The adage “time is money” rings true for most businesses, but it has never been more valued and prioritized by supply chain industry players than it is. is today. According to DAT Trendlines, fares are up more than 20%, fuel is 40% higher and spot market charges are up nearly 50% compared to the same period last year – with costs that skyrocketing and labor shortages, businesses cannot afford to waste even a second.
Unfortunately, wasting time is exactly what happens. As Business Insider reported, one trucker said, “What used to be as quick as 10 to 20 minutes now takes three to four hours. You can wait hours before they even check you in and get nothing in return.
The longer a truck sits, the higher the cost. We’ve talked about this before, but it’s time to do something about it. Here are six steps you can take to reduce dwell time.
- Unleash your supply chain data to make changes faster. With real-time visibility data, shippers can more easily diagnose gaps in their supply chain. Use supply chain insights trapped in your own data to unlock operational excellence.
- Create stronger communication with carriers. By implementing a supply chain visibility platform, you can automate notifications and take advantage of built-in features like instant messaging and electronic proof of delivery. Meanwhile, dynamic estimated arrival times (ETA) improve appointment times, helping managers know what to do with inventory before it reaches the dock.
- Gain upstream visibility thanks to multimodal tracking. Many companies wait to handle a shipment until it’s on the road. By having visibility across your entire supply chain, you can see what’s happening across all modes – ocean, air, rail and more – to proactively manage a shipment, reduce wait times and shorten order cycles.
- Streamline check-in and check-out processes. Manual documentation, multiple checkpoints, and outdated processes slow down flow in your facility. By leveraging electronic documentation, streamlined entry/exit forms, and leaving room for truck movement, your drivers will get out faster.
- Balancing cargo volumes. There is a strong correlation between overloaded planning and increased dwell time. While teams want to do what they can to help carriers with their schedules, they also need to be aware of inbound and outbound volumes, full and partial loads, and staff schedules.
- Unload the right trailers faster with fleet management. Warehouses are also plagued by labor shortages and manual processes. By leveraging the right software solution combined with IoT, you can optimize scheduling, spotter and driver movements, and ultimately get trailers in and out faster.
The Hidden Benefits of Reduced Dwell Time
In addition to eliminating holding costs, reducing dwell time can improve other aspects of your supply chain:
- Strengthening relationships with carriers. Carriers appreciate customers who help keep drivers on the road.
- Increased capacity. The less a driver sits, the more goods he can transport.
- Improved operations and employee relations. Removing slow or redundant processes improves morale. Ancillary management becomes the exception rather than the rule and your employees enjoy their work more.
- Be a shipper and location of choice. Word spreads quickly among suppliers, transport partners and workers and can lead to lower fares, stronger partnerships and improved productivity.
Don’t try to boil the ocean
While there are many benefits and many small steps your team can take to have a big impact on dwell times, you don’t have to implement them all at once. In fact, we don’t recommend it. By taking a CRAWL, WALK, RUN and FLY approach, you can address these issues one by one to improve the entire supply chain.
Author: Paul Howard, Product Marketing Manager, FourKites