Limiting speed does not mean limiting efficiency
By Joseph evangelist
Executive Vice President, Transervice
As originally appeared in FleetOwner Magazine’s IdeaXchange
It is likely that there will be a final decision on the heavy truck speed limit, as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently issued a notice of proposed rulemaking.
There are arguments for and against speed limiters, but the reality is that many fleets have been limiting the speed of their vehicles for years for safety and fuel economy reasons.
Speed can be adjusted in a number of ways, including limiting power, rpm, or overall top speed through the vehicle’s engine control module. According to Tom Poduch, Transervice’s Logistics Design Manager, “Fleets such as Transervice adjust vehicle speed and overall engine performance to meet the specific requirements of the product being transported, operating environment and road grades. designed to maximize vehicle fuel economy. »
The main concern with limited speed is that more resources such as drivers and trucks will need to be added to the fleet to maintain the high level of service expected by the customer. Static delivery windows can become a challenge.
The reality is that with some routing changes, there should be little to no loss in efficiency, even when operating at lower speeds. Computerized route modeling allows the user to insert unlimited variables into the system and adjust the behavior of the algorithm to develop a workable base model. “The baseline can take into account product availability lead times, delivery windows, vehicle availability/capacity, priority delivery points, and predicted road speeds,” says Poduch.
We use an optimization tool that looks at driver and vehicle performance focusing on road speed, hard braking, idle time, fuel economy, and more.
Once the baseline is complete, local knowledge, historical usage data, and driver feedback can be used to determine the viability of the model.
If additional resources are still needed, consider whether they can be compensated by opening delivery windows, changing the delivery day of a defined delivery point, or trying a new trailer configuration. “Testing these dynamic changes using computer modeling will identify opportunities to efficiently meet current and future fleet demands, while minimizing the impact on fuel economy, resources or customer service,” Poduch said.
Whether or not the federal government decides to limit speeds, or if you decide to do it yourself, route optimization can keep assets utilization high, get deliveries done on time, and keep customers happy, all improving your fuel economy, tire wear and overall cost. It can become WIN-WIN, depending on how you approach it.