By Virgil Mahlstedt, Former McLeod Software Sales Advisor
Are you being asked to move more freight than ever before? If so, here are some thoughts about the ways that software technology can help you solve this nice problem you have:
• Boost efficiency
Software can assist you in reducing the empty miles by providing alerts via RANS or Filtering to Find Near. Fewer empty miles translates into more revenue-producing business. You can also use Out-of-Route alerts to reduce non-productive activity. Another place to focus your attention is the locations that take an excess of time to load or unload. Software can provide a constant averaging of the load/unload time by location. Keep track of this statistic so that you can try to correct the problem at these locations or even steer away from them altogether.
• Increase utilization
What is holding you back? If the tractors are the limiting factor, use software to manage relays or teams or a combination of the two. If drivers are the limiting factor, try finding new drivers through the Internet or by using HirePower to simplify the hiring process. You should also take steps to ensure you don’t lose the good drivers you already have. Toward this end, the built-in alerts on RDO and home locations can help you give the drivers the runs they request. Use the CSA information and driver scorecard tool to keep track of your efforts to meet driver expectations. If you are required to have appointments, the special design of the Appointments tool can help you avoid scheduling mishaps that waste time. And if a problem occurs or if there is an opportunity to speed things along, you want to know as quickly as possible. Stay on top of every load with ETA alerts that use Mobile Comm to provide up-to-the-minute visibility.
• Expand into alternate modes
Brokerage software will allow you to reach out to a host of other carriers with very little or no extra labor from your staff. This can help you meet the needs of your shippers without forcing your resources to bounce too far away. Another option is to use containers (Intermodal) for the linehaul portion of a movement. This frees up your equipment and allows you to increase your volume. Loadboards can also help. Posting your resources may net more local freight and posting distant loads may help another carrier. The end result is that both of you have less empty miles.
• Select the most profitable loads
Software can help you locate the best lanes, customers, commodities, locations, and such. Don’t fall into the trap of assuming that the higher rate-per-mile is always the most profitable business. There are many cost factors to consider and the Profitability Analysis program can sort all of this out for you.
• Streamline your billing process
DocumentPower can give you a great boost in your cash flow by reducing the Days of Sales Outstanding (DSO). This software puts invoicing documentation into the hands of the customer much faster than customary manual methods. Improve your cash flow and you’ll have more money to invest in equipment, marketing, and finding good drivers, all of which will expand your ability to capture more of the business available.
Right now is the time to improve your business. Be smart with the ways you use your technology and you will do exactly that.