Help me, help you: Your playbook for eliminating detention.

Last week was National Driver Appreciation Week, and what better gift could we give drivers than eliminating one of the biggest headaches that impact their daily life on the job? You guessed it: excessive dwell.

According to a recently released American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) report, drivers estimate that nearly half of their appointments are delayed due to actions by the customer or the customer’s facility staff.

Regardless of your role in the industry, that figure should be concerning. Detention has negative implications on productivity and profits up and down the supply chain: Drivers experience lower job satisfaction and lost wages due to wasted hours in detention; shippers and carriers lose money when facilities are underperforming and capacity is unproductive; and carriers leverage detention fees on shippers, while shippers face OTIF fines and angry customers.

Accepting this level of waste is not a sustainable practice for the industry. Recent data suggests that detention costs truck drivers and motor carriers over $1 billion annually. While carriers may have enjoyed greater margins with the capacity crunch last year, the market is volatile. The number of trucking companies that have closed their doors so far in 2019 is more than double the total in all of 2018. Minimizing detention and improving productivity would undoubtedly have helped.

What’s the solution to such a pervasive problem? The ATRI survey asked drivers their opinion on that, as well. Here were the top two answers:

  1. Better organization, planning and communication
  2. Better scheduling and keeping of appointments

Separated by just a few percentage points in driver opinion, these two solutions can be combined as a clear path to minimizing dwell: Facilities must be more strategic and organized in their scheduling up front. Then when things go awry (as they always do), facility managers need a plan to fix the problem and communicate so that detention doesn’t continue to impact appointments down the line.

Prevention and intervention. In other words, they need to block and tackle.

Can you imagine how much easier it would be to strategize your game plan if your opponent did the exact same thing every time they stepped over the 20 yard line? And, even better, if you were alerted each time they did?

That’s what FourKites does. We’ve seen time and time again with our shipper customers and their carriers how the platform can surface patterns in detention by factors including facility, time of day and lane. For example:

  • Trucks piling up at the gate due to clashing appointment times and dock worker shift changes
  • Food production skewing late in the day, yet appointments are evenly distributed
  • Rush-hour traffic routinely eating up driver HOS just miles away from the stop

Once you identify where the hits are coming from, you can develop a strategy to block them. By sharing their data through FourKites, shippers and carriers can collaborate to eliminate those bottlenecks before they even occur.

When problems do arise, real-time visibility data enables shippers and carriers to minimize their impact, as well. If you’re a carrier and your load is tracking in FourKites, shippers can tackle the obstacles that impede your driver’s efficient stop and on-time delivery. What does this look like in action?

  • Alerts can be sent to the dock scheduler notifying them to prepare for a truck’s early or late arrival
  • Appointments can be rescheduled if the real-time predicted ETA puts the load at risk
  • Drivers can plan ahead based on traffic and predicted ETA to optimize their breaks

 

. . . . . .

FourKites can solve the problem of excessive detention. We can make shippers and carriers more profitable, while making the jobs of drivers more pleasant and productive — but we need the tracking data in order to do so.

Carriers, contact us to get on the FourKites network and start benefiting from the data we’re collecting on more than 600K loads per day. To learn more about the benefits of FourKites for carriers, check out this blog post: Data Levels the Playing Field for Carriers, Too.

Shippers, reach out to your carriers to see how they are managing dwell and detention. Read this post for tips on collaborating with your carriers via real-time visibility.

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