Seven Things to Do NOW to Create Capacity

Eavesdrop on any conversation between transportation industry executives, and chances are you’ll get an earful on the driver capacity crunch. Over the years, SBL has responded to this intransigent issue by becoming the kind of safety-and-people-first carrier that attracts the very best drivers — those who not only perform well, but make a career with us. As a result, SBL has one of the lowest driver turnover rates in our industry. But more is needed.

Here are seven things to do now to Create Capacity.

  1. Explore creative use of rail transfer options. SBL can help you develop a logistics plan that capitalizes on the economies and geographic reach of multi-mode transport, and utilizes more readily available short haul drivers.
  2. Take a fresh look at your order patterns. Does that shipment really need to be there at 0800 Monday morning, when drivers and equipment are most in demand? Might a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday delivery be switched to a Thursday or Friday? Optimizing loading and delivery times and keeping open delivery windows can make a significant, immediate difference in a carrier’s ability to provide the level of service you need.
  3. Calculate transit properly. Often customers calculate transit times in days versus hours, which reduces carrier utility and eliminates the optimization of industry capacity. Engage your carrier for accurate transit times by lane. Local deliveries need to be “load and go,” and not loaded 12 to 24 hours ahead of delivery time.
  4. Consistently achieve maximum payloads. Many shippers do not maximize the payload the carrier can transport. Consignee payloads should be quantified and records brought up to date. In some cases, shippers may need to update plant equipment to ensure precise loading.
  5. Boost driver and equipment utility. With one customer’s shipments, SBL found that more than 99.9% of the time, the lab analysis of the product was perfect (essentially zero percent off specifications). We decided to eliminate costly driver and equipment wait time by releasing the driver immediately following loading, prior to the completion of the shipper’s lab analysis. We established a policy that on the rare occasion of an imperfect result, we could easily recall the shipment prior to delivery. The shipper’s customers agreed to accept an electronic version of the final lab analysis sent prior to the shipment arriving for delivery.
  6. Reduce the number of RFP’s you generate. Re-evaluating your RFP requirements can minimize disruption of market lane dynamics and facilitate better carrier planning. No dispatcher wants to turn down a load. Help us help you!
  7. Work toward common solutions to common problems. Understand that your carrier’s success contributes to your success. The best carriers attract the best drivers, dispatchers and managers to service your logistics requirements. Carrier operations are capital intensive, and to remain viable, carriers must maintain fair and equitable returns on investment. Treating transportation company employees as true partners and associates will help us create solutions that benefit us all.

We’re All in This Together – Wes Stone and Gail Jones

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