Every industry has its bugbears. These tend to shape the work in each field, and the resistance and following steps taken to overcome the challenges posed leads to businesses growing stronger and finding new means of innovation.
When it comes to transportation, the challenge is how to fill empty vehicles coming back to a depot after a delivery. But solving this turns a curse into a blessing.
The waste of fuel
The primary problem posed by lack of return loads is wasted fuel. When a truck is on the road without cargo it is dead mileage and the burning of fuel for no reward. Since most routes and cargo are determined for a final destination, and do not return back to the depot, most deliveries involve the problem of dead mileage. These fuel costs can build up to such an extent that you are left with a situation where the expense of your trip home does not make the original leg profitable.
The waste of time
Apart from the fuel costs, you are cursed with a loss of time. The equation is simple. While your vehicles are busy coming home with no cargo they are not busy delivering for a client. If you choose longer and more lucrative routes, be prepared to see your vehicles wasting more time on the road heading home. The need to find return loads becomes urgent, because the best routes and plans for growth are negatively offset by the worst wastage in time and money through dead mileage.
The means to kill dead mileage
In theory, the plan of attack is straightforward. You need to fill your return loads: find clients, find cargo, get paid and dead mileage is dead. But the difficulty lies in the fact your route, schedule, and timing are dependent on the demands of the client who organised the original leg. The new client who is being asked to fill the home leg must work around this schedule, and there is a narrow window of opportunity to find such clients. The use of online haulage exchanges is a great way to make rapid contact with hundreds of clients, and thus find a person whose need for a route and delivery matches your need to kill dead mileage in the short term.
The chance to find new clients
Once you begin to employ measures to stifle dead mileage and start to regularly fill return loads, the curse is suddenly a boon. You have effectively multiplied your routes without the need for new itineraries, drivers, or vehicles. You are able to utilise fuel and time you have already budgeted for, but now you are actually winning a profit from this previous loss. You also will find that the new clients and contacts that you make can open doors to new jobs and new routes. Overall, if you tackle dead mileage effectively, you are improving your efficiency and growing your business.