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May 2, 2018 4:15 PM, EDT

Tech Vendors Offer Help to Reduce Driver Delays

NPTC Inducts Four Into Driver Hall of Fame
WalmartWalmart trailers at a loading dock (George Frey/Bloomberg News)

CINCINNATI — Tight capacity and new electronic logging requirements are forcing shippers to explore new ways to minimize detention time for truck drivers, but technology suppliers attending the National Private Truck Council’s annual Education Management Conference and Exhibition here are ready to help.

Inga Broerman, chief marketing officer for All Traffic Solutions in Herndon, Va., said shippers and receivers often don’t know that drivers are being held up because of a lack of information and poor communication at warehouses and distribution facilities.

Broerman

Broerman

To tackle the problem, the company offers a system that captures data on trucks as they enter the property, providing instant alerts to warehouse personnel through a cloud-based digital network and providing electronic signs to direct trucks to the proper loading docks or parking space.

The technology has been used for years to control access to commercial parking garages, but now is aiding faster turnarounds at pickup and delivery locations, Broerman said.

To help shippers and consignees better prepare for deliveries, Jerry Robertson, chief technology officer at Bolt System in Nashville, Tenn., said his company has incorporated weather apps into its dispatch and planning software to provide more accurate estimates of arrival time.

Ignacio Aguerrevere represents a French telematics and software firm, Visible.digital, that is expanding into North America with a system that eliminates the need for drivers and warehouse personnel to exchange paperwork, shaving 10 to 15 minutes off the average time it takes to find and connect with the proper loading location at a distribution center.

“It removes the guessing game,” Aguerrevere said.

Any time savings, however slight, can give drivers more time behind the wheel, which is critical to maintaining productivity, according to industry experts.

Heather DeBaillie, marketing manager for CAT Scale Co., said a new smartphone app saves time by eliminating the need for drivers to get out of the truck to complete roadside inspections.

Over the course of a month, one fleet operator reported that use of the Weigh My Truck app added 15 hours of driving time on average for their drivers.

At Atlas Trucking & Logistics, a flatbed fleet operated by Eaton Steel Bar Co. in Taylor, Mich., officials are educating shippers and receivers about the time constraints faced by drivers and charging $100 an hour for detention after the first two hours.

The conference also recognized drivers inducted into the NPTC/Lytx Inc. Driver Hall of Fame:

Wacks

One of the honorees, Wacks, stands in front of his truck. (Army & Air Force Exchange)

• Rob Harmeyer, a driver for Batesville Logistics Inc., racked up 3.9 million miles in 31 years behind the wheel without an accident or a moving violation. Driving a truck means spending a lot of time away from home and it’s “got to be something you really like doing,” he said.

•Frank Rice Jr. of Shaw Transport Inc. began driving in 1967 after serving in the U.S. Army. He has driven 5 million miles without an accident or citation and now works as a driver trainer. Rice remains enthusiastic about the job. “If you enjoy your job, you’re going to do everything and anything you can to get home the same way you left,” he said.

•Larry Thorp has been driving professionally for 52 years and for the last 11 years has been delivering hardware products for Orcheln Farm & Home in nine Midwestern states. His message to drivers: Don’t over think the job. “Just do it.” His message to employers: Give drivers respect and treat them as individuals.

•Bradley Wacks, a driver for Army & Air Force Exchange Service, has spent 36 years on the road. Wacks trains and mentors new drivers.