Michael Buerger – February 8, 2023
Fleet vehicles, such as vans, SUVs, trucks or cars used by organizations nationwide, are the machines that literally keep companies running. From local handymen to national telecommunication conglomerates, businesses rely on their fleet vehicles to transport both workers and materials wherever they need to go. If you’re a business owner, how exactly do you get your vehicles where they need to go? Shipping trucks to different locations is the cost of doing business, but that cost becomes bloated when mismanaged. Fortunately, finding a reliable and cost-saving transport system today is easier to attain than it used to be.
Fleet transport needs
If you have a handful of trucks that need to be moved each year, manually arranging and overseeing their shipments is probably something your staff can handle. When the number of trucks approaches hundreds or thousands, however, coordinating and overseeing their transport becomes a monumental task. The most obvious factors to consider when transporting any number of fleet vehicles is to make sure those vehicles get from A to B not only reliably but at an affordable cost. While these items carry assumed importance, both can be difficult to measure.
Reliability is subjective. You (along with your leadership staff) are the only ones who can truly decide the range of reliability that is not only appropriate, but acceptable, for your operations. Are you being provided with ETA’s that are reasonably met? Can you track your shipment status? How long are your vehicles sitting, waiting for pickup? Are you looking at days or weeks? Will any significant vehicle downtime delay operations and, if so, at what cost? If you felt uncomfortable answering these questions, there’s most likely room for improvement.
Cost is less subjective, but still difficult to get an accurate feel for. Auto transport prices are dependent on a number of factors – locations, demand, seasonal variation, labor market and diesel fuel prices to name a few. This results in a continuously fluctuating market. Keeping a finger on the pulse of these changes can quickly become a full-time job. Obtaining a pricing model that is affordable and importantly, consistent, goes a long way towards the long-term sustainability of your logistics approach.
Approaches to logistics management vary depending on the needs and scale of each individual business. Small operations with predictable vehicle shipping patterns ideally will find “a guy” or a trucking company to deal with directly when the need arises. Unfortunately, 90% of trucking companies in the United States operate six trucks or less- all of which need to be constantly operating to turn a profit. A single transportation company simply cannot handle the transport demands for mass quantities of vehicles in a timely manner.
Companies with large fleet transport needs only have two options- use a third party or build in-house. Partnering with a third party fleet transporter generally means using a “broker”. Brokers facilitate the deals between the customers and actual car-haulers. They’re quicker and more convenient to deal with than carriers because they don’t actually operate their own trucks. Instead, choose to contract various independent trucking companies- allowing them to tap into the dispatchable capacity of hundreds or thousands of trucks. While brokers are required to be licensed and insured, their capabilities, reliability and effectiveness vary wildly and often go only as far as the carriers they use. And it goes without saying that using a middleman adds additional cost to each move.
Building an internal process to handle these shipments cuts out the middleman while increasing the likelihood of more direct control. If the organizational demand for transportation is not overwhelming, fleet managers can deal with car carriers that they know. They can also work through load boards to fill in any gaps. While this avoids mark-ups, there are still underlying costs. Scheduling and tracking an average move takes 10-15 phone calls. Cutting checks, getting approval, correcting errors, and mailing paperwork takes time and material resources. Even with all of this, it still results in a murky cash-flow picture. Collecting W-9’s, validating insurance, and making insurance claims when an incident occurs can go overlooked. When the scope of work becomes too great for a single person to handle, hiring and staffing becomes a built-in logistics cost.
Modern transport platforms
In general, auto transport has largely been doing business the same way for decades. Now, the digital revolution has caught up and created a new logistics management pathway. Digital transport platforms combine the flexibility of using a broker with the hands-on control that an in-house department provides. Autosled (autosled.com) is an example of one such modern transport platform. These platforms leverage mobile technology, networks of independent logistic companies, and proprietary software to provide transport management solutions at scale.
Digital platforms can empower a single individual to easily manage logistics for an enterprise business. The value add is not something that traditional third parties or internal departments are capable of providing. Must haves such as single source bill pay, GPS tracking, automated insurance validation, digital condition reports and bill of ladings, and data analysis are all built directly into the platform. Instead of relying on spreadsheets, the entire transport record is kept all in one place.
The promise of instant transformation from chaos to order in the complex world of logistics admittedly sounds too good to be true. Fleet managers and decision makers that are bombarded with sales pitches will, understandably, be apprehensive. Here is what to keep in mind when considering a switch- the auto transport business has largely avoided digitization until now. Many trucking companies still use pen and paper documentation even today. The industry is watching 25+ years of technological advances suddenly focus on improving the car hauling processes. It may be time to see for yourself how much these new transport must haves matter for your business.
Autosled is a leading digital auto transport platform. There are no subscriptions or setup fees. Using the web-based dashboard, you can easily ship and track a few, or a few hundred vehicles. Schedule a free demo to have the business development team show you how to go digital or to speak about the specific needs of your business. Schedule here.
Offer Encourages Dealers to Ship Vehicles with Autosled in Q1 2023
ROCKVILLE, MD – January 13, 2023– Autosled, a leading digital vehicle logistics provider, announced that it is making a special offer to retail automotive dealers attending the 2023 National Automobile Dealers Association conference and expo in Dallas, Texas.
