November 10, 2019Comments are off for this post.

How complicated is load planning?

It is a shame that in 2019 load planing is still done for the most part by people. The process is quite complicated and ripe for being "digitalized", but it is hard to let go. While in 2017 the trucking industry finally installed ELD devices on most of the trucks, companies are not data-driven and don't know what to do with it.

The current process when choosing a load in the trucking company is for the dispatcher (a human being) to call at least ten different people for a given lane and get a “feeling” of the market. Such a process can’t be more archaic, yet it is how over 98% of the trucking companies do business and set prices. That process can’t be more inefficient. Even with technological advances of the 3Pl companies, it is still time-consuming and still boils down to humans making a decision. To put it in perspective,  the US has 135 different freight markets, which equals to 18225 different lanes with the price for each lane. The three main modes of freight are Flatbed, Dry Van, and Reefer, so each lane has three different prices, which make 54675 different combinations. Since the market often changes on average every month, we need to multiply that number by 12, and we will have a whole freight cycle. Each dispatcher needs to know not only the 18k different lanes, not only the price for each lane but also to chose how to line them up, so the truck generates the highest revenue for the period.

All these numbers do not include nuances of the day of the week or if the load is hazmat, requires step-deck instead of flatbed, or needs additional time requirements that will add up to the price. Also even there is the right load for the right price, the driver may not have enough hours on his clock to perform the load. The load planner needs to consider all these factors before making a decision on how to schedule the truck.

Image shows what are the best 3 lanes out of the Houston Market.

That process is complicated and difficult to scale. It requires extensive training and even the good load planners are people and sometimes they make mistakes. They not only think about one lane, but they think about a couple of lanes in advance.

May 31, 2019No Comments

2019 International Roadcheck is Coming!

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s International Road check 2019 will take place on June 4-6. During this time, over 10,000 U.S. federal, state, local and Canadian provincial officers will perform Level I inspections. Inspections will be around the clock for 72 hours. The inspections involve a comprehensive 37-step procedure. These inspections could result in violations and fines for unprepared fleets and their drivers.

This year’s Road check will focus on steering and suspension systems.

"Steering and suspension are safety critical systems for any commercial motor vehicle. Not only do they support the heavy loads carried by trucks and buses, but they also help maintain stability and control under acceleration and braking, keeping the vehicle safely on the road," said Jay Thompson CVSA president and chief with the Arkansas Highway Police. "Furthermore, they keep tires in alignment, reducing chances of uneven tire wear and possible tire failure, and they maximize the contact between the tires and the road to provide steering stability and good handling."

What to Expect

During International Roadcheck, CVSA-certified inspectors will primarily conduct the North American Standard Level I Inspection, a 37-step procedure that includes an examination of driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness. Inspectors may opt to conduct the Level II Walk-Around Driver/Vehicle Inspection, Level III Driver/Credential/Administrative Inspection or Level V Vehicle-Only Inspection.

The vehicle inspection includes checking critical inspection items such as: brake systems; cargo securement; coupling devices; drive-line/driveshaft; driver's seat (missing); exhaust systems; frames; fuel systems; lighting devices (headlamps, tail lamps, stop lamps, turn signals and lamps/flags on projecting loads); steering mechanisms; suspensions; tires; van and open-top trailer bodies; wheels, rims and hubs; windshield wipers. Additional items on buses, motorcoaches, passenger vans or other passenger-carrying vehicles include emergency exits, electrical cables, and systems in the engine and battery compartments, and seating (temporary and aisle seats).

Requirements

Drivers will be required to provide their driver's license (operating credentials), Medical Examiner's Certificate and Skill Performance Evaluation Certificate (if applicable), driver’s record of duty status and vehicle inspection report(s) (if applicable). Inspectors will also check drivers for seat belt usage, sickness, fatigue, and apparent alcohol and/or drug impairment.

