What is the worst trailer you can have? An empty one. Sitting still. In an unknown location. And you’re still paying for registration, permits and insurance on it. Do you have any of those in your fleet? How do you know?
On the flip side, the best trailer is one that is loaded, moving, generating revenue day after day. Why can’t all your trailers be like that one?
All companies want to maximize the utilization of their assets. The holy grail of fleet management is, of course, 100% utilization of fleet assets. But numerous observers cite that the industry average is actually about 50%. This figure includes trucks as well as trailers, but it is clear that there is a lot of room for improvement.
There are three common mistakes that cause many trailer fleets to fall short when it comes to asset utilization.
Mistake #1: Your fleet is too big
This mistake is much more common than you might think. After all, you should always have enough trailers to satisfy all your customers’ demands, right? Not necessarily. Everything is fine in times of peak demand if your fleet is operating at full utilization. However, we all know this is unlikely even in good times, because most organizations are fighting for revenue every day, which means they need access to equipment should a business they are quoting agree to use them. If they own 100% of their fleet, that means a percentage is always idle.
Here’s a better way to look at it: Real optimization would be for you to determine the intrinsic (minimum) level of tonnage needed and buy to that level. In times of higher demand, you can quickly supplement your fleet size by renting or leasing trailers.
A trailer you own sitting idle generates no revenue, and in fact is a continual drain on the company with insurance, registration and permits. Fleets that rent or lease only take on the utilization risk for the term of the contract.
At Premier, our representatives are experienced experts in the trailer industry. Let us show you the financial and operational benefits of renting and leasing trailers to optimize the size of your fleet.
Mistake #2: Part of your fleet is lost
A shipper unloads your trailer and forgets about it. A trailer never gets picked up after a delivery. A physical inventory has inaccuracies, so trailers in the yard are gathering cobwebs. According to some industry reports, as much as 10% of the typical fleet’s inventory may be unaccounted for. Or you may know that a trailer is sitting on a shipper’s lot, but not whether it has been unloaded and is ready for pickup. A U.S. Department of Transportation report has concluded that time spent detained at shipper or receiver facilities costs the industry approximately $1.6 billion annually in lost carrier income and truck driver pay. Excess detention time, with a driver waiting, has also been shown to adversely affect industry safety and driver retention.
To truly maximize trailer utilization, you need to put all your trailers to work as effectively as possible. Fleet tracking and cargo sensing technology can keep track of all your trailers and their load status. Premier equips our trailers with FleetLocate® and IntelliScan®, the industry’s most advanced systems for monitoring and managing your trailer fleet.
FleetLocate provides up-to-the minute GPS tracking that can show you with pinpoint accuracy the location of every trailer in your fleet. It also features geofencing that helps eliminate route deviation and unauthorized usage. IntelliScan uses a combination of optical imaging and laser technology to provide a precise picture of a trailer’s contents, scanning an entire 53' trailer much more quickly, accurately and reliably than the ultrasonic sensors used by other providers.
Other benefits of these technologies include accurate, up-to-date trailer inventories; reduced labor costs when collecting trailer pool data; and identification of demand trends versus supply over time and by location. Improved routing efficiency can also increase residual equipment value.
Mistake #3: Save money by cutting back on maintenance
No one likes to pull a money-making asset off the road, especially for something that can wait, such as routine maintenance. Plus, maintenance costs are hard to predict, fluctuating due to external factors such as the price of oil, tightness in the labor market, fuel cost, etc. But they are consistently rising. There is a temptation to reduce overall costs by extending service intervals. As with any piece of equipment, deferred service and maintenance decreases the life span of equipment and increases the chance of an expensive, time-consuming breakdown.
Premier offers a maintenance option that includes scheduled maintenance performed quickly and conveniently at any of our nationwide locations. If you prefer, we can send a maintenance team to your location. Plus, Premier’s late-model fleet is always kept in excellent condition, minimizing the chance of a need for roadside repair. If repair is ever needed, we provide 24-hour roadside assistance for all our trailers. Premier takes the hassle out of fleet maintenance and does it for a fixed fee that makes budgeting simple and predictable.
Put our expertise, innovation and service to work for you
Helping you make sure your fleet assets are fully utilized is one of the important ways we work to provide our clients with competitive advantages. We partner with our clients to provide effective solutions to the industry’s most pressing challenges. We invest in systems and components such as air ride suspensions, trailer tracking, aluminum roofs, Purkey’s charging systems , lift gate battery monitoring, two-way refrigeration monitoring and control , fuel sensors and solar panels, all for the purpose of helping our clients do business more simply, efficiently, and profitably.