If you have ever had to spend what seemed like hours looking for a parking spot, you know that it can turn into what feels like the longest time of your life. Now imagine trying to find that same parking spot after working 10 hours straight. You can not even stop and get out until you find a place to park. Sound bad? Oh yes, I forgot to mention that you are driving a 60 foot long vehicle. That lot you see up ahead has “no vehicle over 30’ allowed” sign. You are tired, hungry, and you miss your family. But even after 30 minutes of looking for a place, there are none to be found. Finally, 45 minutes and 10 miles away from your destination, you find a place.
This is what many truck drivers experience every day they are out on the road. Parking can be a tough thing when you are driving a big rig. According to the American Transportation Research Institute, about 63% of drivers are taking 15 minutes or more each day to look for parking in the time window of 4:00 pm to 11:59 pm. That means that over the course of a year, each driver spends approximately 65 hours looking for a place to park. Yes, 65 HOURS. Essentially 1.5 work weeks each year just looking for a place to park. Often times, when the driver does find a place to park, the times he is allowed to park there are restricted, further complicating his rest schedule.
What can you as a shipper do to help alleviate this?
- Allow drivers to park on your premises while waiting for a pick up or delivery appointment. Yes, space may be limited, but even if you make room for 1 or 2 trucks, you will be helping a driver stay rested and focused. Additionally, you will improve the relationship with your drivers, exponentially improving your retention rate. This is critical in the current tight capacity market!
- Load and unload trucks in a timely manner. A Department of Transportation general audit found that detention time is costing drivers $1 billion dollars per year and that a 15 minute wait time can increase the accident rate by up to 7%. If your dock is empty, put a truck in it! Drivers do not like to wait to be loaded or unloaded. Plus, the faster you can get trucks in and out of a dock, the more shipments you’ll be able to take in and put out.
- Become a preferred shipper for carriers. With freight demands up and the new ELD requirements in place, drivers will have to become much more pickier in choosing where to pick up. If you are a shipper with higher wait times, drivers are more likely to choose other shippers, further delaying your shipments.
What can you as a driver do?
- Be respectful. In the same way drivers talk, shipping managers talk to their dock workers. If you as a driver are rude and disrespectful, that is a reflection on you and the entire driver population.
- Be on time and communicate. Many of the docks you are going into are busy. Yes, there can be delays in transportation and we are all aware of that, but communicate. There is nothing more frustrating than hearing a driver say “I’m 15 minutes away”, only to still be waiting 2 hours later!!
How can NEXT Trucking be used to your advantage?
- Shippers: With our online tracking, you can see exactly where the driver is. Check the traffic around them and if you see they are still 30 minutes out, pull an available truck into the dock and get it loaded! Additionally, by having all your forms generated and kept on the NEXT for Shippers platform, you can save valuable time finding and distributing documents. Streamline your loading dock and become the shipper of choice.
- Drivers: Get on the NEXT Trucking app. It is free to download and easy to use. Find your next load fast and easy. Gone are the days of spending 20 minutes on hold with a broker only to find out that the load you are calling about was booked 15 minutes ago. If you see a load you want and the price is right, just smash that “book load” button, and it is yours!
These may seem like little things, but to both transportation managers and drivers, these little things can add up to big improvements to your business’ supply chains.
If you would like a demo of how the software can become valuable to you and your team or your fleet, you can reach Tim on LinkedIn or email him at email@example.com.