Right-sizing Your Fleet
By Joseph Evangelist
Executive Vice President, Transervice
As originally appeared in FleetOwner Magazine’s IdeaXchange
When was the last time you sat down and evaluated whether or not you needed all the trucks you currently have in your fleet? Or if you have the right mix of trucks to efficiently complete all your deliveries?
If you are like most fleet owners, as long as the deliveries are being made, you probably assume that you have the right size fleet for your operation. However, it is very possible that you may have too many trucks in your fleet or the wrong mix of trucks and trailers.
Right-sizing starts with taking an inventory of both the trucks and trailers you currently have in your fleet. Note key specs and determine your tractor-trailer ratio. Do you have the right amount of power? Do you need all the sleeper cabs you have or can you get by with more day cabs? Do your drivers get paid by the hour or on productivity pay? Do you have the right mix of trailer sizes? Pay attention to how often you are cubing or weighing out as well as how your vehicles are loaded and unloaded.
Then look at routes and delivery schedules to see how they mesh with the equipment currently in your fleet. Calculate asset utilization rates. It is difficult to achieve 100 percent utilization, but you want these rates to be has high as possible as it relates to your type of operation.
If you were to change routing or delivery schedules, could you improve the utilization of any of your assets? If the answer is “yes,” you may be able to dispose of some assets that are not being utilized to their fullest.
There are many benefits to right-sizing your fleet, not the least of which is saving money. All the technology that has been added to trucks in the past five years has increased costs significantly. In addition, you have expenses to insure, store and fuel those vehicles.
Eliminating an unnecessary asset could mean one less driver you’ll need to hire. And given the cost of recruiting and retaining drivers, plus the difficulty of finding them in the first place, this is no small benefit.
While it may take time to take an inventory of your assets and review routing and delivery schedules, in the end it can pay big dividends.