Running a successful business requires managing costs effectively—transportation being a significant one for many companies. However, in today’s challenging economic environment, businesses are looking to go beyond simply managing costs to lowering them.

The good news is that there are many actions you can take to do exactly that. This article provides details on how to reduce what you spend on transportation.

Moving Your Business Forward for Less

Whether it’s inbound raw materials and components or outbound products, the movement of resources is the lifeblood of every business that produces or sells goods.

Getting everything where it needs to be when it needs to be there is a complex process. However, that complexity means there are many points at which you can make improvements that increase efficiency and lower your costs. And that’s how companies tend to achieve big savings—through small cost reductions across many areas.

Here are eight ways you can make your transportation operations more cost-effective:

1. Optimize drivers’ routes. “Taking the scenic route” does more than waste fuel and increase travel time (and, consequently, increase your expenses), although those losses can be costly. For drivers who make multiple stops, a poorly planned route can mean more loading or unloading work at each location. It can also mean that a semi trailer has an unbalanced load during much of its trek, which can affect everything from equipment wear and tear to safety.

So, a little time spent optimizing the path a driver takes between pickup or dropoff points can significantly affect your transportation budget.

2. Monitor your drivers. Recording data from your trucks and semi trailers can reveal all kinds of opportunities for improvement. For example, suppose you determine that a particular driver is accelerating and decelerating a little more vigorously than they should. You can point that out in a positive manner and encourage them to be a little gentler on the gas and brake pedals.

Operating their rig in that way can produce savings for your company in the form of increased fuel efficiency, decreased wear on brake system components and even reduced risk of cargo damage. And that’s just one example. You might notice that a driver deviates from their route for personal reasons, idles too long, etc.

3. Perform preventative maintenance on your trucks and semi trailers. Several advantages come from being proactive in maintaining your equipment. For instance, well-maintained vehicles and trailers run longer. They’re also less prone to breakdowns and all the associated costs. And, of course, missing delivery deadlines because of an equipment failure can hurt your company’s reputation and cost you future business opportunities.

4. Prioritize driver health. Truck drivers are a tough breed known for pushing through things like discomfort and lack of sleep to reach their destinations. However, that approach comes at a cost—namely, their physical and mental health. And when drivers finally succumb, you can find yourself missing deadlines, facing penalties for poor performance and scrambling to find a replacement.

Establishing guidelines focused on driver health helps you avoid these issues. And, beyond any rules you set, just taking a personal interest in how your drivers are feeling and encouraging them to stay well goes a long way.

5. Assess your storage capacity and adjust as needed. The frequency of trips to and from a business is often affected, to some degree, by its storage capacity. The more room there is to store materials or finished goods, the less time its trucks and semi trailers spend on the road. Does that mean you have to build or rent more warehouse space? Not necessarily.

You can start by determining whether you can increase the storage density in your existing space. Companies frequently find that they have more room for crates and other containers when they take a closer look at their warehouse practices. You can also consider the increasingly popular strategy of renting semi trailers and parking them on your lot or nearby to expand your storage capacity. The cost of this approach is far less than building or renting space. Plus, it’s a strategy that can flex and scale as your needs increase and decrease.

6. Educate your employees. While you may be focused on your company’s transportation costs because it’s your job, others may not have the same awareness. That’s why it’s a good idea to explain to drivers, warehouse workers and others that their actions affect costs and suggest how they can work more efficiently and cost-effectively.

7. Incentivize your employees. A helpful follow-on to educating your transportation team is providing incentives for them to be cost-conscious. When your efforts start picking up steam, you’ll likely find that even when you subtract some money from your cost savings for bonuses, gift cards, etc., you still come out far ahead financially.

8. Consider leasing semi trailers over owning them. Every company has different transportation obligations and a different budget. However, many find leasing semi trailers is more cost-effective than owning them.

Leasing provides many benefits—from not having unneeded trailers sitting idle to getting high-quality equipment expertly maintained by the provider. Plus, once you’ve established a relationship with a semi trailer leasing and rental company, you know who to turn to when you suddenly have an urgent need for more transportation capacity.

Let’s Talk About Your Transportation Costs!

One of the advantages of working with Boxwheel Trailer Leasing at any of our locations around the country is that you get semi trailers backed by professionals with decades of experience and a well-earned reputation for transparency in our dealings with clients.

We’re happy to take the time to learn about your business and determine if renting or leasing semi trailers is in your best interest. If it’s not, we’ll tell you that and look forward to working with you down the road if our inventory of trailers from the world’s best manufacturers—Great Dane, Wabash, Utility, etc.—can ever be useful to you!

Whether you need semi trailers today or simply want to understand your options, contact Boxwheel! Let’s see if we can be a part of your transportation cost reduction efforts.

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