Buchheit Logistics. Your Connection
Truck Drivers – an interesting term, and very limited in the images that title conjures up. The days of just getting in and driving seem very distant. Maybe they should be called Logistics Specialists, Commodities Relocation Engineer or Transportation Engineers. Some more apt description.
Today’s operator must be an equipment specialist, highway engineer, travel planner, load specialist for all kinds of commodities, legal practitioner, time manager, and efficiency expert. Sound like an exaggeration? Not really, let’s look.
Upon beginning their day, our MTP (mobile transportation professional) has to check in. Now days that will be a computer check in that saves that start time for all posterity. Or at least 6 months according to federal law. Our MTP then has to inspect the equipment. Are we in compliance with tires, brakes, lights, glass, wiring, airlines, and much more. Are there any oil leaks, equipment deficiencies with electrical, air, structural, hydraulic, pneumatic, or computerized systems? We all want safe equipment out there, we just sucked up at least ¼ to ½ half an hour of that operator’s time for the day.
Now we can start our driver role, right? Maybe. What is the route to your location, any road construction, restrictions, traffic issues? Where is your gate, what is your check in procedure, is there truck parking, what is the appointment time? A great deal of thought and skill goes in to just arriving to pick up the load.
We get loaded and someone gives our driver a delivery appointment. How was that calculated? Just next day, 50 miles an hour average transit time, or just the number the receiver put forth? While really a shipper responsibility, most shipper contracts say the driver is responsible that their loads are correctly loaded, secured, paperwork, markings, everything related to the shipment.
Next come route planning, fuel stops, rest and meal breaks overnight parking, road construction, congestion, federal compliance, on & on.
The point of this communique is that that today’s truck driver really is a specialist; a specialist in high demand, who should be accorded that professional status. The regulations coming into effect this year will give us an up-close reminder of the value of these transportation professionals. Electronic Logging Devices.
The deadline approaches this December. Buchheit will be ready! Many will not. As of the beginning of the year, 20% of large fleets of more than 250 trucks; and a whopping 66% of smaller fleets have not addressed this Federal requirement. Even if they start considering today, they will be increasingly hard pressed to get their equipment ordered & installed and their people trained by the end of the year.
So, what happens? Upon completion of the conversion to ELD’s, while the rules have not changed, the process is rigid. From the moment, the driver starts their day inspecting their trucks, 12-14 hours later there will be no more driving. Consider the hot load 2 hours from your facility. There will be supply stress.
Add to that a survey I recently participated in where the average age of the driving force is right at 50. If that’s average, there are a lot of folks near retirement age who may chose not to participate in the new computer technology.
So why am I rehashing my on-going pro-driver thoughts. I believe we will see disruptions to the supply chains by this fall. The only real way to prevent this is to take care of the drivers. To keep them in the industry is to be sure they are compensated for their time. Whether that be driving, or sitting at your dock. All time spent providing you services to facilitate your load needs to be recognized. The technology provided due to the Federal Regulations, gives us the tool to track and verify this time.
It is widely known that this compliance mandate will knock off a bit of utilization in some respects, and pick up a few minutes elsewhere. How will that manifest itself?
An example is a lane that we were offered by a top customer recently. This shipper’s volume is significant. When the MTP (Mobile Transportation Professional) arrives for the load, there may be an open slot to load, or it may take many hours to accomplish the loading. Any time spent in that process by the driver, starts that clock (i.e. moving around the yard, backing into the dock, monitoring the loading process, load securement, scaling, obtaining paperwork), it all counts. Many shippers have long enjoyed that “free” service which will not be available in the future. Also, the allowable drive time after the MTP finishes these activities may be diminished by the hours spent unproductively – from a driving standpoint. Therefore, the delivery time may be elongated, depending on the distance.
Historically, motor carriers were only able to charge by the mile. All we really knew in the bid process was how far it was from A to B. We assumed timely loading and unloading. With all the technology upgrades, we now have visibility of the entire process. We now have to excel at time management, accounting for that time, be remunerated for that time, and pay for all the time our MTP’s spend on the job. I am surprised by the number of logistics folks’ who profess to not knowing about the impending seismic changes approaching our industry.
As I said in the beginning, Buchheit will be ready. If you are not up to speed on these pending changes, or are looking for ideas to improve your logistics processes, please give us a call. We too want you to be prepared and proactive in continuing to keep your products flowing smoothly to your customers. We can help, as Buchheit is Miles Beyond Expectation.
Only a couple weeks remain for you to submit your ideas for Elan Musk’s new hyperloop pod. Space X is hosting its second design competition for ideas on how to get us to ride comfortably in a pod through an underground tube in a near vacuum environment at speeds up to 700 miles per hour. And I get nervous in exterior elevators. This should be a hoot!
Even with some outsized management challenges, Uber and Lift continue to grow and take market share. The taxi business has seen the impact first hand, but also the rental car companies. Forbes reports, and you may know firsthand that shares of the large rental companies have really tanked. Hertz down nearly 90% the past few years. Now that’s a disruption.