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How delivery drivers became the centrepiece of the heatwave crisis

How delivery drivers became the centrepiece of the heatwave crisis

The Important role that delivery drivers play and coping with extreme weather conditions

Heatwaves with record high temperatures have been seen in the UK this year, with climate change being heavily blamed. Highs of well over 30 degrees centigrade were seen in the UK, prompting many people to remain indoors, work from home, and limit their outside activities.

But for some, the heat was unavoidable, and the extreme temperatures were unkind to last mile logistics delivery drivers, with tales of neglect and absence of air conditioning in vehicles to save space and weight for deliveries.  It was reported that one last-mile delivery driver actually passed out from the heat while out on deliveries.

Due to the expected persistence of heatwaves and more frequent extreme weather conditions in the UK, it is essential to examine how fleet management methods can be modified to better care for drivers.


Companies have a duty of care obligation

Companies have a responsibility to take care of their employees, even if they are reluctant to implement changes like installing air conditioning in delivery vehicles.

When there's a scarcity of drivers, this can lead to a major problem for both Human Resources and a legal standpoint.


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Employees can easily go elsewhere to work if they feel they are being exploited or subjected to unsafe working conditions at their current employer. Therefore, these companies should do all in their power to keep their employees from leaving and discourage them from activities that might potentially be harmful to their health.

Vehicles are also more likely to break down in harsh hot or cold weather conditions. Drivers should be aware of potential problem areas such as the impact on tyres, windscreen wipers etc, so it's important to make sure vehicle safety inspections take place before the vehicle is driven away. This includes making sure the fluids are topped up and having the vehicle serviced regularly and giving the driver the ability to report any issues.


Incorporating the cooler hours of the night

Most delivery drivers in the UK still work during daylight hours, even during the height of summer, as they do throughout the year.

However, people in Spain often don't return to the office until after 4 p.m. If delivery drivers were allowed to work during the cooler hours of the day and into the evening, then the temperature they are working in would be cooler, the traffic they are driving in would be reduced, and the fleet's environmental impact could also be reduced, all thanks to better fleet management.

Many people continue to work from home or have access to flexible timetables or hours as a result of the pandemic's impact on the workforce. The roads however are still becoming more and more crowded, and our daily commutes could use some major improvements. Everyone on the road could benefit from allowing these alternative hours for deliveries, not just delivery drivers. Workers might also be happier to work while the temperature is lower and there are fewer vehicles on the road.


A crisis is the time to innovate

Some businesses are behind or have been caught out by the heatwave and other extreme weather conditions. If it's not possible to install air conditioning in a delivery vehicle, maybe there are alternative methods to make it easier for drivers to do their jobs amid heat waves.

Major Retailers need to be able to understand these intricacies before they can find solutions to the problems produced by the heat, which include decreased productivity and health hazards. Self-scheduling technologies, for instance, have been implemented to boost performance in areas such as route density and delivery efficiency.

Companies can be better equipped to assist their workers and provide superior service to their consumers if they have access to better transport intelligence, such as inventory, information, and assets that enable improved driver efficiency.

A company should prioritise both the security and upkeep of its delivery vehicles and the effectiveness of their routes.

Descartes recommends a couple of solutions, one suitable for each of these situations. Descartes' delivery scheduling and route optimisation software ensure deliveries are completed in a timely and effective manner, while the SmartCheck software app serves as a daily tool for all drivers to record and report the results of their safety inspections to the office.

Want to learn more? Discover more about final-mile delivery solutions and daily car safety check solutions from SmartCheck.