If no critical item violations are found during a Level  I or V inspection a CVSA decal will be applied to the vehicle. This will indicate that the vehicle successfully passed a decal-eligible inspection conducted by a CVSA-certified inspector. However, when a rear impact guard is required and violations are present, a CVSA decal shall not be issued.

“Aside from the increased inspections, we are not doing anything different than any other day. The inspections performed during International Roadcheck are the same inspections that are conducted the day before International Roadcheck starts and the day after it concludes, as well as any other day of the year,” said Thompson. "It's important to remember that inspections are conducted 365 days a year. We publicly announce the dates of this three-day enforcement and awareness initiative in advance because we want all vehicles on our roadways to be safe and compliant."

KAMION: HOW IT CAN HELP YOU

Kamion software can help prepare you for important events such as this upcoming road check! This Trucking management system is built with a helpful reminder tool that allows you to create reminders. Take a look at the example below:

You can upload images for example of tires that you had serviced.
Set dates and times and important information.
This is an example of how uploading an image to the platform would look.
A view of the revision history page allows you to see any updates made each time.

October 8, 2018No Comments

How You Can Benefit From the ELD Mandate Requirements

Electronic logging devices (ELDs) were established to digitally record a driver’s Record of Duty Status (RODS). In other words, they were created with the goal to replace the paper logbooks drivers carried to record their Hours of Service (HOS) requirements. Read more

September 12, 2018No Comments

6 Reasons Trucking Companies Need a Management System

Trucking management software (TMS) has made significant improvements in the trucking industry. Among its many benefits, real-time tracking has led to faster transportation, greater cargo security and better customer service. As a result, increasingly more trucking companies have taken steps to integrate this technology into their operations. Read more

September 1, 2018No Comments

The 9 Best Practices for Managing Trucking Fleets

Let’s be honest. Today’s fleet managers live in a word of stressful situations. Fluctuating fuel costs, strict budgets and new regulations, average doesn’t cut it anymore. Because of this, fleet managers are being challenged to reduce expenses, eliminate discrepancies and improve their bottom line.

A highly efficient fleet management company can make all the difference. By keeping assets in peak condition, freights can be transported not just on time but under budget as well.

Regardless of operation size, there are various opportunities to control costs and reduce expenses without compromising service quality. In this blog, we’ll be discussing nine practices every fleet manager should explore in order to run a more efficient operation.

 

1. Financial Tracking

To tackle the first aspect, it’s almost impossible to control costs if you don’t see them coming in or out. Understanding where the money is going is the first step in effectively managing your budget. The larger the trucking fleets, the more difficult it is to track the key aspects of your business that are slipping through the cracks.

Managing a fleet involves a tremendous amount of reporting – parts, work orders, purchase orders and warranties. However, a substantial amount of information is needed to determine how long it takes a technician to complete a job, which tires need to be replaced or what equipment needs to be repaired.

Accuracy is your greatest weapon in reducing waste and preventing problems before they arise. Here are some examples of components in your fleet that you should monitor and identify opportunities for improvement:

  • Fuel
  • Tires
  • Vehicles
  • Warranties
  • Parts
  • Driver Data
  • Labor

 

2. Preventative Maintenance

Conducting regular, preventative maintenance checks is a great way to keep your vehicles functioning at optimum levels. This can also extend to your business’s productivity and profitability.

According to Automotive Fleet, maintenance costs rank second in terms of expenses behind fuel. It’s wise to spend a small amount of time and money on a regular basis to keep everything in top shape. Not only does this reduce the potential of costly repairs but can reduce insurance rates and absorb potential costs of downtime.

 

3. Clear Policies and Standards

From the driver to the dispatcher, all levels of personnel should be held to clear standards not only for their position but the fleet’s overall performance. It’s important to have a written, consistent set of guidelines and training materials available to ensure transparency across the fleet’s operations. The same process applies to your fleet’s safety standards.

The most important aspect to safeguard is accountability. Keep in mind your procedures need to be engaging and measurable. And, managing trucking fleets requires you to stay current on all incoming transportation law and policy changes.

