the most common ways you can meet your business demands these holidays.

1. Use a business fuel card

Any business that has a lot of staff on the road has to deal with fuel expenses.

Sorting through paperwork and separating it from the dreaded "miscellaneous" column can be a huge hassle.

Staff expense sheets, contractor invoices, printed receipts – there are much better ways to spend your time. Especially when it's the busiest period of the year!

This is where a fuel card can come in handy.

With a dedicated fuel card, you can see how much has been spent on fuel at a glance.

For example, Shell offers fuel cards for businesses. As part of this service, it also provides an online portal that allows you to track and manage fuel purchases.

You're able to provide multiple cards to cater across a range of employees. Additionally, you're able to earn Flybuys points on purchases at Coles Express and get fuel discounts at participating service stations.

By looking for the right fuel card solution, you can save time on reconciliation and also cut out the hassle of dealing with paper receipts, too.

At a time of year when there are endless bits of busywork to do, time saved on admin is always a boon.

2. Service vehicles to make sure they're in good working order

If you're on the road a lot, your vehicles are going to be exposed to plenty of wear and tear. So, regular services are critical.

Now, some people have reservations about going above and beyond when it comes to servicing their vehicles.

After all, the costs can add up pretty quickly.

But by spending a little now, you'll be saving yourself plenty of cash in the long run.

Regular inspections will help you and your mechanic spot minor problems before they turn into major ones.

After all, no-one wants to be saddled with a vehicle that's out of commission during a critical time of the year. Or even worse, needing to buy a new one altogether.

It can also save on day-to-day costs, too.

Servicing vehicles regularly can help spot issues like fuel inefficiencies and correct them.

After all, you don't want to be burning cash at the pump if you don't have to.

Santa Doing Repairs

3. Take advantage of off-peak travel times

Getting stuck in peak hour traffic is a killer for any business – especially during the busier times of the year.

Deliveries take longer, more fuel is burned and the potential for driver fatigue is increased. Not to mention wear and tear on the vehicles from the constant stop-start motions.

And then there's the flow-on effect it has on the recipient.

A customer who's receiving items late is going to be an unhappy one.

So, when you're planning your deliveries, look for opportunities to travel outside of peak hours.

4. Optimise deliveries and loads

Anyone who's done even a brief stint in transport and logistics will be happy to talk your ear off about the importance of optimisation.

In its most basic terms, it's about using your time and resources as effectively as possible.

Every industry has its own nuances, but let's take a look at an easy example.

Are you sending out product deliveries on an as-they-arrive basis? Or are you batching them together so you can do all of them in a single trip?

The first approach is going to cost you more in fuel and time over the long haul. It'll also put more wear and tear on your vehicle.

Doing a deep dive into your resources and employees before the holiday season can allow you to drastically increase your efficiency.

It'll also help ensure you're getting the maximum value for your money, while also making sure everything gets out the door in a timely manner.

Giant present on the stairs

5. Outsource where necessary

Although it's important to tap all of your internal resources effectively, sometimes it pays to outsource.

Everyone's specific needs are different. But as an example, it may be a case of plugging a skill gap within your existing team via an external contractor.

It may even be as simple as hiring a piece of equipment that would prove useful.

But start planning ASAP, because at such a busy time of year, your potential providers may well get booked out too!

And that leads to our last – but certainly not least – point.

6. Review data from the last holiday season

One of the best indicators of future performance is past performance.

In turn, one of the best things you can do for your business is to maintain ongoing records.

Looking at factors like sales, prior staff rosters, equipment lists, external contracts and more can help you identify patterns in both customer and business behaviour.

Don't rely solely on memory, either – you'd be surprised at how often key details can be missed.

Having hard data at hand is the best way to be able to justify additional costs when necessary.

If you've set up a clear system for recording this data – like tracking expenses with a fuel card or generating previous sales reports – you'll be in a stronger position for years to come.

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