While demand is typically more of a moving target during peak season, volatility is far from a new concept to fleet managers in the logistics industry. Skyrocketing consumer expectations, expanding commerce channels, and an unpredictable global climate all continue to keep warehouses in a constant state of adaptation, addressing differing demand levels every day.
So how can fleet managers be tasked with keeping production and distribution flowing steadily to ensure they’re prepared for the unexpected? The following are a few simple, but invaluable, ways to adjust MHE levels to meet unexpected demand.
Standardize your fleet
To fully optimize your fleet to handle fluctuating demand levels, your MHE must be as standardized as possible – any deviation can impact productivity. Ramping up to meet unexpectedly high demand is naturally more challenging than reducing MHE in use because you can simply park equipment if it is not needed.
Increasing your MHE requires sourcing, additional capital, and time, which are all made more difficult if your fleet is not standardized. If a shipper has multiple sites with standardized equipment, they can easily redistribute equipment between sites to where it is most needed.
Use a flexible MHE model
Demand fluctuations on both the high and low end bring unique challenges and consequences if you are not adequately prepared. Unexpectedly high demand can create overages on equipment utilization, resulting in charges if the equipment is leased, and added wear-and-tear if owned. If demand is unexpectedly low, it can create over-spend on the MHEs that sit idle.
Shippers and warehouse managers can remain poised and ready to adjust MHE levels to meet volatile demand swings by leveraging a nimble, customized MHE solution. Rentals with flexible fee options are a good choice for shippers dealing with seasonal demand changes – your fleet is waiting and ready to be used. Your fees will reflect demand, and, depending on your partner, you have the ability to make adjustments quickly and easily.
Have a defined, tailored strategy
It’s crucial to have a well-defined, customized strategy for your operations in place before unexpected increases or decreases in demand occur. Partnering with a 3PL with proven success in comprehensive fleet management can help you quickly engineer a tailored strategy built to optimize your fleet for handling unpredicted demand.
The right 3PL partner can significantly reduce transition times when addressing demand swings. They can not only identify key operational milestones that signify when to begin readjusting MHE levels, but they have the standardized fleet in place to be readily deployed. This type of fleet awareness is only possible by having a dedicated fleet management team focused on keeping your MHE optimized to meet demand.
While shippers and MHE fleet managers cannot control market demand, they can put themselves in the best position to rise to any occasion by following the above strategies. If you want to learn more about how to further optimize your MHE strategy to be better equipped to handle today’s unpredictable demand swings, or to speak to our dedicated fleet services team, click here.