Dealers attending NADA 2023 that have not previously shipped cars or trucks with Autosled are eligible for a portion of the $100,000 cash back giveaway. Qualifying dealers will each receive a minimum of $500 cash back, with no upper limit on the amount of money that a dealer can receive. Dealers are encouraged to ship as many vehicles as possible during the promotional period. While the cash back is on a first come, first serve basis, if the limit is reached prior to the end of the first quarter, Autosled will extend the limit to accommodate any additional vehicle moves for qualifying dealers during the promotional period.
“In light of the macroeconomic changes around us, we felt this was a great way to begin the year helping dealers who need to move vehicles this quarter but have not had a chance to partner previously with Autosled to do so. We wanted to offer something out of the ordinary to those dealers attending this year’s NADA expo in person”, noted David Sperau, Autosled’s co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer.
The show special begins on site at NADA on January 27, 2023. It is available to all franchise dealers shipping more than five vehicles before March 31, 2023 that have not previously moved cars or trucks with Autosled. To begin the qualification process, dealers should fill out a request form with Autosled. All dealers are strongly encouraged to preschedule appointments to meet with the team at Booth #3323 during NADA in order to avoid waiting during expo hours. Full promotional details can be found on autosled.com/nada-2023/ or by contacting email@example.com.
Autosled provides seamless digital vehicle shipment options for dealers, transporters, auctioneers, brokers, and individuals. As a tech first company, Autosled’s web and phone platforms create a marketplace between shippers and transporters that are faster, cheaper and more reliable. Services include custom price quotes, secure online payments, electronic accounting and invoicing, online vehicle shipment scheduling, verified transporter insurance and a vetted network. Vehicles delivered through Autosled are trackable, with real-time GPS and communication with transporters throughout the process. For more information, visit: www.autosled.com.
For Media Inquiries, contact:
CP Consulting Group
(757) 748-4533 (cell)
September 21st, 2022
Let’s get one thing out of the way – the term “Driver Shortage” isn’t exactly an accurate description of what is ailing the trucking industry. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 1,951,600 heavy truck driver jobs (CDL required) in the U.S. in 2020. At the same time, the American Trucking Association reported 3.5 million endorsed drivers, while we continue to see around 100,000 entering the workforce each year.
Despite this discrepancy, associations and large asset-based companies have spread a “shortage” narrative that isn’t entirely untrue. Companies do, in fact, struggle to allocate men and women to move their trucks. The real issue is that new drivers don’t stick around for very long. Low pay, poor treatment and tough working conditions result in shockingly high turnover rates.
“Turnover for truck drivers in fleets with more than $30 million of annual revenue was 92% at the end of 2020, meaning roughly 9 out of every 10 drivers will no longer be working for that company in a year.” TIME
Combining a high driver turnover rate with the additional frustrations of today’s automotive logistics environment – volatile supply and high fuel costs, results in a shortage of dispatchable capacity that continues to adversely affect delivery times. Michael Arnold, Operations Supervisor for Ford’s North America Vehicle Logistics, said that the 10 day average delivery time to get a car to a dealer is now more like 15.
To keep pace with demand, large companies need a continuous pipeline of fresh drivers streaming in. New regulations have lowered the age restriction on interstate truck driving to 18 years old. Efforts to recruit women have increased as well as increasing promotion of high-paying positions. While these, and continuing to highlight driver shortages, does get people interested, this doesn’t touch the real issue at hand- the labor issue.
This is where technology can make an immediate impact. Improving the auto transport process by making it more efficient, and profitable, keeps skilled workers in driver seats while sustaining America’s vehicle inventory flow. While improving the lives of carriers helps big business, it will have a more dramatic effect on small transport companies.
Car carriers who stick around will often try to venture out on their own to (rightfully) collect more of the revenue that they generate. To become an owner-operator, they must purchase or lease their own truck and trailer. While some operate large rigs with 9 car haulers, the majority use smaller heavy duty trucks with a 2 or 3 car trailer. Only 2 million of the estimated 15.5 million commercial trucks in the U.S. trucking industry are tractor trailers while 90% of transport companies operate 6 or fewer trucks, according to truckinfo.net.
Small businesses with lower-capacity trucks do not get consistent OEM contracts or top routes from large dealership groups. Small carriers often depend on old-school load boards, bouncing around between different dispatchers and brokers, countless phone calls and tireless paperwork. All of the time consumption, payment factoring, slow cash flow and process inefficiencies make it a difficult environment within which to make a good living. Technology can give small businesses the level of resources and visibility they need to succeed. Being able to efficiently manage loads, settle invoices and communicate effectively can boost established businesses and give new entrepreneurs a fighting chance.
The reciprocal benefit to vehicle shippers is that this results in increased shipping capacity. More transport companies are able to see and engage with vehicles that are waiting to be moved. This directly translates into increased shipping speeds and stabilized costs.
This 21st century approach to vehicle logistics is slowly becoming the new norm. Autosled offers its entire suite of transport tools to carriers through a single mobile app at no cost. Car carriers who would like to get involved can register for free at www.autosled.com/transporters. Any vehicle shipper interested in connecting to the network via our web-based Dealer Dashboard can do so at www.autosled.com/dealers.