On March 16th, Skirmantas Strimaitis discovered he was the lone passenger on a Boeing 737-800 with a seating capacity of 189 people headed from Vilnius, Lithuania to Bergamo, Italy. When tour operator company Novaturas realized the flight they had chartered earlier for guests was going to fly back empty, they decided to put one-way tickets on sale in an attempt to generate additional profit on a trip they had to take regardless. This process is one commonly referred to in the supply chain industry as filling backhaul miles, which has become vital to the success of supply chains worldwide.
Courtesy Skirmantas Strimaitis
How Can This Concept Help Companies?
Whether freight is moving via flight, drive, or boat ride, all modes of transportation have one thing in common- the trip back. It has to happen, so why not utilize it? Through filling their backhaul miles with additional freight, fleets are largely improving their business. Delivering additional freight on a trip that they had to take anyways is generating additional revenue and reducing the amount of gas waste simultaneously. Having truck drivers deliver at a time where they have to commute regardless helps lower the cost of labor and maintenance necessary for the fleet to run smoothly.
Why Aren’t More People Doing it?
It may seem puzzling that filling backhaul miles isn’t common procedure if it is as helpful as it sounds. This is largely due to the fact that organizing and managing backhauls has proven to be time-consuming and oftentimes expensive. There are limitations as to how far and for how long drivers can be on the roads, which often makes it difficult to find feasible opportunities to execute backhauls in the first place. Routes that are already being driven face even more challenges because they are operating steadily and adding a backhaul can sometimes seem to be impossible based on location.
What Do We Do?
The most efficient and effective way to start filling backhaul miles is to utilize technology. Doing so allows companies to work even more efficiently and removes some of the pressure from the process. For example, Kuebix created FleetMAX, which is a program that matches backhaul capacity with freight to consistently reduce the number of empty miles and make the most of each trip. It simplifies the process of scrambling to find freight and provides real-time visibility into routes that have been planned and the locations and movement of freight. Letting a program like FleetMAX do the heavy lifting in a process as involved as filling backhaul capacity makes it a much more feasible task for all supply chains.