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Unpaid dock time robs drivers of drive time

Trimble CEO highlights driver challenges at user conference

Relay just returned from Trimble Insight Tech Conference and Expo in Orlando where the focus was on innovations designed to make carriers and drivers more efficient.

The conference kicked off with a welcome panel featuring a quartet of Trimble executives: President and CEO Rob Painter; senior vice president James Langley, chief platform officer Jennifer Lin, and senior vice president Ron Bisio.

Painter highlighted the challenge of network utilization and the challenge of driver turnover. He cited research from the MIT Freight Lab connecting driver turnover to issues with inefficiencies on the road. According to that research, truck drivers spend an average of six-and-a-half hours per day on the road – little more than half the 11 hours they’re allowed to drive daily.

Drivers lose nearly half their average workdays to unpaid dock delays, but the study revealed that a mere 18 extra minutes of average drive time each day would correct the imbalance – without hiring any new drivers.

Other sessions delved into the continuing evolution of carriers and shippers. Carriers are increasingly digitizing their operations as shippers continue to call for more flexibility in carrier capabilities. As a result, carriers have started to branch out into other areas of the supply chain space, such as brokerage and third-party logistics.

One must-see session was Day in the Life, which gave attendees inside access to life in a truck driver’s cab and the day-to-day technologies used on the road. The sheer number of tools and data available to both drivers and their employers make technical customization key. This personalization eliminates unnecessary noise and lets drivers concentrate on service time, mileage, route information, and other metrics that would appear on the dashboard.

Attendees also got a chance to learn more about the benefits and challenges associated with implementing driver fuel programs. According to Trimble, driver behavior has tremendous sway over fuel economy, so one major adoption obstacle is the difficulty of convincing drivers to use miles per gallon as a performance metric. In addition, fleet managers have resisted the urge to implement a labor-intensive initiative with unproven benefits.

That said, fluctuations in fuel prices have many logistics companies mulling over the positive impacts of implementing a fuel program. For one thing, fuel programs save money. On average, they can save companies up to 10 percent in fuel costs, which can equal as much as $7,000 per truck annually. These savings can also benefit the environment: A single gallon of diesel fuel can give off roughly 22 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, which can make fuel programs both cost-effective and sustainable.

Where are we heading next? You can catch us next month at the Council of Supply Chain Professionals (CSCMP) Edge Conference & Exhibition in Nashville. Make sure you come by and say hello, or come back to our blog for all the highlights! And if you want to know more about how Relay Payments can help you optimize driver efficiency, get in touch with us to schedule a demo.