Many people in the logistics industry fail to realize just how important it is to optimize transportation and how much value improving fleet operations offers to the overall performance of a business. In spite of continually rising costs, ineffective utilization of logistics assets is a widespread problem and is characterized by haphazard and inefficient routing as well as empty backhauls after delivery runs have been made.
At the heart of the issue is the lack of total visibility throughout the transportation network and a lack of planning and strategy, connectivity and collaboration. It is possible to achieve all of the above by taking advantage of Six Sigma strategies alongside transportation management software.
Nowadays, fleet operations systems are built with the purpose of minimizing the risks of vehicle investment, lowering staff and transportation costs, increasing productivity and reducing inefficiency. The result is general optimization of an organization’s fleet management processes. Here are three ways to improve fleet operations using Six Sigma:
- Fleet Operations Planning
Since fleet operations management has an essential role within planning and execution of transportation, optimization of your corporate logistics network is one way to increase profitability without having to compromise efficiency. When optimizing fleet operations with Six Sigma methodologies, two main areas are examined: shipment planning and optimization of dispatch.
Through effective shipment planning, your organization will find it easier to create efficient loads that fit in with your scheduling process while maximizing utilization of assets and ensuring compliance with industry regulatory requirements. On the other hand, dispatch optimization is an ongoing process which allows for ongoing evaluation of resource assignments and allocation of loads on the basis of real time data on events and conditions.
When used together, these two capabilities help to ensure that you have all-round visibility and integration of the whole logistics network, helping your business and its network of carriers to manage their fleet operations in a more efficient and productive way. For instance, optimization of route assignments from the outbound end and at the supplies end as well reduces the occurrence of empty backhauls.
- Use of Fleet Telematics
The use of telematics is continuing to change how many fleet operators conduct their operations. Telematics work by vehicle performance information, diagnostic data and driver actions in order to give businesses a complete picture of the performance of the fleet on a daily basis and in real time.
A key advantage to be gained by using telematics is that your in-house fleet management team gains a greater degree of control over the process. The team can help you to then determine whether there are drivers who are not performing to the standards you expect. Telematics also help your team to develop more efficient methods of delivery by using the data obtained to design faster routes for them to use.
- Committing to a Reduction in Fuel Cost by Eliminating Waste
There are several different techniques which you can use to limit your organization’s long-term fuel costs and reduce wasteful use of your fleet. Although fuel costs will almost certainly continue to rise, you can use fleet monitoring applications and tools to find out which vehicles are consuming an inordinately high amount of fuel. These tools may also be used to figure out the most effective routes that drivers can use, reducing mileage costs in the process.
Another way in which your company can commit to lowering its fuel costs is through retraining of drivers in the use of more fuel efficient driving styles. If a company takes a proactive stance towards reducing fuel consumption by its fleet, operations can continue at a high level of efficiency for years to come.
Your organization’s business and your fleet have different characteristics and needs from anyone else’s, which means that you also need to devise custom fleet operations procedures that reduce waste, save costs and maximize your profits. Through continuous improvement of existing fleet management practices, Six Sigma allows your fleet to operate on the cutting edge of efficiency.