The long-running population growth and relocation trends focused on the Southern, Southwestern, and Western states are — if anything — intensifying. For many of the trucking firms that have historically focused on the industrial Northeast and Midwest, they are now having to rethink their approachs to fleet deployment and freight traffic management across the country’s various regions, a task that is being made easier and more effective by the availability of sophisticated but easy-to-learn telematics and fleet management software.
Migrations continue south and west
With the exception of a few huge, national trucking firms that long ago developed real strengths in managing multi-region operations and coast-to-coast freight traffic flows, the industry has historically been organized around companies that concentrate most of their operations within one region, or between only two or three adjacent regions. That’s not to say their trucks never were dispatched outside their home turf, but very large percentages of their road miles were recorded in familiar territory.
But the migration of the U.S. population and, more recently, of manufacturing, assembly and major distribution operations to the south and west — which started in the 1960s — appears to have gone into overdrive. And analysts see no end in sight to that trend.
In a recent interview with Fleetowner.com, John Larkin, managing director and head of transportation capital markets research for Stifel Capital Markets, said: “The states that continue to ramp up taxes and regulations are losing population or, at a minimum, not growing as fast as the states that have adopted more business-friendly tax and regulatory regimens.”
As a result, he added, “Freight flows are adjusting to the changing industrial migration and population migration patterns. Carriers with a focus on hauling manufactured products out of certain regions need to be cognizant of these accelerating trends in order to maintain the equipment utilization and lane balance that often drives profitability.”
Telematics can aid operations in new areas
Not only are the freight transportation and logistics businesses having to scale up to keep up with the nation’s rapid population growth and the corresponding growth in demand for the many goods delivered by trucks, most also are being challenged to serve ever-bigger and more and more unfamiliar service areas. But venturing more and more into unfamiliar turf can add uncertainty and complexity to operations, both of which tend to drain efficiency and increase costs.
To combat the efficiency drain related to broadening a company’s operating range, carriers need to turn to software tools to reduce that costly uncertainty and complexity. Many trucking firms can benefit from such technological help in learning how to operate efficiently in new-to-them regions. Building highly efficient routes and figuring out the optimum flows of freight from traditional manufacturing-heavy regions to the fast-growing, consumer-dominated regions are both great examples of the kind of operations that can benefit from the use of state-of-the-art trucking and logistics software.
- By switching to electronic logging, carriers and drivers can actually create more drive time. ELDs, because they log actual time used, eliminate the rounding required by paper logs. Now, a task that took one hour and five minutes gets logged as that, not one hour and 15 minutes. That gives the driver back ten minutes. Do that a few times through out the day, and the drivers can find themselves with a lot of extra time they can be behind the wheel.
- By providing companies with the most powerful and versatile route planning tools available today. The ultimate fleet route planning software solution balances all of the business constraints around workers, orders, vehicles, and compliance to create the most efficient routes possible. These routes are then monitored via real-time execution in order to understand how the day is unfolding.
- By balancing costs with customer satisfaction through smart daily routing made possible by route planning software that takes into account all available resources, distance, costs, and capacity.
- By monitoring route execution data in real time to capture crucial performance and delivery confirmation information to ensure any potential hurdle is met with prompt and efficient attention.
- By helping you build better loads both more optimally and profitably.
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