Article

How a Virtual Fleet Can Help Scale Up HVAC Delivery Operations

Ariana Barboza
March 31, 2022

All profitable businesses have one thing in common: growth. HVAC part distributors must rely on a loyal customer base to continually grow and remain profitable. In order to fulfill a customers’ needs, installers and subcontractors must be able to respond as quickly and as efficiently as possible. In this article we’ll discuss how introducing a virtual fleet to your business via a simple touch of a screen will help to expand your market share, increase customer satisfaction, and ultimately help businesses save on their bottom line.

A Virtual fleet solution (VFS) like Curri provides a platform that is affordable and allows for a quicker way to acquire the resources needed. Virtual fleet solutions are not a new term in the industry, however, this concept is becoming increasingly important as the industry continues to undergo changes. A Virtual fleet solution provides the most effective way for a distributor or a contractor to scale up and streamline operations without increasing costs or compromising on quality.

What Is a Virtual Fleet?

A virtual fleet is a group of vehicles that are managed centrally through a web-based application. Fleets like these provide business owners with the ability to track vehicles en route from a computer or mobile device providing additional transparency and reliability. Virtual fleets help to save businesses’ money by reducing the amount of time that vehicles are sitting around and not being used.

Virtual fleets allow your business to have the right vehicle at the right time, and for the right price without the maintenance, internal resources/ staffing, and investments necessary for fleet management.

Virtual Fleets Can Help HVAC Businesses Grow Operations Quickly

As with many supply chains, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the HVAC industry. Logistical restrictions are limiting the availability of labor and restricted the flow of available resources.

The HVAC industry is unforgiving to distributors who cannot keep up with the demand. As we know the HVAC industry is a highly competitive market that’s predicted to grow by 13% through 2028 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Expand Your Service Area and Market Share

One of the most common uses of a virtual fleet are for companies who do not have a physical location but are wanting to greatly expand market share and service area. For example, if a heating and cooling company is located in Texas, but they have customers all over the country, it makes much more sense to sway towards not owning their own vehicles to service their customers.

Instead, they can use a virtual fleet management company that has vehicles located all over the country. When a customer needs service, the fleet management company can send out one of their vehicles to the customer’s location almost immediately.

Offer Your Customers Same Day Delivery

With virtual fleets at the businesses’ disposal, offering same day delivery to customers has never been more attainable. Virtual fleet solutions work to build a fleet of local independent contractors that can be called on at any time to fulfill the delivery requests of their customers. These independent contractors are dispatched to a customer’s home, office, or warehouse and will stay there until the job is completed. The high-tech nature of the industry also affords many benefits to the customer, like remote access and 24/7 monitoring.

Streamline Last-Mile and Middle-Mile Transport

From the 3 supply chain segments most retailers tend to focus on the most expensive aspect of transportation. Since last-mile is the most expensive portion of the fulfillment chain, middle-mile costs are often overlooked as a money-saving aspect of logistics. However, optimizing your middle-mile costs are a great way to also save on your businesses’ expenses. Optimize your distribution by opting to run your middle-mile in house with route-ready virtual fleets. 

Using a virtual fleet allows for a customizable middle and last-mile distribution solution that does away with paying for features that businesses don’t need, avoiding unnecessary fees and expenses. Virtual fleets allow for building a custom route by limiting and adjusting:

Weight per vehicle

Cubic volume per vehicle

Stops per route

Route duration and distance

The number of packages per route

Time windows

Reduce Fleet Vehicle Expenses

For many HVAC businesses, one of the biggest challenges faced is the lack of a reliable fleet of vehicles. Without reliable trucks to cover all routes, businesses are stuck with either having to do without a service call, or send out a tech who may be already overloaded with work. This is a huge waste of time and resources, whereas virtual fleets allow businesses to use the vehicles of other businesses, consolidate their fleet into larger units, and make more efficient use of vehicles and labor. Virtual fleets reduce the need for an IT staff, which makes managing a large fleet of machines more difficult. Businesses can also add new vehicles without hiring additional employees and increase efficiency by sharing the costs of maintenance.

The changes in shopping brought on by the pandemic and accompanying shutdowns increased the challenge of finding qualified couriers. It’s up to businesses/courier services to properly train their personnel so they are equipped to handle challenges that may arise. Couriers need to be fully aware of issues that may arise and company policies on how to respond.

Reduce Delivery Driver Staffing Shortages

As with many supply chains, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the HVAC industry. Logistical restrictions are limiting the availability of labor and restricted the flow of available resources. Virtual fleets help to eliminate the issue of driver shortages by providing drivers that can be hired remotely using an app or website. These drivers are trained and ready to deploy in the shortest time possible. Businesses can also request drivers on-demand and assign them to different locations without having to spend time and money on recruitment efforts.

See How Curri’s Fleet Fits into Your Delivery Operations

Curri's on-demand delivery service is built for contractors, distributors and manufacturers in the construction industry. We are trusted nationwide by HVAC businesses large and small.

If you're looking for an affordable, same-day solution for your delivery operations, you're in the right place. Curri doesn't have any sign-up costs or monthly charges. You only pay for the deliveries you order.

Ready to get started? We're ready to get to work. Take Curri for a test drive today!

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