Creating Fleet Capacity to Maximize Shipper Savings

Record freight rates during the past two years have increased the savings potential for shippers to shift more loads over to private and dedicated fleets.

Using freight brokers and for-hire carriers in today’s market is a budget buster. The dry van spot market ended 2021 with rates 46% higher than the national average of the four years prior. The costly rate trend has continued in 2022.

The National Private Truck Council reports the average cost per mile for private fleets in 2021 was $2.90. Much of that comprises sunk costs. So, even with some out-of-route miles to pick up an additional load, the cost savings from avoiding an extra trip or going to a for-hire carrier are significant.

This leaves shippers looking for solutions to maximize the number of loads they can assign to their own drivers and private fleets. With today’s rates, even adding one more load per week, per driver, can be a major cost savings. It also improves driver retention when shippers can put more money into drivers’ pockets.

Keeping shipments on the private fleet versus commercial carriers helps control costs and service. Now, a tool can give shippers instant recommendations for how to maximize the number of loads per day or week that their private fleets can haul.

Ready for Prime Time

PCS Software is helping shippers automate the daily search for cost-saving transport options by offering customers an embedded, AI-powered engine to use in the load planning process.

PCS Software has introduced Prime Express, a transportation management platform (TMP) with optimization technology that solves a major challenge for shippers with private fleets: analyzing the entire network to create private fleet capacity to take on additional loads.

The savings of optimizing one additional load per truck each week on the private fleet can add up to millions of dollars annually. Additionally, the platform helps shippers reduce empty miles.

A common miss for private fleets is capitalizing on backhauls. Dedicated routes often incur significant deadhead that may be factored into the rate. Besides reducing cost, smart fleets know that filling these miles also offers an opportunity for additional revenue. Prime Express identifies loads enroute that minimize empty miles without disrupting defined networks.

The Extras of Prime Express

Prime Express does not just focus on what happens over the road. The technology also offers benefits in the back office by automating the dispatch process.

Consider a 250-truck fleet with 600 loads that need to be planned. That work would take hours if done manually. Prime Express does it more efficiently and effectively in seconds. If new loads come in or more drivers become available, a simple click can re-optimize.

Prime Express creates the space for staff to analyze its solutions rather than solving each problem themselves. That leaves more time for employees to support drivers and customers.

The time savings also helps shippers blend the use of their private fleet with for-hire carriers. Transportation managers have more capacity to onboard new contract carriers without relying solely on the spot market. Efforts that were previously spent chasing capacity can go toward analyzing lanes to gain an understanding of what must stay private and where commercial carriers offer the greatest gains. That move alone can significantly improve margin.

More time to strategize

Besides capturing more loads for the private fleet, Prime Express helps shippers improve service by giving transportation managers the ability to solve load planning problems throughout the workday as new problems arise. Drivers may call in sick, equipment breaks down, or loads fall through routing guides that need coverage.

What used to take hours for planning dispatch can be done within minutes, freeing up time to focus on more strategic items like sourcing capacity from new carriers — possibly for a lower price than your private fleet — as well as strengthening relationships with core carriers.

In an age when “on-time in-full” penalties can reach into the thousands, missing pick-up and delivery deadlines can be devastating to a company’s bottom line. The platform factors on-time service into every load planning decision ensuring OTIF misses are O-V-E-R.

Learn more about Prime Express and see the system in action. Discover why shippers and fleets across the country are saying goodbye to manual load planning.