Driving Toward Dedicated Fleets
By: Ben Cubitt, Senior Vice President of Engineering and Procurement
Tightening capacity and driver shortages are prompting both shippers and carriers to look toward cost-effective solutions to attract and retain new drivers. More and more frequently, these shippers and carriers are turning to dedicated fleets to drive efficiency and performance. And by using this type of fleet service, both parties are finding a whole new world of offerings such as access to technology, pricing flexibility and operational excellence.
A shipper that is not familiar with dedicated fleets or has not been using them over the past few years will be surprised at the number of carriers and other providers that are now offering dedicated fleet services. Dedicated fleet specialists can provide industry-focused equipment, networks and pricing. Some of the available equipment includes lightweight tractors and trailers that are able to maximize payload in industries such as water, beverage and some CPG companies and heavier-duty trailers that can accommodate heavier products, such as large-diameter paper rolls. With flexible pricing offerings, fleet operators can design pricing programs with options to best fit a shipper’s profile and also include efficiency incentives tied to well-defined fleet operating KPIs.
The benefits of utilizing this fleet option spans across the transportation industry, touching 3PLs, shippers and carriers in a number of key ways.
- For 3PLs, offering shared or multi-shipper collaborative fleets across their wide and diverse customer base allows costs to be shared and return a higher efficiency run rate for trucks, as well as increased backhaul opportunities. This is especially beneficial in preparation for peak trade seasons when capacity imbalances become a more pressing issue.
- For shippers, the benefits of a dedicated fleet include improved customer service and lower costs compared to private carrier fleets.
- Carriers will find that utilizing dedicated fleets allows them to provide more home time for drivers, thereby attracting new and retaining current drivers.
This chart summarizes additional advantages that both shippers and carriers may find when implementing a dedicated fleet service:
As an added bonus, all of these benefits enhance the collaborative relationship between the carrier and shipper. In the face of trade imbalances, tight capacity and driver shortages, dedicated fleet services are a viable and highly beneficial option. Not only does this option offer some respite from logistical imbalances, it also strengthens collaborative partnerships from origin to destination.
Have you considered using dedicated fleet service over private or common fleets?