Rarely does a one-size fits all approach work. This is especially true when it comes to transportation.
No two fleets are alike. Every network has its own needs and the way deliveries are made, how involved drivers are in the deliveries, the scheduling of deliveries, what the delivery windows are, etc. varies from fleet to fleet.
When a company is looking for someone to take over its transportation function, it is best to avoid anything that smacks of one solution for everyone.
The right solution can include equipment, drivers, maintenance, fuel, tax reporting, licensing, etc. Data analysis is a key part when making the decision of what to outsource and to which provider. It is best to look at data over at least a six-month period when making your assessment, as that will give you a more realistic view into your operation.
This analysis should include a list of the equipment you currently have, delivery history, fuel costs and other miscellaneous costs. A transportation solution provider will be able to look at all the data to see any recommendations resulting in a reduction of assets and resources needed or change routing to optimize deliveries, thereby reducing the cost of transportation.
Dedicated contract carriage is one customized fleet solution that can help many businesses where transportation is a cost center rather than a revenue generator. When executed properly, a dedicated contract carriage solution is basically the same as operating a private fleet but without the risks because the contract carriage provider takes on all the liability.
When considering a solution for your transportation function, maintenance is one area to look at very closely. Today’s vehicles are technological wonders, and it is nearly impossible for a private fleet to keep up with the tools, equipment and technician training needed to keep trucks on the road.
Given supply chain issues resulting from material shortages that are hampering OEMs’ abilities to produce new trucks, most fleets are having to hang on to their older equipment for longer than they had planned. As we all know, older equipment needs more maintenance so fleet managers will have to spend extra time and money to ensure their existing assets are in good operating condition. Moving to a dedicated contract carriage model shifts the maintenance burden away from the private fleet to the contract carriage provider.
There are a number of companies out there offering customized fleet solutions. Choosing the right one can be tricky.
Here are some questions to ask potential service providers:
How was your on-time delivery rate with other customers?; Do you have some examples of process improvements that you made for other customers to help with efficiency and productivity?; What is your safety rating?; How were you able to streamline the delivery process? What is your renewal rate with your existing customers?
Choosing a dedicated contract carriage solution can actually give the private fleet more control over its transportation function. The contract carriage provider has to break every cost down to a granular level, going beyond cost per mile to include cost per delivery, cost per hour or whatever other metric the company wants tracked.
Dedicated contract carriage takes away the liability, headaches and anxiety of having your own trucks on the road and provides you the assurance that your customers are being taken of in the way you desire.
Doug Adamson is Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Transervice. He is an industry veteran having spent nearly 25 years with an industry leader in sales and sales management in all aspects of transportation, logistics and logistics design.