The trucking industry can be divided into two basic groups – short-haul and long-haul. The trials of long-haul truckers are frequently discussed in the transportation industry. The demands placed on short-haul truckers, however, are often overlooked. Short-haul truckers, technically defined as employed drivers who travel and work within a 150-mile radius, face unique difficulties that should be equally important to fleet managers. Recognition of these difficulties can help fleet managers circumvent basic issues that impede the short-haul business.
One of the most difficult tasks that short-haul drivers face is backing up their vehicle’s trailer, a process called blind-siding. Having to complete multiple deliveries in a single day, short-haul drivers need to maneuver their trucks into loading docks multiple times. Blind-siding is a time-consuming process that requires careful use of the truck’s mirrors, stops and starts, and, sometimes, a spotter. With efficient routing, however, blind-siding need not throw off the timeline of a day’s deliveries – dispatchers can incorporate this time into their schedules to ensure jobs are still completed in a timely manner.
Short-haul drivers also need to contend more often with traffic and road construction. City streets and highways are more likely to have road work that necessitates re-routing to ensure a timely delivery. Dispatchers to need to ensure drivers have access to the most updated, efficient routes possible. With GPS fleet tracking, dispatchers can save these routes and send them to drivers to follow should the need arise.
Finally, short-haul truckers often have a more demanding schedule to adhere to. With more frequent pickups and deliveries, even a slight delay can have a domino effect on the rest of their delivery schedule. Short-haul drivers and dispatchers need to work together to ensure that schedules are as tight as possible and that delays are made up as quickly as possible.
Fleet management software can help short-haul dispatchers deliver loads, make up for lost time, and re-route for unexpected occurrences. With the live mapping and two-way communication features provided by this software, fleet managers find fewer surprises on the road and drivers have access to the best routing for their day’s work.