The basis of any shipping firm is the fleet they employ to get things from place to place. That fleet is composed of drivers, trucks, and payloads that you attach to them. They all work hard to fulfill delivery schedules and dispatch times. But you’ll know that even small changes to the way to dispatch vehicles could help your entire fleet become more efficient, wasting less time at port or waiting at a loading bay. Here are three key tips to help you make your fleet far more efficient in the coming months.
Your vehicles are spread across the country and even internationally, with few waiting in the ranks back at base. That means, for larger firms, that you’ll be coordinating dozens or hundreds of vehicles at once. And they’ll all be on different roads in different states, causing you a logistics nightmare if you’re not able to keep on top of their precise location.
Enter real-time tracking technology like that offered by Geotab asset tracking solutions – the most effective way to track your fleet’s location at any given time. The most exciting thing about software such as this is that it enables you to plan for more ambitious productivity goals, helping you understand pinch points and potential delays and, in doing so, informing your future dispatch plans.
Your trucks burn through a large amount of fuel every month. Other than drivers’ fees, the fuel is one of your largest overheads as a shipping firm. So even reducing your per-mile fuel consumption by 5% could result in annual savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’sa priority that also helps the environment if you execute plans to increase the fuel efficiency of your trucks. You can do this by:
- Purchasing more fuel-efficient vehicles and scrapping old, inefficient models
- Asking your drivers to take a fuel efficiency course to alter their driving style
- Planning routes and trips based on the times when roads are emptiest – usually the middle of the night
- Asking drivers to take routes that cost less in fuel, rather than shorter, stop-start journeys
All of these considerations could reduce your fuel expenditure by huge sums when taken over the course of a year.
As an experienced fleet operator, you’ll know just where the pinch points and bottlenecks exist in your chain of delivery. Sometimes it’s the port authority who only let a certain amount of trucks through to pick up containers each hour. Sometimes it’s a client who is never ready to unload your cargo. Other times its just traffic – or busy service lanes and reduced ferry services.
Many of these variables you can control through renegotiating contracts. For example, if you’re losing dozens of paid hours per week at ports, it could be worth finding a way to levy a fine against the responsible authority that’s causing those delays. Elsewhere, clients who are late to unload could also face penalty fines. These incentives will help your firm run a tighter ship.
Make your haulage firm a little more efficient by instituting some of the changes to your fleet and your operations listed above.