Today’s supply chains are in a flux. Trucking companies and shippers can’t find drivers to haul loads and make deliveries. The truck driver shortage may become an even bigger issue once Biden’s Infrastructure Plan goes into effect. Local and state governments use funds to build more roads, bridges, public transport, airports, waterways, and other infrastructure. Why? Because there will be a greater need for construction workers on these projects, and these workers often pull from the same labor pool as truck drivers.
Trucking companies need to be creative to find and hire drivers and then use technology to maximize the driver’s time and keep them moving. Drivers get paid for driving on the road, so the more they travel, the more money they make.
Trip planning is an excellent way to maximize a truck driver’s time. While it takes time to plan the trip each day, drivers are more efficient and productive in the long run.
Maximizing Driving Time
Once you get a driver to accept a load, you want to make sure you can maximize their driving time. One way to do this is with smart trip planning, which are optimized plans that are very accurate as to driving times. Smart trip plans are more than just going from point A to B. You will maximize drivers’ time by reducing detention and providing a more accurate route plan.
Smart trip planning is a feature of some transportation management systems (TMS), such as the Axele TMS.
Whenever a load is assigned to a driver, an optimized trip plan for the driver is computed by the TMS. The algorithms for creating the schedule need to encompass the FMCSA Hours of Service rules. The system will intelligently generate a route from one stop to another stop by detailing the driver’s activities along the way.
When calculating the trip plan, data points should be:
The trip plan can be used to:
Another way to maximize driver’s time is to use a team approach. Having more than one driver lets the driving team stay on the road longer. Complete schedules, total pay, plus rest, make drivers happier and more likely to remain on the job. Husband and wife teams especially enjoy driving together for companionship on the road. Team driving makes longer trips less lonely and helps time pass quicker.
Dispatchers and trip planners can visualize a driver’s schedule. Seeing solo drivers and teams on a weekly Gantt chart ensures proper assignment of loads with no overlap. The TMS integrates HOS data from electronic logging devices (ELD) in the trucks, so dispatchers and schedulers can see the availability of all drivers and teams. Clear availability information enables better scheduling of the trip plan.
Best Practices for Trip Planning
Truck drivers should review their trip plan each day as they begin their day to see if they have any questions or concerns. Look at the weather forecast, too. If storms are in the weather forecast for the area you will be driving through, alert your dispatcher to find an alternate route.
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