Load weight is a critical concern for trucking companies and owner-operators, as overloading and underloading can both lead to significant financial losses. Underloading has been an ongoing issue in the industry, even dating back to the 1920s, as highlighted by the Sacramento Union newspaper. In this article, we will discuss the three main reasons why underloading has a negative impact on carriers and the transportation industry.
Underloading Leaves Profit Behind
The most straightforward reason underloading has a negative impact on the bottom line is leaving profit on the dock. When you don’t load to your maximum capacity, you are reducing your potential for profit.
Making Up Loads
Underloading also costs money by requiring you to make up loads. For example, if you run 10 loads, and each load is 10% underloaded, by the end of the 10th run, you would be a full load short on profit. This would require you to find another load to make up the difference. Running an additional load costs time, money for maintenance, fuel, and other expenses. This also has a negative impact on our highway infrastructure with an increase in the number of loads, while also increasing the amount of congestion on our highways.
Running More Loads
Frequent underloading can also be a major problem for trucking operations due to the need to run more loads. While this may give the appearance that your company is busy, it does not always equate to profitability. Running extra loads increases fuel costs and vehicle maintenance, leading to a costly and inefficient cycle.
Two Real World Examples of the Benefits of Accurate Load Weighing
One example of the benefits of accurate load weighing is from a customer who hauls brewer’s grain. Before using Air-Weigh’s scales, the driver would have to get out of the truck, walk up on a catwalk, open a chute, and load the trailer from the top, based on a line marked inside the trailer. However, the consistency of brewer’s grain is never the same, so the weight was never accurate. After loading, the driver would have to go to the front to get weighed, and if they were underloaded, they would have to decide whether to go back and add more grain or leave some weight at the site. If they were overloaded, they would have to jump into the trailer and shovel out the grain until they were legal.
With Air-Weigh’s on-board scales, the drivers can accurately measure the weight in real time. This allows a driver to maximize the payload every time without having to jump into the trailer and shovel out the grain, which is a safety concern. They no longer worry about leaving payload behind or risking overweight fines, leading to increased profitability.
A second example is from a large beverage hauler that uses Air-Weigh’s on-board scales for efficiency and optimization. The drivers often underloaded to avoid overweight fines and the need to find an out of the way in-ground scale to check their weight, but they were never sure how much they were underloading. Once they started using Air-Weigh’s on-board scales, they realized they were sometimes underloading by 15-20%. By integrating Air-Weigh’s on-board scales with their telematics platform, they receive real-time back-office monthly reports that show the performance of each asset, allowing them to identify and fix underloading issues and maximize efficiency and profitability.
Air-Weigh On-Board Scale solutions can be one of the most important things you can add to your fleet. The data is vital to optimizing operations.
Interested in finding out how our on-board scales can work for you? Contact us and we’ll find a customized solution for your needs.