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One step closer to freight efficiency

Feb. 17, 2021
The options for improving freight efficiency are seemingly endless, and you can begin your journey with just one thing, big or small.

I have written before on the fact that both big steps and little steps are needed to help improve freight efficiency. I want to revisit that here under the banner of "just do one thing."

Rick Mihelic, NACFE’s emerging technologies director, has talked often about the tyranny of choice. Sometimes when there appear to be too many choices, it is hard to make any choice at all because the options are overwhelming. I can see that. It’s like going to a restaurant whose menu is a multiple-page book; how do you ever select what to order for dinner? And yet, we all eventually order something.

When it comes to improving freight efficiency and even beginning to work through what we at NACFE are calling “the messy middle” — the time between now and when all trucks will be electric — I am hoping to convince you to do just one thing.

It could be anything if it helps improve freight efficiency. You can think small like adding vented mudflaps or wheel covers. It could be a larger investment like the second-generation rear trailer aerodynamics device or a battery HAVC unit.

It could be setting up an incentive program for drivers who continually drive in a fuel-efficient manner. It can be looking at your routing and making changes to optimize it for maximum efficiency. It can focus on reducing empty backhauls.

Improving freight efficiency does not even necessarily have to involve a financial investment. It could be having a conversation with your OEM about what they are doing with electric trucks and how they see electric-powered vehicles fitting into your operation. It could be attending a workshop, webinar or another meeting to learn from others about what they are doing to improve efficiency or how they are working electric vehicles into their operations.

The options for improving freight efficiency are seemingly endless, and I understand how it can seem overwhelming to know where to start the journey. My suggestions are to start with just one thing and that could very well lead you to the next thing and the next. You can begin your journey with just one thing, big or small.

About the Author

Michael Roeth | Executive Director

Michael Roeth has worked in the commercial vehicle industry for nearly 30 years, most recently as executive director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE). He serves on the second National Academy of Sciences Committee on Technologies and Approaches for Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles and has held various positions in engineering, quality, sales, and plant management with Navistar and Behr/Cummins.

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