Think about your average workday – what does it look like? While most of us would like to say it consists of precise time management and scheduling techniques , that’s most likely not the case. In fact, only 12% of employees are fully productive at work according to a recent Task Management Trends Report, with only half of task time being spent on truly effective, focused work.
In the last-mile delivery industry, this level of inefficiency can take a huge toll on your drivers, deliveries, and overall operation. In today’s post, let’s take a look at the concept of context shifting, the cost it has on your operation, and how you can help eliminate it for maximum fleet efficiency.
What is Context Shifting?
Context shifting, also known as task or context switching, is when you bounce between two or more tasks, platforms, applications, or projects in a short period of time. If you need an example, take a look at your typical morning work routine, which probably looks something like opening your emails, clicking through notifications, responding to messages, and checking project statuses. Each shift requires you to refocus on that task for the time you’ll be engaged there. Sometimes the shift is necessary and purposeful, but other times it’s the result of a distraction, such as a notification or last-minute request.
Delivery drivers and logistics employees often use multiple tools and platforms to complete their work, which is why context shifting is especially common in the last-mile delivery industry. While the goal of these platforms is to make drivers days easier, navigating too many disconnected platforms can actually cause an overall decrease in productivity and decrease safety on the road.
The Hidden Cost of Context Shifting
Switching between applications in the middle of a project may seem harmless, especially when using multiple tools is a necessary part of your job. However, the reality is that we lose much more than time tat when we go back and forth between tasks.
According to a University of California Irvine study, it takes more than 25 minutes on average to resume a task after being interrupted and risk more errors. If you do the math, that’s more than 3 hours lost in an 8 hour work day due to context shifting. Additionally, several other studies outline its other negative impacts, which include:
- A 40% drop in productivity
- Tasks taking 50% longer
- Employees making 50% more errors
The cumulative effect of the combined productivity loss and operational inefficiencies from context shifting is your company’s bottom line and profitability. When it comes to the last-mile delivery, this means drivers are spending valuable time juggling multiple applications in the final mile, when they could be using that time to make additional stops or provide extra service to customers.
How to Reduce Context Shifting
Although context shifting is an inevitable part of modern life, there are ways to reduce it and its impact, particularly for your drivers.
Options include implementing a platform that manages every stage of delivery. Thanks to cloud and mobile software applications, businesses can streamline and integrate processes from different areas of the business, and significantly reduce the amount of context shifting. For example, instead of switching between stop lists and navigation apps, drivers can access both in one mobile app – saving time and limiting driving distractions. They can also see all order information in the same place, use barcode scanning, e-signatures and/or photos to document proof of delivery. And, with real-time tracking updates, managers and customers have automatic visibility into route progress and delivery status without the driver needing to manually notify anyone via calls or texts.
Improve the Bottom Line with Wise Systems
Reduce and eliminate wasted time and energy driven by context shifting, and harvest increased productivity, efficiency, and profitability with Wise Systems. Get in touch today to learn more about seamlessly managing your last mile operations. And visit wisesystems.com/solutions to see all the applications integrated into the Wise Systems delivery automation platform.