Maryland Congressman John Delaney recently unveiled a proposal to pay the cost of badly needed upgrades and repairs to America’s crumbling roadway infrastructure with a twelve cent-per-gallon fuel tax. Congressman Peter DeFazio of Oregon proposed an alternative bill to replace the federal gasoline tax with a wholesale “barrel tax” on oil. Whether the final legislation ends up being a per-gallon or a wholesale tax, it will ultimately add to the cost of doing business for shippers. Either way, this provides us with yet another opportunity to demonstrate how TMS systems are the answer to transportation challenges – new and old.
Minimize Empty Miles – Boost Backhaul Frequency
It seems simple. With fuel prices on the rise, savings can be captured by driving less. While you cannot (nor would one want to) shrink the volume of sales orders to fulfill, you can find ways to do more pickups and/or deliveries with less mileage. Using a TMS with a solid transportation optimizer helps maximize cubes and determine the most efficient routes for multi-stop deliveries. The real-time visibility into equipment position enabled by TMS also enhances planners’ ability to line up backhauls thereby reducing empty miles.
Improve Mode Selection
The data visibility provided by a TMS unleashes strategic capabilities unattainable without automation in place. Use TMS to compare the costs of OTR movements for any given shipment with the costs involved in moving the same freight via rail or some multimodal combination. Having the ability to make such considerations in real-time helps determine the most economical method for moving freight.
Codify Guidelines on Equipment Usage by Fuel Type
With natural gas for trucks becoming a growing alternative to diesel, it becomes possible to perform cost/benefit analyses to determine when and where natural gas would be best utilized in pursuit of fuel savings. Once completed, the output of such an analysis can easily be leveraged to inform routing decisions, stipulating certain lanes be serviced by trucks using natural gas as opposed to diesel (or vice versa). Looked at from a yearly perspective, the savings captured by the most efficient fuel selections – codified in the TMS – could be significant.