RFX Blog

5 Ways to Improve Your Freight Logistics

December 11th, 2012

Freight Logistics Solutions

When freight operations lack efficiency in transportation logistics, one unfortunate result can be an empty truck being transported over longer, more traffic-congested routes. Freight logistics solutions can help alleviate this problem, in turn decreasing fuel consumption and costs while generating more revenue for the freight company.

#1: Make Use of Technology

Dispatch personnel will be rewarded with increased efficiency when they make use of routing and scheduling software designed for transportation logistics. One of the biggest challenges may be to teach dispatchers who are set in their ways new technologies that would make their job easier. Software packages differ, but most can provide optimization models which take into account rules regarding vehicle-loading dock compatibility, vehicle size constraints, route restrictions, pick-up and delivery schedules, vehicle-product compatibility and availability of necessary equipment. Technological logistics solutions do require an investment but it often pays for itself in no time.

#2: Reorganize Loading and Receiving Schedules

The increase in fuel costs over the last decade has hit company budgets hard. Organizing more flexible loading and receiving schedules is one way to achieve better fuel efficiency which may result in a cost reduction for that area. Switching to 24/7 shipping and receiving schedules are among the types of solutions that may allow trucks to travel during off-peak hours when there is less traffic congestion. This reduces truck idling on the highways, saves on fuel and helps trucks get to their destinations faster. A more innovative loading schedule may also reduce the time it takes to load and unload freight which would help companies generate additional revenue.

#3: Implement Load Matching Processes

Load matching strategies are logistic solutions that may help freight companies reduce their number of deadhead trucks on the road. One method is to arrange routing schedules so that trucks haul consecutive loads in a triangular pattern. It is possible to coordinate with another freight company to carry loads, back haul, or even hire a freight logistics solutions company to match empty carriers with shippers. Some truck plazas have electronic monitor boards that provide information on loads for which shippers need carriers. Electronic monitoring is a fairly new but successful innovation in transportation logistics.

#4: Know Freight Classification Laws

The classification of freight is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and it is important for freight companies to stay current on any changes in FTC freight classification laws in order to avoid unexpected reclassification costs. Knowing how to determine the proper classification and costs associated with a particular load will help freight companies know how much to charge shippers the load. Reclassification of a load after the fact almost always results in higher shipping costs.

#5: Stay Compliant with Driver Hours of Service Laws

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) governs the number of hours a driver hauling freight may drive each day. The purpose of these laws regarding drivers is to help prevent fatigue, falling asleep at the wheel, accidents and fatalities on the highways. These laws may and do change from time to time. For example, beginning July 1, 2013, it will be mandatory for a driver to take a 30-minute rest break following 8 hours of driving. Staying up-to-date with the DOT may help freight companies avoid costly fines and higher CSA scores associated with violations of these laws.

Transportation logistics can be challenging, but implementing efficient logistics solutions may help freight companies generate more revenue. Cutting costs is crucial in the current economic climate, and improving freight logistics is one potential way to save money.

Posted on December 11th, 2012 in Freight Logistics