 

4. Consistent Regulatory Compliance

Being able to pass compliance with flying colors is a key element in managing trucking fleets. From vehicle registration and insurance to licensing and driving logs, your inspection reports should always be easily accessible. The US Department of Transportation, as well as other authorities, will require various documents on your vehicles, drivers and insurance coverage in order to be compliant.

 

5. Continuous Training and Development

It’s not only important to have good training programs in place for onboarding new personal but also to offer continuing education opportunities to help them hone in on their skills. Certification programs for specific aptitudes are a great way to show a company’s investment in their employees. It also benefits your business in the long run, ensuring your fleet us up-to-date on all the safety and tech features in the industry.

 

6. Appropriate Vehicle Replacement Cycles

As we mentioned earlier, forecasting potential costs and repairs is everything. A vehicle may cost more upfront. However, developing a replacement cycle using a life-cycle analysis can help you better predict the time of replacement – minimizing long-term costs while assuring the safety of your fleet.

To conduct a life-cycle analysis for your fleet, you’ll need to consider vehicles’ depreciation, maintenance, fuel, overhead and resale value. As a rule of thumb, you’ll find that newer vehicles are typically more advanced, produce fewer emissions and can help you get the most out of your fuel consumption.

 

7. Cross-Channel Communication

Managing trucking fleets, one of your main responsibilities is communicating performance to the team in relation to its goals. Having data to support your decision making while identifying areas of opportunity is curial to your success.

Communicating performance to your team creates an atmosphere of transparency. Not only are you revealing your strengths and weaknesses but can build cases when you need more resources or personnel to complete a job.

 

8. Performance KPIs

A key performance indicator (KPI) helps fleet managers manager their performance against specific goals. KPIs can help you evaluate the success of activities like accident frequency and work cost recovery. Fleet management software like Kamion can provide the data you need to develop and track these metrics so you can create benchmarks for improvement. You can assess KPI rate per mile, track individual trucks, a driver's performance and even identify any dormant equipment.

 

9. Automated Processes

Automating internal processes is another way fleet managers can reduce costs, save time and standardize tasks across all channels. Investing in fleet management software like Kamion can help you track every aspect from breakdown reports and vehicle inspections to customer details and streamlined reporting. As a rule of thumb, the more tasks can be automated, the more time you’ll have to spend on streamlining your fleet operations.

 

10. Leveraging Technology

As you may have noticed in the passing years, the world of trucking fleets is always changing. Because of these, we encourage fleet managers to educate themselves on new technology and industry improvements. In order to make the best decisions for your fleet, you’ll need to analyze the data. And in order to do that, you’ll need to enlist the help of highly intelligent fleet management software.

This helps you identify which vehicles and/or drivers are draining resources, which areas are producing better than others, and equipment that will need to be replaced in the pipeline.

When managing trucking fleets, you’ll notice every company has its own set of guidelines and policies. However, there’s always room for improvement. To learn how you can fine-tune and streamline your fleet operations, we invite you to schedule a free demo of our software!

Blog / Trucking

How complicated is load planning?

It is a shame that in 2019 load planing is still done for the most part by people. The process is quite complicated and...

→ Read More

2019 International Roadcheck is Coming!

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s International Road check 2019 will take place on June 4-6. During this time, over 10,000 U.S. federal, state, local...

→ Read More

How You Can Benefit From the ELD Mandate Requirements

Electronic logging devices (ELDs) were established to digitally record a driver’s Record of Duty Status (RODS). In other words, they were created with the...

→ Read More

6 Reasons Trucking Companies Need a Management System

Trucking management software (TMS) has made significant improvements in the trucking industry. Among its many benefits, real-time tracking has led to faster transportation, greater...

→ Read More

The 9 Best Practices for Managing Trucking Fleets

Let’s be honest. Today’s fleet managers live in a word of stressful situations. Fluctuating fuel costs, strict budgets and new regulations, average doesn’t cut...

→ Read More