Ready to Step through the Looking Glass with Your Transportation Network?
In Lewis Carroll’s classic, “Through the Looking Glass,” Alice (of Alice in Wonderland fame) is running alongside the Red Queen. As fast as Alice and the Queen run, in the Queen’s “topsy-turvy world,” they get nowhere. To use a transportation metaphor, they’re spinning their wheels.
Out of breath and frustrated, Alice remarks, “In our country, you’d generally get somewhere else if you run very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.” The Red Queen replies, “Here, you see, it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”
Without a focus on eliminating waste and driving efficiency, many transportation networks find themselves in the same quandary: as fast as they run, they remain stuck in the same place. So, how can running a Lean Dedicated transportation network help you get “somewhere else” – namely a more efficient operation?
Five trends and challenges are driving the move to leaner, more flexible dedicated transportation models:
- Economic pressures: a decade of economic headwinds has pushed many companies to look to their supply chains to reduce costs and eliminate waste
- Changing customer requirements, demand, staffing & service needs:
make it difficult to respond with the right drivers, vehicles and equipment without over-purchasing or underutilizing resources
- A focus on efficiency and costs: is inspiring companies to minimize waste in everything from time and materials to inventory and process redundancies
- Fuel costs and supply volatility: for many organizations, fuel has surpassed labor as the single largest operating expense. Fuel supply volatility can derail operations by disrupting transportation
- Complex regulatory requirements: for example, changes in drivers’ Hours of Service requirements require compliance: or risk significant penalties.
How Driving a Leaner Fleet Can Help You Get There Faster
Lean is a systematic approach to driving value by identifying and eliminating waste through continuous improvement. The good news? Running lean doesn’t have to mean re-engineering your entire operation. By working with a qualified partner, you can make continuous, incremental gains in efficiency with a dedicated fleet and value-added services that harness the best of Lean.
10 Tips to Driving a Leaner Dedicated Fleet
If you’re weighing the benefits of moving from a do-it-yourself or for-hire transportation model – or already have a dedicated fleet and want to improve efficiency, consider these 10 tips to driving a leaner transportation network.
- Optimize, optimize, optimize: streamline your distribution network by making the most of assets, routes, service levels and operating costs.
- Reduce costs: right size your fleet, driver workforce and use of common carriers. Adopt fuel strategies that consolidate carriers and loads.
- Train drivers: good drivers can help you strengthen customer relationships, minimize product-handling damage and improve on-time delivery rates.
- Engage employees: train them on Lean principles, operations, tools and problem-solving methodologies to continually refine processes.
- Engineer processes to get it right the first time: you’ll save time spent recovering from mistakes and save money by reducing product damage.
- Standardize every process: look for ways to reduce wait times and eliminate excess moving, handling and inventory.
- Keep people, materials, equipment and processes flowing: it’s the best way to get defect-free products to customers when, where and how they want them.
- Improve continuously: engage everyone to resolve problems and constantly improve processes and methods.
- Be adaptable: leverage your dedicated partner’s buying power and scale to get better rates on vehicles and keep up with volume changes.
- Get in on the alternative fuels revolution: migrating to a low-emissions dedicated fleet can help reduce carbon impacts and deliver big results.
Could a dedicated fleet help you drive a Leaner, more efficient transportation network and supply chain?