Decreasing deadheading in trucking: how carriers are turning to data to maximize assets

Adam RobinsonFreight Market Blog

deadheading in trucking

Both enterprise shippers and carriers have had many changes and disruptions to overcome in a noticeably short period. Those that held on in 2020 continue to face obstacles as recovery begins. And there remain significant problems within the industry. Trucking capacity is tight, and deadheading is the precursor of even stricter capacity. Think about it. One of the biggest challenges facing the industry right now is deadheading. Wasting resources and assets cost managers a pretty penny. Fortunately, smart data utilization can help reduce deadheading occurrences and make the entire supply chain more profitable. And it’s essential to understand why. 

The problem of deadheading in trucking

Waste matters in the shipping industry because every instance leads to higher freight costs. More money going out than is coming in is never a profitable business model. Finding quality loads for moves on trips that would have otherwise remained empty is the best way to reduce deadheading. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most challenging waste areas to address. By utilizing effective trucking RFP protocols, freight managers can ensure trucks stay filled on every leg of every trip. And that may very well include outsourcing to 3PLs, brokers or other transportation providers as needed, explains the Harvard Business Review. This increases profits while ensuring fuel and maintenance expenses are justified with profitable loads.

More carriers are pursuing ways to measure profitability per load and track operating ratios

Of course, carriers want their transportation networks to be as profitable as possible. It can be challenging to build a platform from scratch. Most freight managers are not qualified for this kind of operation, so forming partnerships with 3PLs is vital. Where a supply chain is weak, analysis and advisory teams can fill in the gaps – seeing the correlations between data points and real-time load operations and profits highlights potential problem areas. This will help in reducing rampant deadheading.

Applied data lowers the risk of over-valuing or under-valuing trucking costs

 Dynamic routing and accurate real-time freight data can help reduce deadheading within a supply chain network. An effective active routing program allows for the inclusion of data points and analysis to be factored in. Rather than making decisions based on little to no data or, even worse, old data, shipping managers can make informed decisions. Having access to freight data that can be accessed and shared on-demand streamlines the process. 

Data helps to ensure carriers make crucial accept versus reject decisions

Stronger performance and reduced waste will increase productivity and profitability. Staying focused on short- and long-term goals by monitoring freight and logistics KPIs is vital. Access to data for tracking and analysis is critical for success and growth. The best way to avoid deadheading is by on-demand freight data analysis. Problems arise when companies cannot respond to order requests, capacity opportunities and/or customer requests. Furthermore, carriers will better determine their most lucrative business relationships to make split-second “accept or reject” decisions.

Data analytics enable predictive modeling to guide RFP responses to shippers and brokers

Shippers and brokers alike can benefit from data analysis and predictive modeling and predictive freight rates. With that in mind, the trucking RFP has become more vital than ever, considering the disruptions that occurred in 2020. A confident, data-driven trucking RFP setup can make a difference in freight spend, truck capacity and profit margins. Overcoming deadheading will primarily rely on predictive analysis to onboard new lanes, new customers and new businesses. In turn, that will help feed more data into the goals of better transportation modeling and improved response processes. 

Tapping into the power of innovative transportation networks can improve operational performance

Strong partnerships and transportation networks can make a world of difference in operational performance. It is easier to home in on the loads, orders, customers, and lanes that are the most profitable by seeing what is happening. Working with professional team members and establishing strong partnerships in the industry is key to overcoming deadheading. It’s a fundamental business practice, after all.

Eliminate deadheading with freight data analytics and insight from FreightWaves SONAR

Many shipping and freight organizations struggle with rampant waste and deadheading within their trucking lines. This is why asset utilization is so vital to the supply chain network. Tracking that data is great, but to truly boost profits and monitor operating ratios and expenses, practical application is needed. Robust and reliable partnerships are critical to success now and in the years ahead. It’s time to act. So, request a FreightWaves SONAR demo or simply click the button below to get started.