Month: January 2015

Preventing Securement Violations

Complying with safety regulations can be extremely stressful just from the shear mass of regulations. Regulating cargo securement entails some of the most complex rules we have to satisfy as well. There are many different rules dependent upon the type of cargo and trucks that go with them. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in heavy fines and points to fleets’ safety scores. With the new flatbed division at Farm2Fleet, any prospective drivers should start to consider these issues that are less common in dry van logistics.

The most common violation in this sector of the industry is “failure to prevent shifting cargo,” with “leaking cargo” right behind it. These two violations are the broadest in their categories and amount for the majority of the violations. There are three more violations that are commonly enforced and easily fixed. The first being “damaged securement system” which includes damaged straps as the most common reason. Another common citation is loose or unfastened straps, which can occur when trailers travel over bumps in the road. The third very common violation is failure to meet minimum tie down requirements; which can be violated in multiple different ways. These include in weight, length, and quantity.

All of these violations are easily avoided by taking a couple extra minutes to check all your cargo and tie downs before and during your load. With checking your securement periodically you can prevent having loose, unattached, and damaged tie downs. These extra percussions can save you and you money throughout the year.

Electronic Logging Mandate

The electronic logging device mandate, also known as ELD mandate, is getting some hype here lately. This mandate will force drivers, who do not already have an ELD, to get one installed. Obviously, there are people on both side of the argument for this mandate.

Many drivers are threating to retire if this mandate is passed. Studies are showing that 71 percent of independent driver would rather retire than utilize this device. When we apply these numbers to carriers with fifteen trucks; there is a 10 truck drop which can ultimately put a carrier out of business. Many experts thinks the threats are just that and many won’t act on them. Often, the people that are saying they are going to retire have been in this industry for many years and don’t want to deal with the hassle of dealing with ELD’s. As for the drivers who have already switched over to ELD they have found them to be extraordinarily helpful with their logs, IFTA, and communication with dispatch.

We are interested in what you have to say about this. Does anybody have an ELD system already? How do you like it? If not are you willing to install one in your truck? Why or why not? Please let us know how you feel on this subject.

Inspections

Last year there may have been minimal changes in the intensity of inspections conducted in most states, however some states made major leaps that you may not be aware of. Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Nevada witnessed major adjustments in their inspection levels and made it to the top ten for most detailed inspections. Two factors contribute to the way this intensity level is measured. First, the number of inspections held in the state in a given year. The second is the number of highway miles contained within the state. This gives a ratio of inspection levels based on size. It is also important to keep in mind that many of these states have a different ratio of roadside and fixed location inspections. Some of the states in the top ten have more than sixty percent of their inspections on roadside. With these things in mind, be aware when traveling, you may want to add travel time to allow for an inspection just in case. As always, conducting proper pre-trip and post-trip inspections can help get you through these inspections a whole lot faster.

Cost Per Mile

For Owner Operators the cost of running a truck can be intimidating at first. There are many expenses plaguing these business owners and in order to combat that, the driver needs to have a thorough understanding of the specific fixed and variable costs they come across each month. By determining these costs, they can extract a revenue value that is necessary to cover the cost of operations and still produce reasonable profit.
When calculating cost per mile, there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind. The first is that you want to consider your costs within an extended period of time. Measuring cost daily, can give you some useful information, but determining patterns and variability month to month in your expenses can provide you with much more insightful data. Next is determining what cost you have in operation. Fuel, insurance, truck payments, maintenance, etc. are all examples of common costs to owner operator’s. Personal expenses should be included as well. Meals, showers, etc. are all expenses that seem minor at first, but add up very quickly. You will need to find your cost per mile. This is calculated by dividing your costs by the mileage you ran in the same measured time period. For example, if in one month you ran 10,000 miles and your cost in that month was $5,000, your cost per miles would be $0.50/mi.
Finally, compare your rate per mile to your cost per mile. The difference is your profit per mile. You can increase your profit per mile by cutting down expenses where possible or finding ways to achieve better fuel economy. If you are still struggling to make ends meet, you may need to evaluate the rate per mile you are requesting when booking freight. All in all, the cost of operation for an owner operator may be high, but there is no reason one can’t be successful and profitable. All it takes is planning and a basic understanding of business management.