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Amid high costs, carriers can find ways to do more with less

Controlling costs should be carriers’ top priority

PowerFleet keeps carriers up to date on the location of their assets regardless of repositioning. Image: Jim Allen (FreightWaves)

Carriers find themselves in a hard place: The operating costs are increasing as the market for their services diminishes.

With rising fuel costs sinking truckload spot rates, carriers are seeing their margins disappear before their eyes. In fact, gaining an advantage in any aspect seems nearly impossible. In the market to buy a truck? Think again.

In July 2020, $54,000 would buy you a 3-year-old used truck, but not anymore. You’ll now have to fork over $140,000 today, according to ACT Research. 

Finding a trailer — even buying new — is becoming just as difficult. Trailer orders took a dive in April to 16,800 units — up 4% year-over-year but 53% below March. Manufacturers are now proceeding with caution as COVID-related shutdowns in China, the conflict in Ukraine, inflation and worsening supply chain disruptions have left many leery about taking orders past this calendar year.

The macroeconomics of this year have left carriers, especially smaller operators, no choice but to make do with what they have — in other words, to do more with less.

But more and more carriers are discovering this contingency plan to actually be the best course of action. With equipment unavailable for the foreseeable future, now’s the time for carriers to focus on internal improvements, cutting fuel and maintenance costs and improving capacity utilization.  

Carriers are discovering PowerFleet and how its real-time visibility solutions have completely transformed fleet management. Now carriers can be sure they have the right number or trailers at a given facility at any time and know how to best maximize the cost-effectiveness of each asset.

“PowerFleet’s solutions provide detailed mileage information that can feed into maintenance management systems to help truly understand how that trailer is being utilized,” said Joel Norris, vice president of sales for supply chain and vehicles at PowerFleet.

Through integrations with leading transportation management systems such as McLeod and Trimble Transportation TMW, PowerFleet keeps carriers up to date on asset location regardless of its repositioning. 

PowerFleet’s monitoring capabilities help determine how certain events like dwell and detention time affect fuel and maintenance costs. While wear and tear is common with frequently used trailers, it may surprise managers to learn of the issues their long-idle trailers are prone to as well.

“They can see how their trailers are being utilized down to the mile and make sure that particular trailers are flagged for preventative maintenance upon returning to their main terminals,” Norris said.

Before PowerFleet, it wasn’t uncommon for carriers to receive trailer updates through word of mouth. Drivers became accustomed to but frustrated by performing yard checks for dispatch upon arriving at facilities.

But where a trailer is dropped isn’t necessarily where the trailer ends up, as trailers are known to be moved around terminals.

“Our solution puts tools in the driver’s hand and provides real-time visibility as to the location of their assets and how they’re being used,” Norris said of PowerFleet’s driver mobile app.

This beats having to scrounge the facility for the asset, what’s similar to finding a needle in the haystack. And fleet managers are relieved too at the prospect of reducing costs all while boosting driver satisfaction and ultimately retention through these volatile, expensive times.

Click for more FreightWaves content by Jack Glenn.

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Jack Glenn

Jack Glenn is a sponsored content writer for FreightWaves and lives in Chattanooga, TN with his golden retriever, Beau. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business.