Load optimization is both an art and a science. It involves optimizing specific loads in every single vehicle.
Companies achieve this with the help of dedicated software and other load optimization tools. In an economy where prices are rising and competition is fierce, mastering load optimization can help businesses of all sizes get ahead of their competitors.
For trucking and motor coaches, load optimization leads to lower emissions, fewer miles and more home time for drivers. Load optimization can help companies compete in terms of pricing, lower operating costs and increased profit margins.
How Does Load Optimization Work?
Load optimization is the process of consolidating cargo to maximize the capacity of each truck. This includes combining multiple shipments that are headed to similar destinations and ensuring that the fewest numbers of vehicles are used while maximizing the number of deliveries.
Load optimization combines load planning and load management to incorporate greater efficiency into every load. While some people assume that this just means fitting more into each load, you also need to take into account the truck’s center of gravity, the destination, any applicable specifications and type of load in particular.
What is Load and Route Optimization?
Load and route optimization takes into account not only the maximization of loads but of delivery routes as well. As the name implies, optimization involves the most efficient overall delivery route and arrangement of destinations in cases where there are multiple deliveries being transported at once.
How Do You Optimize a Container Load?
Optimizing a container load requires specific skills and a certain level of understanding when it comes to container loads. When optimizing container loads, you need to make sure you distribute the weight evenly. Also, load the heaviest materials first.
You will need to organize the arrangement of the load as well. In the event of there being multiple loads in one container, you’ll also need to plan the route in a way that matches the loading order of the load. There’s no set way to do this as it’s done on a truck-by-truck basis.
What Does a Load Planner Do?
A load planner is responsible for improving the efficiency of your entire operation. Loan planners will focus on maximizing fleet capacities for more efficient outbound logistics, reduced overheads and the construction of bottom-line business growth.
They will also negotiate contracts, freight and spot market rates with shippers. Also, they can ensure that load optimization and route optimization are focal points while also maintaining budgets and achieving profit targets.
You, as the business owner, should never do this on your own. When you hire a load planner, they can ensure better shipping rates, faster routes and greater load optimization. A load planner who correctly performs their duties should save your business significantly more than the cost of their services.
Example of Load Optimization
Load optimization requires you to take into account the shipment weight and the final destination of each load. Here’s a simple example of three companies based in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Company A has a load that will occupy one-third of a vehicle. This is a heavy yet delicate load that includes refrigerated food products. The final destination is New York City.
Company B has a load that takes up about one-quarter of an entire semi-truck. The load is dry goods that do not require refrigeration. The final destination is Richmond, Virginia.
Company C has a load that takes about one-third of the space in a semi-truck. It is filled with heavy yet delicate goods, all of which have a final destination of Boston, Massachusetts.
In this example, the loading order would depend on the unloading destination. For this reason, Company C’s goods, with a destination in Boston, would be loaded first. From there, Company A and Company C would be loaded last. In terms of weight, this would also be the correct load order.
For Company A, the semi-truck would need to have refrigeration. If the vehicle has refrigeration zones, it would only be required in the part of the truck with the goods belonging to Company A.
Benefits of Using Load and Route Optimization Together
Load and route optimization have significant benefits for company growth and the bottom line, especially when combined and implemented together. Here are some of the biggest advantages of using them in tandem.
Load planning and load management means that you will have fewer trucks on the road. At the same time, the trucks that are on the road will have better optimized loads and routes, as well as loads that can be delivered faster. Drivers can make fewer stops as well, which means more efficient transportation times and lower rates of driver fatigue.
Higher Delivery Capacity
Perhaps the greatest advantage of load optimization is its high delivery capacity. By combining loads and optimizing routes, companies can deliver more products with greater efficiency overall.
Better Shipping Costs
After delivery capacity, the biggest advantage that companies see with load optimization is the benefit of lower shipping costs. This is important because shipping costs have the potential to make or break a company’s bottom line.
By optimizing loads, companies can save on shipping costs with each load. With load optimization, for three deliveries, you might only have to pay for one truck and one driver instead of three. Companies can expect to cut their total mileage by up to 20% while also reducing their driver-related costs.
Fewer Labor Hours
Load optimization means fewer labor hours, no manual number crunching and far more effective delivery routes. When drivers are on the road, their time is maximized as a result. This can lead to lower overall driver costs for companies and more home time for drivers.
Load and route optimization can help you get products out right away. In turn, this reduces backlogs and bottlenecks, which ensures faster deliveries.
For example, after an order is placed, instead of having to wait for a truck to deliver the load, the load can be placed on a truck that is already scheduled to travel along that route. This will save you money on shipping costs while reducing delivery times.
Better Customer Experience
Customers always want their products to be delivered quickly and economically. Load optimization delivers on both accounts, with faster deliveries and lower overall shipping costs. Load and route optimization helps companies save more as a whole.
Some of these savings can be passed along to their customers. But faster delivery times are also a win-win. Companies can make deliveries more efficient, fulfilling orders faster and yielding greater customer satisfaction overall.
Yes, you did all this work to optimize, but how much money is that saving you? Of course, the specific dollar amount depends on the business, product and routes in particular.
But load planning and load management cost savings can be as much as 10% to 40% or more. Load optimization is good for the bottom line, but it is also good for the planet due to the fewer number of emissions, as well as being good for customers. Everyone wins.
More Balanced Workload For Drivers
Load and route optimization, along with load planning and load management, make for a more balanced workload for drivers, leaving them with more efficient working hours and more time at home.
No driver wants to sit around waiting for a load or drive a long distance for an LTL delivery just to return with an empty vehicle. But with load and route optimization, drivers will feel that they are making the most of their time, both on the road and at home.
Better Customer Experience
Customers look to companies that take their needs into account on a holistic level. From fast, safe and reliable deliveries, to lower emissions and social benefits, companies can use load and route optimization to give more to their customers. Doing so will result in timely deliveries, better tracking and happier customers.
Load Optimization For Profit Optimization
Load optimization and route optimization are not luxuries or resources for the tech-obsessed. Rather, they are essential business tools designed to reduce overheads, maximize driver times and increase profits for business growth.
In the age of supply chain issues, using load optimization tools can make your business stand out from the rest. Whether you do it for the sake of customer satisfaction or your focus is on the bottom line of your business, the results will be the same.
Ultimately, get ready for more deliveries in less time while paying less overall. That is both good for business and beneficial to growth!
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