5 Tips to Run and Schedule Successful 7-Day Operations

Simplify 7-day operations with Beans Route.

The mandatory switch to seven-day operations, which began in January 2020, placed many FedEx Ground contractors (ISPs) under pressure. No more Sundays off led to crestfallen employees, more wear and tear on trucks, and extra work for all involved. However, this schedule proved necessary as e-commerce sales surge more and more each year. In 2018, US e-commerce sales rose 13.6% year-over-year, while 2019’s sales increased further with a staggering 14.9% year-over-year rise.

But FedEx’s jump to seven-day operations didn’t just allow for more deliveries, it also created faster delivery times. In a January press release, FedEx stated that “Delivering residential packages on Sunday speeds up most shipping lanes by one or two days.” As consumers demand quicker deliveries, this was an advantage FedEx couldn’t pass up.

Still, many contractors struggled with how to adjust their day-to-day operations to work within this new 7-day schedule. If that’s you, know you’re not alone. Simple adjustments such as effective communication, preventive maintenance, weekend drivers, a continuous operations culture, and a simplified route can help you fine-tune your 7-day operation and avoid potential pitfalls.

Communicate Effectively

Although drivers tend to be independent, don’t let that deter you from establishing consistent, open communication with your employees. Seven-day operations often result in human relation issues, especially when employees were used to having Sundays off. Luckily, effective communication solves a lot of headaches that come with seven-day scheduling.

Take time to ask your drivers which days off they prefer and try to accommodate them whenever possible. Some drivers may attend religious services on Sundays and begin to begrudge you for expecting them to work that day, whereas another driver may be happy to work Sunday in order to have Fridays off. When you take the time to communicate with your employees about their schedules, they feel valued and important.

Overall, clear communication has the power to reduce turnover and expel frustrations before they become a major problem.

Increase Preventive Maintenance

A broken-down truck — a contractor’s worst nightmare. Whether you have one route or one hundred, the setback generated by a faulty truck can lead to undelivered packages, exasperated employees, and stressful, hair-pulling moments. To prevent this grim possibility, increase your preventive maintenance for all your vehicles.

Remember, when you switched to seven-day operations, your trucks lost their Sunday breaks and began to take on more wear and tear. Too often, preventative maintenance is often overlooked. A fact sheet from AAA states that “Six in ten (62%) repair shops say more than half of the vehicles they service are behind schedule for routine maintenance services.”

While ISPs might be better at keeping up with regular maintenance schedules, the extra delivery day must be accounted for. If you haven’t already, adjust your maintenance schedule and service your trucks more often. In the long-term, this increase in vehicle care will pay off by a long shot.

Consider Weekend-Only Drivers

Working during the weekends can strain employees’ personal lives. A report from the CDC found that working extended hours can decrease productivity, lead to unhealthy weight gain, cause relationship problems, increase absentee rates, trigger poor sleeping habits, and more. These negative effects can cause your drivers to be distracted, drained, and more likely to mess up.

In order to avoid the harmful effects overworked employees experience, consider hiring weekend drivers. By doing so, your Monday to Friday employees have the opportunity to rest over the weekend and come back to work recharged and refocused.

If hiring more drivers is not a viable option for you, then take the time to educate your current employees on how to stay healthy while working long hours. Simple changes, like taking breaks and eating right, can provide your drivers with the energy and alertness they need to be safe and effective.

If you see that one of your employees looks worn out, open up a line of communication with them and try to find a solution to help them recharge. Driving long routes is already stressful enough, but it can be dangerous if a driver has checked-out mentally.

Create a Continuous Operations Culture

Contractors who decide to hire a team of weekend drivers need to create a continuous operations culture. In this culture, Monday afternoon is no different from Sunday afternoon. All shifts should be treated equally.

When weekday and weekend drivers are not treated equally, it leads to a slump in employee morale, productivity, and may even create operational safety issues. In order to avoid this, it’s imperative that all drivers are offered the same attention, training, and respect.

Aim to build a uniform culture that is applied seven days a week. When you succeed at creating equality, drivers feel valued and a part of a team, no matter what day they work.

Simplify Routes

Delivery drivers often feel overwhelmed and overworked, especially when adjusting to a seven-day schedule. As a contractor, you have the opportunity to help make their days run a bit more smoothly.

Beans Route, an approved FedEx Ground integration, provides drivers with an optimized route for their manifest. The computer-generated route saves drivers time, reduces the amount of miles driven, and increases the amount of stops per hour a driver makes.

Unlike other routing apps, Beans Route, designed for FedEx Ground drivers, provides the data needed to make the last 100 feet of a delivery inside apartment complexes. This data slashes the time normally required to locate a unit number by directing them straight to the units front door. For drivers with apartment-heavy routes, this feature alone can save them hours a week.

The Takeaway

It isn’t easy managing a fleet of drivers, especially when they operate seven days a week. There may be times where you throw your hands into the air and curse the booming e-commerce market. But don’t give up. All across the US, people depend on FedEx Ground’s hard work and determination to meet their delivery needs.

Contractors who follow the guidelines above find a much more satisfying work-life balance and provide the same for their employees. However, many ISPs attest that nothing boosted the efficiency and moral of their team as much as the Beans Route app.

Pete, an owner of multiple FedEx Routes, said, “Even my veteran drivers, who have been running the same route for 7+ years refuse to run without Beans Route. It saves them an hour a day.”

Join Pete and hundreds of other A.O.’s and use Beans Route to save your drivers’ time and to save yourself money.

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