It’s been a wild ride for the trucking industry over the past few years. The global pandemic, Russia’s war against Ukraine, and the drastic spike in demand have strained the American trucking industry nearly to its breaking point. The fact that it didn’t collapse is a testament to American truckers.
While it comes as a bit of a mixed blessing, demand is finally starting to ease, essentially for the first time since 2020, which means freight rates are dropping. While easing up on the pressure of maintaining the steady flow of the supply chain is excellent, it could also mean lean times for trucking firms.
Such has always been the flow of the trucking industry as it’s either feast or famine, and seldom (if ever) is there a happy balance between demand and available capacity. To that end, now is the perfect time to start zeroing in on the most crucial aspect of the trucking industry, weight.
Why Underweight Loads are just as Problematic as Overweight Loads
Overweight loads are fairly straightforward in terms of what types of damage they can cause. Hefty fines and penalties, potential jail time for the driver, excessive wear and tear on equipment, and hazardous driving conditions are all excellent reasons to ensure a load is weighted and balanced correctly.
Conversely, underweight loads can be equally problematic, but for entirely different reasons. One of the most critical issues with underweight loads is that it utterly destroys efficiency. Deadhead miles or partial loads can significantly limit profit potential, as well as increase overhead costs such as increased fuel consumption, vehicle wear and tear, tolls, and hours of service for drivers.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of moving parts that can interfere with proper loading, most notably a tight delivery schedule. With the obvious exceptions of peak season and unusually high demand, tight schedules can often be attributed to inefficiency, creating a self-perpetuating cycle.
Being Busy isn’t Always a Good Thing
When efficiency drops, it might seem like a company is busy all the time. In truth, they’re scrambling to make up for lost time created by the inefficiency in the first place.
For example, if a trucking firm is perpetually underloading by even as little as ten percent, that means for every ten loads, an 11th needs to be run to make up the difference. In addition to the added costs mentioned above, there also has to be a consideration for assets being tied up to make up the difference. Utilizing a truck to make up for underloading means that, that truck can’t be used for a separate (profitable) load.
The question is, what can trucking firms and drivers do to make sure they’re carrying the right amount of weight to maximize every load? Fortunately, there is a simple answer to this question, on-board scales.
Getting the Right Weight Every Time
Ideally, every truckload (FTL and LTL) should fall right in the “Goldilocks Zone,” not too much and not too little. However, making sure you have the right amount of weight while the truck is being loaded is typically easier said than done. While most warehouses typically have a scale system in place, truckers are at the mercy of those scales being calibrated. So we have to ask, “Why leave it to chance?”
Using an on-board scale system takes the guesswork out of weight loads and eliminates the risk of expensive, time-consuming surprises when pulling into a weigh station. Imagine if a driver could receive real-time alerts on their smartphone if a truck is under (or over) loaded while the truck is being loaded? How much time and money could that save?
Air-Weigh is an industry in accuracy for on-board scale systems. Real-time data collection alerts drivers when a truck is approaching its maximum load and when the maximum has been exceeded. Accurate and durable, these scales are perfect for any straight or work truck, from commercial side-loading refuse trucks to delivery vans to cement trucks.
Visit us today and see how Air-Weigh can help you maximize every truckload.