The manufacturing world has applied a number of process improvement methodologies to boost improvement. Lean manufacturing seeks to do more with less, whether that involves lower costs, fewer people, less downtime or fewer steps. Protocols like Six Sigma seek to improve quality to near perfect and attempt to achieve both of those objectives at once. That’s on top of the systematic introduction of automation and information-based production plans. This means that there isn’t much more to improve in manufacturing except the transport of goods from point A to point B. Let’s look at four things the trucking industry can do to improve its efficiency.
Activity based costing or ABC has long been used in manufacturing. Instead of only looking at overall profit margins and operating expenses, it assigns cost centers to each product line, project or customer.
Once activity based costing is implemented, you can identify your most profitable individual customers, the runs that are costing you money and highest volume transactions. You can identify which types of freight are your most profitable and track data at every step from loading, departure, arrival, unloading and the return of vehicles.
Electronic onboard records or EOBRs offer a number of benefits. They eliminate paper logs and the potentially inaccurate information when someone fills them out at the end of the shift. They make logging all types of information for the run much easier. All of this makes the shift to activity based costing much easier for your team. On top of this, EOBRs monitor fuel consumption and track the location of your vehicles.
If you’re looking for a used Peterbilt for sale for your fleet, it would be wise to consider investing in a good electronic onboard recorder as well. EOBRs will allow you to tell when someone is stopping at inappropriate locations, find vehicles when they have been reported stolen, and be able to tell your customers exactly where the truck is when the delivery is late.
Fuel purchasing solutions let your fleet pay for gas via RFID devices, so your crew doesn’t have to pay for fuel and get reimbursed. The transactions are faster and facilitate activity based costing. A side benefit is the fact that your drivers can’t use your gas card to fill up their personal vehicles.
If you use standard electronic contracts and manage them out of a centralized database, you can quickly create new and rapidly reviewed and approved contracts for each client. These systems also shorten the time required to get contracts signed, while ensuring no one goes forward with a business deal before all paperwork is signed.
Adopting activity based costing can help you identify your most and least profitable customers and types of freight. You can identify areas for improvement with ABC. Using electronic onboard records makes this process much easier. Fuel management allows you to track fuel consumption and minimize fraud by drivers; it adds the possible savings that come from improved driving habits that will also reduce wear and tear on vehicles. Electronic contract management helps you close on contracts faster without missing a step.