One of the largest issues trucking companies have is keeping their downtime to a minimum. It can be difficult to ensure all operations are operating at their peak efficiency, while minimizing costs along the way. The largest factor in downtime is the density on a specific route. A higher density means more productivity and cost efficiency due to less downtime or less empty-mile driving. The best way to prevent these inefficiencies is with trailer pools.
What Are Trailer Pools?
When truckers bring a load to a customer and have to wait for someone to unload the trailer or drive back with an empty trailer, they lose valuable productive time. The idle time truckers experience while waiting for their trailer to be emptied or loaded could be filled with more driving time to the next destination. Rather than practice inefficient operations, trailer pools are the next best option. In a trailer pool, a trucker drops off his current load and immediately picks up a 100 percent loaded trailer and is ready for his next stop. This removes any inefficiencies and downtime for the driver.
Trailer Pool Dynamics
It takes careful consideration and planning with various carriers to create a successful trailer pool. The more carriers that participate in the pool, the more successful it will be. There also needs to be the perfect balance of density on both the in-bound and out-bound routes. If there are more in-bound or more out-bound shipments, eventually the pool will run out, and trailers will be left with nothing.
The flow of the network also needs to be considered. While the simplest way to manage the pool would be to have the same pick-up and drop-off locations for each load, this is not always possible due to the lack of density. It is possible for the network to venture outside the two main points, as long as it is understood there is some inefficiency in this method with empty miles driven. Organized businesses or those that use transportation consultants could potentially create an entire pattern that includes up to five different stops so there is plenty of density throughout the network to keep the pool going.
The Importance of Management
Working out the perfect number of carriers and the perfect route takes careful consideration and planning. Using a transportation consultant to help your company create the most efficient trailer pools will help you increase productivity and decrease inefficiencies the most, allowing you to have a profitable trucking business.