In the trucking industry, one of the most valuable resources is time.
There is a reason for the saying, “If the wheels ain’t turning, you ain’t earning.” Because of the steep operating costs for a single semi-truck, lost hours of productivity greatly impact margins over time.
One way that time is often utilized inefficiently, which is out of the control of a driver or carrier, is long detention times — or when trucks are waiting to be loaded or unloaded at shipping and delivery sites.
According to a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration study, drivers experienced excessive detention times beyond the two-hour industry-standard dwell time one of every 10 stops. Those detention times were, on average, 1.4 hours beyond the two-hour standard.
While carriers can charge accessory costs for excessive detention times, in some circumstances brokers or customers have stipulations that require carriers to charge detention fees within specific time frames, even within 24 hours or in real time, said Sean Puleo, director of corporate development at Artur Express.
Like many carriers, Artur Express, a Missouri-based full truckload carrier with over 850+ drivers and 3,500+ dry vans operating across the U.S., also occasionally experiences longer dwell times. But in addition to long wait times, until recently one of its challenges was managing the reimbursement process in the most efficient way possible.
Puleo described pursuing compensation for long dwell time as “labor intensive with a lot of human intervention.”
“We would have someone continuously watch reports that mirror data against our TMS to see if there is any eligible detention on any of our loads or shipments based upon the drivers’ check calls or times that we entered,” Puleo said.
This created a lot of missed opportunities to pursue compensation for detention time because instances of excessive wait times would slip through the cracks or were discovered days too late or already billed. This changed with a new feature in Ditat TMS, a system that helps carriers and brokers automate their processes on a user-friendly but powerful platform.
Ditat’s Detention Dashboard allowed Artur Express to bring its detention identification procedures into real time by removing the most time-consuming manual component.
Ditat does this by comparing drivers’ in and out times, mostly based on their self-reported check call data, against their scheduled appointments. In doing so, it automatically creates detention IDs for instances of excessive wait times and then blocks those loads from being invoiced until those occurrences have been investigated and managed.
Since implementing the feature, Artur Express has been able to capture 22% more revenue related to detention accessorials thanks to Ditat’s real-time, automated system.
“The ability to capture detention revenue is critical to driver retention, too,” Puleo added. “The more detention time reimbursement we can accrue, the better our retention is going to be and the more it’s going to positively impact our bottom line.”
Through the Detention Plan capability, users are also able to help keep customers or brokers in the loop through custom alerts. This allows carriers to automatically notify recipients when detention is approaching, when check calls have surpassed the appointed time and charges are accruing, and when the detention process has been finalized.
Not only does this help save Artur Express time, but Puleo expects the system will help shippers or receivers identify areas of inefficiencies and help all drivers get in and out quicker at shipping and receiving sites. In the end, that benefits everyone.
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