South Africans have been hit hard with the latest increase in fuel prices. In the next month the price of fuel could increase by at least R2. This is not just a concern for motorists but businesses too.
At the same time experts warn that fuel prices are expected to reach record high of at least R40 a litre. This has motorists feeling uncertain about what the next few months have in store. It also creates uncertainty around the price of food and other commodities.
The price of fuel has an impact on businesses as well. Ultimately the price increase of fuel will result in even the price of transport going up. This means that goods being transported will by road will now cost you more.
The fuel price increase will also have an impact on employees traveling to work. For many the hybrid and work from home was seen as a relief in the tough economic times without having to fill up the tank in a bid to drive to work. But now that Covid-19 regulations have been relaxed there are more staff getting to work using their vehicles.
Consumers will also be feeling the pinch with the price of fuel going up and perhaps they would tighten their belt on shopping. Small businesses would need to look at alternative to stay ahead of the economic turbulence that that the fluctuating fuel price brings with it.
Here are some ways to improve your service to your customers and improve operations in your business.
- Tighten the budget on unnecessary travel. As much as companies need to get their goods delivered and they need to collect stock from suppliers, it is time to relook at travel taking place in your business. Instead of making supplier trips daily cut it down to once or twice a week. The same can be said for delivery services that are being offered. If you offer delivery on goods to your customers, try to change it from daily to perhaps once or twice a week. Ensure that the delivery is worth the amount the customer has purchased for.
- While on the topic of tightening the budget, reassess the travel needs for your sales agents. Many businesses have branches out of town. In this case a branch manager will have to do site or store visits. It might be a good time to relook at the cost factor of sending the individual out of town for a trip for the day and perhaps use online platforms to help the branch with their needs.
- If it is possible allow staff to continue to work from home. This might be a good idea for bigger businesses. The daily commute could be the reason why staff might feel challenged to come to work. The price in petrol increasing will put employees under pressure and as a result they might not be performing their best. Offering the team an alternative to hybrid or work from home might be a solution to keep the staff morale up.
- Try to relook at virtual interactions for meetings and client interactions. Instead of having sit down meetings at offices outside your workspace that might require you to drive out, try to schedule them virtually. It is important to monitor and maintain resources in the businesses, but it is also essential to manage those resources correctly. Try to prevent unnecessary trips and look at moving your operations more digitally to improve the use of resources in your small business.