Big rig semi truck on highway transporting vehicles

Accelerating Yard Departure: How Real-Time Vehicle Visibility Supports Truck Drivers

Imagine this: You’re heading off on vacation. A long drive awaits, yet your partner is still packing the car, hunting for misplaced items to bring along. You should have left two hours ago—but you’re still stuck in the driveway.

It’s frustrating. But while this kind of scenario is an occasional vexation for vacationers, it’s a day-to-day reality for the truck drivers who haul away vehicles from vehicle yards in the downstream automotive supply chain, delivering them to dealers or the next transshipment point.

Say a truck is scheduled to load ten vehicles. Nine are loaded — but the elusive tenth vehicle can’t be located. It isn’t where it was supposed to be—and in a yard holding maybe 25,000 cars, it could be almost anywhere. In this instance, there’s nothing to do but wait it out, wasting precious time when a driver could’ve been on the road already.

Detention fees aren’t the answer to vehicle loading delays

Now, most trucking contracts in the downstream finished vehicle supply chain recognize the above situation as a problem and impose penalties on vehicle yards that keep trucks waiting.

If there is a failure to load a vehicle within a specified time, so-called ‘detention fees’ apply, and they’re not small amounts either: approximately $2 a minute. The yard is keeping the driver waiting and also keeping the truck idling. When a truck is not hauling vehicles, it’s not making money.

But from the point of view of the driver, detention fees aren’t the real issue. The driver may not even see any of the money from those fees if they’re on a fixed rate-per-load. No, what the driver cares about are more pressing and personal concerns.

Why truck drivers want to leave the vehicle yard ASAP  

When it comes to remote yards or yards situated in Mexico, personal safety becomes a notable concern. Cargo truck hijacking is a serious and growing issue in Mexico, with the country recording nearly 62,000 violent truck cargo robberies between 2015 and the mid-way point of 2022. In these instances, truck drivers prefer to leave the yard in good time to drive as far as possible in daylight as nighttime travel opens the risk for a robbery or worse.

Another genuine concern for truck drivers is quality of life. Being a three or four-hour drive from home means that a two-hour or three-hour delay quickly impacts a driver’s personal life. They can’t get home in time to have dinner with their family. They can’t see their child in a school performance. In fact, they can’t enjoy an evening at home before leaving for work the following day.

And they might not even get home: on a long route, they might need to park overnight at a truck stop. A reality that plays havoc with route management and the scheduled loads for the following day.

In short, delays can have a lot of add-on side effects. That’s why drivers deeply despise delays.

Optimizing yard entry and exit processes

The reality is that delays in FVL are far more frequent than imagined. The scenario we’ve talked about so far is a delay to a truck resulting from a misplaced vehicle that was due to be loaded onto that same truck. But that’s only half the story.

Vehicle yards are expansive and sprawling spaces, yet their loading areas are relatively limited and compact. The primary function of these yards is to store vehicles, and the pool of available drivers and staff to handle truck loading is finite. So, when a truck experiences a delay, it not only affects the truck itself but also impacts other trucks waiting outside the yard, yet to enter.

In essence, the goal is not solely to expedite the departure of trucks from the yard but also to facilitate their timely entry into the yard. The faster trucks can enter the yard, the sooner they can complete their loading process and depart. Optimizing the entry and exit processes is crucial for overall operational efficiency in the yard.

The solution: real-time vehicle visibility 

What if we told you that eliminating loading delays is a realistic possibility?

With Cognosos’ real-time vehicle visibility, you get total certainty about vehicles’ exact location, meaning vehicles don’t get misplaced or lost. Yard management knows exactly where vehicles are at any given time, enabling truck drivers to load up faster.

This achievement is made possible by using low-cost, wireless-equipped GPS- and Bluetooth-enabled hardware tags. These tags transmit the precise location of vehicles and relay the information to the Cloud.

Moving vehicles from location to location within the yard—which can happen for multiple operational reasons—doesn’t affect the accurate tracking of vehicles’ location either. Every time vehicles are moved, that movement is detected by onboard accelerometers, which automatically trigger the capture of the new location.

Of course, yard managers undoubtedly appreciate our solution’s benefits, including efficiencies and cost savings. But the secret is that truck drivers are our biggest fans.

If you want to learn more about how Cognosos’ real-time vehicle visibility can support advanced tracking for finished vehicle logistics, download our guide, “The Alignment Advantage: How to Improve FVL Efficiency and Profitability“.

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