47421188 | Vitpho | Dreamstime.com
665e1c2309191e5ff141bd39 Dreamstime L 47421188

Roeth: Technology, communication, and transparency can improve efficiency

June 5, 2024
Fleets can improve the overall efficiency of their freight operations in a variety of ways.

Fleets can improve their overall freight efficiency in a variety of ways. Some require an investment in a product, and the cost of that product needs to be weighed against the increased miles per gallon to see if the investment makes sense.

There are, however, other operational practices that fleets can consider, such as setting engine parameters, optimizing routes, and training drivers on how to drive in a fuel-efficient manner, which requires time but not necessarily money.

The 2024 shipper research conducted by Flock Freight and Drive Research talks about one such practice—maximizing trailer space. The survey was conducted among 1,000 transportation decision-makers from different industries representing companies with $10 million to $3 billion-plus in annual revenue.

In 2023, those decision-makers reported that 43% of truckloads moved partially empty with an average of 29 linear feet of unused deck space, the report said. Often, these trucks had to go out without a full load to meet delivery timelines. One interesting point from the survey is that 16% of shippers said they booked truckloads often or very often because they weren’t sure that another option would get their freight delivered on time.

See also: Roeth: Bottlenecks and freight efficiency

Given the complexity of today’s freight market, it is unrealistic to think that every truck will go out fully loaded every time. However, I think some things can be done to ensure that more trucks are closer to maximum capacity. Most of the things that need to be done revolve around better technology, communication, and transparency.

There needs to be better communication between shippers and brokers and between brokers and fleets about space availability and delivery deadlines. And there needs to be transparency in the interactions between these three entities. Shippers need to be clear about their delivery deadlines but also need to work on planning shipments in advance to allow enough time for successful delivery so that they don’t feel compelled to book truckloads when they don’t really need them.

Brokers need to be transparent about the capacity they have access to, and fleets need to be more transparent about their ability to meet the shippers’ deadlines. Communicating how much empty space is on a truck is in the interest of owner-operators, since more shippers’ freight equals more revenue in their pocket. The study noted that carriers can earn up to 25% more from several shippers on a single truckload shipment.

In addition, all parties need to understand that when it comes to shipping goods, “stuff happens.” That stuff can be caused by weather, traffic, construction, or equipment issues. Regardless of the cause, delays need to be communicated immediately, and plans for getting the load delivered need to be shared with everyone so that contingencies can be made if needed.

Getting products from point A to point B is a carefully orchestrated process. The better the communication among all parties, the better it will be for everyone involved. Like many things in the trucking industry, collaboration, communication, and transparency can make the movement of goods more efficient.

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.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations

Route Optimization Mastery: Unleash Your Fleet's Potential

Master the road ahead and discover key considerations to elevate your delivery performance

Leveraging telematics to get the most from insurance

Fleet owners are quickly adopting telematics as part of their risk mitigation strategy. Here’s why.

Reliable EV Charging Solution for Last-Mile Delivery Fleets

Selecting the right EV charging infrastructure and the right partner to best solve your needs are critical. Learn which solution PepsiCo is choosing to power their fleet and help...

Overcoming Common Roadblocks Associated with Fleet Electrification at Scale

Fleets in the United States, are increasingly transitioning from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles. While this shift presents challenges, there are strategies...