New Tech Bypasses FMCSA Regulations and Mitigates Capacity Challenges Too

You could grow a long beard waiting for the federal government to rectify the problems it’s causing for carriers and drivers.  Instead, why not use innovative tech solutions to do an end run around the hassles caused by the ELD mandate and onerous Hours of Service regulations? Case in point: innovative new Advanced Scheduling technologies offered by supply chain management solution providers.  How can these technologies neutralize the pain of these regulations?  Here’s the story.

Catching an angry earful at a recent industry event where carriers and truck drivers gathered for the opportunity to voice their frustrations directly with him, FMCSA chief Ray Martinez listened intently and sympathized, but made no promises to change the newly implemented ELD mandate and Hours of Service regulations.  Martinez would only say that regulations could be changed, “if they don’t make sense”.  Not exactly comforting.   Yet, Martinez did make an important point that underscores the validity of the strategy I am about to share.

According to Transport Topics coverage of Martinez’s listening session at the MATS show, the FMCSA chief remarked, “In four weeks, I’ve realized, and you should also realize, that ELDs might not be the issue.  The issue is Hours of Service.”  While the ELD mandate presents a one-time economic hardship (especially to small owner-operators), the larger issue is that the reduced road time afforded by more stringent Hours of Service rules are taking a bite out of a carrier’s efficiency and profitability; particularly when drivers are made to wait at origins and destinations due to inefficient yard and DC operations.

Instead of looking to the Federal government to effectuate the much needed change, carriers should look to their customers – shippers – for relief.  I know.  That’s counter-intuitive.  But follow the logic.

In super tight capacity environments, carriers can be as choosy as they wish when it comes to accepting tenders.  We urge carriers to find and embrace shippers using the UltraShipTMS platform for transportation and logistics management.  UltraShip’s Advanced Scheduling module works by loading the unique operating schedules of a shipper’s every origin and destination, including each individual dock door.  UltraShipTMS provides a real-time scheduling interface accessible to transportation planners, carriers and even customers to view all available pickup and delivery times and select the best time to arrive.

Superior dock-door scheduling makes for smooth and efficient throughput at shipper DCs and facilities.  Active appointment scheduling at other origins and destinations allows for highly efficient, effective transportation planning and reduces (and in some cases even eliminates) long dwell times and delays waiting for loading/unloading.

So while the ELD units may be costly, carriers can mitigate the impact of the more stringent HOS reporting ELDs impose.  Hauling freight for shippers using UltraShipTMS and its Advanced Scheduling solution ensures carriers optimize their daily HOS, minimizing the pain inflicted by ELD use.  And it is a win for shippers too, because (as we discussed at great length in this webcast video with Adrian Gonzalez at Talking Logistics), carriers gravitate towards accepting tenders from shippers who demonstrate a willingness to respect carriers’ and truckers’ precious time – true competitive advantage in tight capacity times.

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