Cutting Costs with Less Driver Wait TimeWritten by Neal Willis
Minimizing a driver’s wait time will not only earn a shipper favor with both carrier and driver, but it can also be a means for both the shipper and the carrier to save money. Just as higher profit margins can be achieved by different methods, such as lowering costs and/or charging higher rates, cost reductions can be secured by multiple means too, one of which is reduced driver downtime.
Shipping costs are directly impacted by the amount of time a driver has to spend waiting around at loading docks. A carrier and a driver’s earnings potential is increased when driver wait time is reduced because it affords them more time for hauling additional freight. Carriers want to work with accommodating shippers and, as a shipper, there’s a few things you can do to help curb driver wait time.
- Drop trailers – With drop trailers, the loading and unloading of freight is done on the shipper’s time, not the driver’s. Once the freight is loaded and ready, the driver can come in and back up to the trailer, hook it up, and leave in minimal time.
- Palletize freight - As opposed to items being shipped loose, palletized freight can be loaded and unloaded much faster.
- Freight Pre-staging - Having shipments ready prior to a driver’s arrival allows them to get in and out as fast as possible.
- Appointments – Although it is important for shippers to maintain some degree of flexibility, implementing a scheduling process for sending and receiving shipments can increase efficiency and maximize usage of both space and time.
- Maintain Adequate Staffing Levels – There’s a ripple effect caused with driver wait times down the line when there aren’t enough people to unload shipments. Staffing levels may need to be adjusted periodically but, in order to ensure that drivers wait around as little as possible, it’s vital that shippers maintain the proper amount of staff.
- Pickup & Delivery Policy Changes - A slight modification to your shipping and receiving schedule could mean a world of difference to your carrier. Learn your carrier’s routine and, if at all possible, work with the carrier to coordinate your schedules in a mutually beneficial way.
- Directions & Maps – Providing drivers with maps and clear, concise directions will go a long way in helping to reduce their downtime and their frustration.
- Clear Loading Areas – Marking loading areas with cones and/or signs and keeping them clean and clear will help drivers get in and out more efficiently.
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