How Supply Chain Visibility Impacts Driver Detention Times

July 23, 2020


3 minutes

Driver detention time — or the time drivers aren’t paid while their trucks are loaded and unloaded — is on the rise. As total detention time increases across the industry, so does the negative impact on roadway safety, supply chain efficiency, and profitability for all stakeholders involved. Research into driver detention shows that drivers experienced a nearly 28% rise in delays lasting six or more hours between 2014 and 2018. This has cost drivers and carriers substantial losses in revenue across the board.

For most companies, increasing collaboration and supply chain visibility are instrumental in fixing the problem.

What Driver Detention Costs Drivers and Companies

To see the full scope of the driver detention time problem, we must first understand its consequences for drivers — and, ultimately, for the safety of all drivers on the roadway and the efficiency of the supply chain at large.

First of all, a section of the Fair Labor Standards Act dictates that drivers who operate vehicles of 10,000-plus lbs. aren’t entitled to overtime pay; on top of that, Hours of Service regulations limit the maximum hours a driver can work per week.

With some shippers and receivers, driver detention time lasts from the moment a truck enters the yard until the moment it drives away. Because drivers aren’t getting paid for that time, they may feel pushed to make up for it by skipping rest breaks and driving longer and faster to reach their destinations on schedule.

Ultimately, this presents roadway safety problems for all travelers. But when drivers are struggling to operate efficiently, it also impacts the productivity and bottom line of every company along the supply chain.

Using Collaborative Technology to Reduce Detention Time

Now that we understand the consequences of detention time, let’s take a look into why it happens. Of course, some events are beyond the control of logistics managers — such as traffic delays or unexpected weather — but poor scheduling, manual processes, and a lack of visibility and communication are factors managers can control that contribute to the increase of detention times. The right collaborative technology can smooth out these areas and better prepare everyone along the supply chain for even the most unexpected events.

Here are some of the ways Coolfire’s supply chain technology can create greater visibility into supply chain logistics and help reduce driver detention times:

 1. Digitizing processes that are still manual

Manual processes can lead to breakdowns in communication, which can cause increased detention time. By digitizing processes, Coolfire supports supply chain visibility by allowing drivers, shippers, warehouses, and carriers to automate workflows and streamline coordination between all parties in real time. When processes are digitized, authorized parties can instantly access data about specific loads and communicate with others to ensure timely docking operations.

2. Automating loading and unloading workflows

Electronic logging devices, or ELDs, automatically record the status of drivers’ deliveries and their geographical location at any given time. When combined into a collaborative technology platform, this data allows companies to know when to expect a shipment and automatically schedule loading and unloading times with employees on-site. Real-time, automatic ELD updates keep all parties informed of a driver’s expected arrival and any unexpected delays.

 3. Centering communication on real-time data

ELDs and other tracking options are only as valuable as the data they produce, and that data is only valuable when it informs communication. Coolfire collects and centralizes data from all sensors and devices, including those that measure the specific status of the load (such as temperature and magnetic readings). When carriers communicate with drivers or clients, the conversation is action-focused and driven by real-time data.

 4. Improving visibility around a common operational picture

These tools and technologies for collaboration are essential for creating the level of supply chain visibility necessary to maintain a company’s common operational picture. The benefit of reducing driver detention times alone puts a company above the rest in terms of caring for its drivers and maximizing revenue. Coolfire makes this possible by making collaboration easier and promoting greater visibility.

By using the right supply chain technology, companies can increase collaboration among all relevant parties in the supply chain and take a big step toward successfully addressing driver detention time challenges.

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