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.