Before founding Dauber, I was a construction project manager for 20 years. I’ve heard every excuse imaginable as to why a project was running behind.
One excuse that seems to be in vogue lately for Site Contractors not hitting their production rates is the “truck shortage.” From foreman to managers to owners, this excuse has been accepted as true and the reason for projects to finish late and to pass on opportunities for new projects.
There is Not a Truck Shortage! There is a Leadership and Technology Shortage.
Did you know that dump trucks are driving loaded only 35% of the time? The remaining 65% of their working hours are spent driving empty back to pickup, or waiting on site to be loaded or unloaded.
The good news is there are several opportunities to turn a truck’s empty or idle time into productive movement of materials through technology based accountability and optimization.
Hold drivers, suppliers and field personnel accountable to the efficient use of truck time.
Using technologies, like Dauber, dispatchers and site contactors can track drivers current location and historic routes. Compare turn around time between trucks to identify drivers who may be taking longer than necessary or taking breaks when they should be working.
It seems everyone is busy these days that includes material suppliers. Help your suppliers service your project better by tracking load times at pickup. See trends throughout the day to plan the best time to get loaded.
Is your field team operating at maximum efficiency? Give them visibility into truck locations in real-time, so they can be prepared to unload quickly, or if trucks are several minutes away, work on other tasks.
Track unloading times across several days to measure improvements.
Traditional truck dispatching has basically been unchanged over the past 80 years. Dispatchers communicate with drivers via phone (now text messages) and tell them the list of loads for the day.
Technology now makes it possible to reduce empty drive by finding backhauls, space trucks to prevent caravans and queuing, create an optimized next-day plan in minutes and adjust to changing conditions automatically.
Perhaps the biggest opportunity to increase truck productivity lies in the time a truck drives empty. Most projects operate in a silo, meaning a truck will work one particular project at a time.
Savvy dispatchers and site operators will look for backhaul opportunities. Backhauls from human dispatchers tend to be obvious when observed on a map.
Technology can provide deeper analysis of daily loads to find hidden partial backhauls and combinations of three or more projects to make efficient circuits.
Caravans & Queuing
Several minutes per day are wasted by caravanning trucks. Drivers tend to be social and prefer to drive in packs. This leads to delays as trucks wait on one another to load or unload.
An optimized planning tool, like Dauber, can be set to limit the number of trucks on site at a time, thus staggering deliveries.
This also increases field productivity as trucks arrive at a more consistent rate. Technology can help avoid the problem of having several trucks on site to start the day, and the resulting echo effect of truck caravans.
Dispatchers typically spend several hours every afternoon and evening to determine the best truck assignments for the next day.
With technology, a better plan can be found in only a matter of minutes.
Automatic Change Adjustment
The only thing certain about a trucking plan is that it will change before the sun rises.
Stuff happens. Trucks don’t show up. Orders increase. Projects finish early.
Instead of leaving loads undelivered or sending trucks home early, use technology to automatically adjust to changes throughout the day.
There is Not a Truck Shortage
You can do more with the trucks available. Dauber customers increase productivity between 10%-20%.
As a Site Contractor, how much more money could you make this year with a 20% improvement in truck productivity?
I often hear contractors wish trucking companies were more professional. The only way for that to happen is to treat them like professionals. Lead them to a better future. Provide for them or require that they use technology to improve productivity.
And stop using the “truck shortage” as an excuse!