Fleet Backhaul Management - Kuebix

What You Need to Do to Make Fleet Backhaul Management Easy

Fleet backhaul management is a notoriously difficult task that fleet owners and operators are all too familiar with. When a truck returns from making a delivery it is usually empty. This is known as “driving empty” or “empty miles.” Even though there is no freight on the trailer, drivers still need to be paid, fuel is used up and trucks depreciate in value. The expense of empty miles are usually calculated into the freight rate ahead of time, but this capacity still presents an opportunity for fleet owners to generate additional revenue for direct bottom-line impact.

Instead of having fleet assets return empty, finding freight to haul on the return trip can create a win-win situation for both the shipper and the fleet owner. Shippers find a new, valuable source of capacity and fleets generate bottom-line revenue. So why has it been so hard up until now to manage fleet backhauls?

Why Traditional Fleet Backhaul Management is So Difficult

Managing a fleet is difficult enough without finding freight to carry on the return trip. When companies do try to generate some additional revenue by filling empty backhaul miles, they can find themselves wasting more time sourcing opportunities than actually moving freight.

Loads Must Meet Certain Parameters

The process of finding available freight is more complicated than simply finding freight that needs to move in the opposite direction the original delivery is headed. There are many other parameters that need to be considered too. Things like Haz-Mat, food-grade and temp control all need to be taken into account. Other parameters like noise regulation or truck size in neighborhoods can also make a difference between a good opportunity and an impossible one.

For example, a truckload order of refrigerated groceries leaves York, PA heading to New York City. After it leaves from New York, the truck typically drives back to York, PA with an empty trailer. The fleet owner looks for a food-grade backhaul opportunity along this route. If they’re lucky, the fleet owner might find a load that needs to travel from Allentown to Harrisburg or even directly back to York. This would reduce the total number of empty miles driven.

Finding Opportunities and Getting Paid Can Be Challenging

This scenario adds bottom-line revenue for the company. But finding that opportunity is easier said than done. It can take an entire team of logistics professionals to source and secure that backhaul opportunity. After the opportunity has been successfully matched with the truck type and other delivery parameters, the fleet still needs a way to invoice for its work and get paid. Doing one-off deliveries for a variety of shippers can be a headache for everyone involved.

Since the process of finding, booking and getting paid for backhaul freight is so difficult and time-consuming, it’s no wonder that many fleet owners decide not to look for backhaul opportunities and stick to their everyday fleet management.

How to Make Fleet Backhaul Management Easy

The answer is to tap into a community.

Fleet backhaul management becomes easy when fleets find and connect with an existing community of shippers and brokers looking for capacity. Instead of individually sourcing loads on a one-by-one basis, fleets instead have a single source to work through. Programs like Kuebix FleetMAX are giving fleets an easy way to expose their available capacity to thousands of shippers while at the same time streamlining the AR/AP process.

Why Kuebix FleetMAX is a Game Changer

With FleetMAX, Kuebix’s technology digitally matches fleet capacity with freight to obtain consistent and repetitive external backhauls to offset empty miles, add revenue to fleet operations, and provide shippers/brokers a new source of trusted capacity.

Kuebix also overcomes the administrative obstacle of charging the shipper and collecting the funds. With FleetMAX, all of the financials and settlements are managed through one of the most trusted names in the industry, Estes Truckload Management, relieving private fleets of these administrative challenges.

After a fleet joins the network through FleetMAX, their open capacity becomes available to Kuebix’s connected shipping community which includes thousands of shippers and brokers looking for capacity. For fleets, this means they can focus on picking up and delivering orders, not chasing opportunities or managing individual contracts with shippers.

Click here to learn more about getting started managing your fleet backhauls with FleetMAX!

Kuebix Shipping Community

Shipper Adoption is the Key to a Successful Shipping Community [Infographic]

How Can Shipping Communities Gain Shipper Adoption?

For a shipping community to be successful it needs to be built upon a transportation management system (TMS). Shippers want to conduct all of their business through a single, connected platform. When they leverage a robust TMS to manage their logistics operations, they can rate, book, and track all of their shipments for every mode through a single window. When they are looking for additional capacity to supplement their negotiated rates, it makes sense that they’d want to use their main source of transportation management to find that capacity.

A TMS is the natural place to house a spot market where shippers can easily get spot quotes for their freight. That’s because users automatically form the basis of the shipping community that will use the spot market. When the shipper can’t get their freight covered as they need with a negotiated rate, they can seamlessly pivot to a built-in spot market where community members can collaborate to find efficiencies. Unlike a disconnected freight marketplace outside of their normal processes, their TMS joins disparate marketplaces, brokers, carriers, and fleets to make it easy for shippers to find additional capacity through the network.

 

Not Just Any TMS Will Do, Though.

Most transportation management systems aren’t designed to have a successful community built upon them. For a start, the TMS needs to be capable of handling its users’ every need. That means every mode needs to be covered by the platform and the TMS must integrate directly with any ERP system. Reporting and tracking functionality are also important along with many other features lower-level TMSs simply can’t provide. Simply put, the TMS must be built for small and enterprise sized customers and everyone in between. Features that can be modularly added as the company’s needs change also increase usership since shippers only pay for what they use. Users must to be able to complete all of their logistics operations inside the TMS to keep them engaged with the system and using it routinely.

On the other hand, the TMS needs to be accessible by the masses. Many small businesses can benefit from streamlining their operations with the help of technology. By offering both free and affordable subscription versions of the software, the TMS can rapidly gain more usership by tapping into a segment of shippers in the industry that would otherwise never be able to be connected to collaboration opportunities. When more users join the network, every other user benefits. This is known as the “Network Effect,” a phenomenon where each additional user of a tool increases the value of the tool for every other user.

Kuebix Community Load Match

Kuebix Community Load Match is the spot market built upon Kuebix TMS that any member of Kuebix’s shipping community can take advantage of and is just one of the benefits members receive by belonging to the network. This spot market connects shippers with available truckload capacity without making them leave the system. With Community Load Match, every shipper can discover additional savings on truckload freight by connecting with Kuebix’s vast ecosystem of dedicated truckload carriers.

Currently, Kuebix has over 16,000 companies using the TMS. This group is made up of companies of all sizes, some using Kuebix Free Shipper, some Business Pro users and some Enterprise users with extensive logistics operations. No matter what type of account a user has, however, they are part of Kuebix’s shipping community and can leverage Community Load Match. This makes Kuebix an ideal partner for carriers, brokers, fleet owners, and other freight marketplaces to expose their capacity through.

As the community grows, more opportunities are created and even more shippers and companies with capacity join the network! This is why shipper adoption is the key to growing and maintaining a successful shipping community.