Sizing your fleet correctly
By Joseph Evangelist
Executive Vice President, Transervice
As originally appeared in FleetOwner Magazine’s IdeaXchange
When was the last time you sat down and assessed whether or not you needed all the trucks you currently have in your fleet? Or if you have the right combination of trucks to efficiently carry out all your deliveries?
If you’re like most fleet owners, as long as deliveries are made, you probably assume you have the right fleet size for your operation. However, it is very possible that you have too many trucks in your fleet or the wrong combination of trucks and trailers.
Proper sizing starts with taking inventory of the trucks and trailers you currently have in your fleet. Write down key specifications and determine your tractor-trailer ratio. Do you have the right power? Do you need all the sleeper cabins you have or can you get by with more day cabins? Are your drivers paid by the hour or by productivity? Do you have the right combination of trailer sizes? Pay attention to how often you cube or weigh as well as how your vehicles are loaded and unloaded.
Then review delivery routes and schedules to see how they align with the equipment currently in your fleet. Calculate asset utilization rates. Achieving 100% utilization is difficult, but you want those rates to be as high as possible based on your type of operation.
If you were to change routing or delivery schedules, could you improve the utilization of one of your assets? If the answer is “yes”, you may be able to get rid of some assets that are not being utilized to the fullest.
Sizing your fleet has many benefits, not the least of which is saving money. All the technology that has been added to trucks over the past five years has increased costs dramatically. In addition, you have expenses to insure, store and fuel these vehicles.
Eliminating one unnecessary asset could mean one less driver you need to hire. And considering the cost of recruiting and retaining drivers, as well as the difficulty of finding them in the first place, this is no small advantage.
While taking inventory of your assets and reviewing routing and delivery schedules can take time, it can ultimately pay off big time.