Amid  the rapidly changing business environment prompted by the COVID-19 situation, National Public Radio recently aired a story about the explosive growth of a milk delivery business around Washington, D.C.

A largely niche business for a dedicated but relatively small customer base at the start of 2020, the business is expanding its customer base with aspirations to make home milk delivery as common as toiletry delivery is today.

This story is reflective of a larger trend sweeping across the American economy during the COVID-19 pandemic as businesses rapidly pivot to serving customers who prefer to stay at home to honor “shelter-in-place” government mandates and, even after these restrictions fade, to increase their feeling of personal safety.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce published a report recently detailing the rise of delivery apps and how businesses are transitioning to serve millions of customer in our evolving COVID-19 reality.

An analysis for app downloads shows a sharp increase since the start of the COVID-19 situation in the United States. Brands like Instacart and Shipt have gone from niche startups to household names thanks to their ability to help consumers stay safe while enjoying goods from a diverse slate of brands.

Household brands like Home Depot, Ace Hardware and some of your favorite stores at the mall are enhancing their customer service with home delivery options.

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Riding an already rising tide 

Even before COVID-19 upended nearly every norm across the global economy, analysts were forecasting massive growth in meal delivery services.

Worldwide, the market for food delivery stands at $85 billion, or 1 percent of the total food market and 4 percent of food sold through restaurants and fast-food chains. It has already matured in most countries, with an overall annual growth rate estimated at just 3.5 percent for the next five years, according to a 2016 McKinsey report.

Well before the pandemic struck, the report forecasted significant opportunity for food delivery to proliferate well beyond the early entrant incumbents who now enjoy a large percentage of market share. We believe the same trend will continue across all vertical markets, with massive opportunity for brands to stand up delivery fleets and enter new markets.

Brands would be wise to explore the supporting technology required to safely and efficiently operate a fleet of delivery vehicles.

Technology to protect your business and enhance your operations

Today, businesses that aren’t pivoting to delivery models are missing the market opportunity that will likely endure after the threat posed by COVID-19 diminishes.

While some small businesses are relying on expanded rideshare business offerings to serve their customers, other like the milk delivery business highlighted by NPR are investing or expanding their fleets.

This shift to delivery will require the adoption of new technologies to help brands, the army of new drivers and customers manage this emerging trend intelligently.

Early data portends a potentially troubling trend for drivers: less congestion but more deadly accidents, according to a Wall Street Journal story. Business owners must consider that driver behavior is also shifting as less congestion leads to a far different driving landscape.

Between March 16 and April 21, 35 people died in car crashes across Minnesota—the most in that period in at least six years. At the same time, state officials say, about half as many cars as normal have been cruising along the state’s roads.

“There’s a lot more available lane space for people to use—and abuse,” Michael Hanson, director of Minnesota’s Office of Traffic Safety told the WSJ, adding that speeding and aggressive or careless driving were the most common factors in the lethal crashes.

Among the drivers Minnesota police pulled over was a man clocked going 110 mph who told the officer he was just out for a joy ride.

Car thefts are also on the rise, from big cities hard hit by the pandemic to smaller locales where theft is normally not as widespread.

New York City reported a 50 percent increase in vehicle thefts while smaller cities like Lincoln, Nebraska and South Pasadena, Calif., are also saw increases in larcenies from vehicles. South of the border, Mexican authorities are reporting a steep increase in the number of hijackings of large commercial vehicles.

These emerging trends – rising driving accidents and theft – create a fresh slate of risks business owners must consider as central to fleet management.

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How to manage risk and protect your investments

With decades of experience in helping government agencies, law enforcement departments, school districts and private citizens connect and protect their vehicles and drivers, Synovia is well positioned to help any business interesting in learning how to affordably and rapidly deploy technologies aimed at increasing safety, saving money and improving business operations.

Whether you’re rebooting a vintage business model like home milk delivery by quickly expanding a regional delivery fleet while earning national media exposure or you’re quietly hiring drivers with their own vehicles or a combination of the two, business leaders will require real-time information to drive their business.

A GPS-powered fleet intelligence system powered by Synovia will allow you to plug into a dynamic and intuitive system that you can be tailored to fit your business’ needs. Some of the most popular highlights include:

  • Speeding Alerts
  • Excessive Idling Alerts
  • Remote Engine Diagnostics
  • Detailed reporting showing driver behavior
  • Creating custom stop alerts for customers to track deliveries in real time
  • Alerts when a driver uses a vehicle on personal time or leave a designated work area
  • Alerts to detect the potential of a stolen vehicle
  • Stolen vehicle recovery

This automotive insurance industry has been using this technology for years to reward drivers for good behavior and to more accurately calculate rates. Any business owner building or expanding their fleet should consult their insurance agent to negotiate fairer rates since this technology is used widely, and often to the drivers’ benefit, to calculate rates.

As the reviews show below, hundreds of fleet owners rely on Synovia every day from the convenience of their mobile device to track their fleet, manage their operations and improve the way they do business.

Additional Resources for Business Exploring Delivery Options:

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