Ask The Trucker

Raising the Standards of the Trucking Industry


Autos, Trucks and MoreFMCSATrucking

On and off the Road Again

Dec
14,
2018
0

A popular phrase of the 1970s was “Keep on Trucking.” Like many catchphrases, this one did not account for all the exceptions to the rule.

While large semis traveling down America’s highways are a vivid symbol of robust commerce and free markets, those freight-bearing eighteen-wheelers are also found stranded at shipping/receiving docks, on roadsides or at truck stops. Through no fault of the drivers, they are delayed by industrial misjudgments, poor vehicular maintenance, and inclement weather. Given all the factors that can slow shipments down, the fact that so many arrive at their destinations on time and intact is nearly miraculous.

When the Truck Arrives, But the Order Is Not Ready
The financial website Investopedia defines a bottleneck as follows: “A bottleneck is a point of congestion in a production system (such as an assembly line or a computer network) that occurs when workloads arrive too quickly for the production process to handle.”

When manufacturers or distributors suffer factory bottlenecks in their operating systems, order fulfillment is postponed until the glitch is identified and remedied. Unless they decide to invest in state-of-the-art CMMS like Leading2Lean , such hold ups are likely to occur again and again, causing chronic delays. The minutes and hours tick by as the truck drivers await their loads. In an era where more truckers are in demand, those on the road can ill afford to be detained by production malfunctions, especially if these delays are common.

When the Trailer Is Full But the Tractor is Failing

Unless the driver is an owner-operator, others must be trusted to maintain the conveyance in good working order. Fleet managers expend millions of dollars annually to repair hobbled vehicles. The many afflictions suffered by highway freighters include:

  • Dead batteries
  • Under-inflated tires
  • Worn-out breaks
  • Electrical malfunctions

As is evident, these disabling occurrences are preventable. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation requires annual passage on each maintenance component of the commercial vehicle.  Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance for Motor Carriers of Passengers – Part 396

Drivers are also advised to keep a copy of this Safety Audit Resource Guide checklist

When Everything Is Working But Nature Intervenes

Trucking delays, unfortunately, are not always avoided even in the best of circumstances. Weather does not consult shipping schedules or manifests. In fact, bad weather  will interrupt shipments with dangerous winds, power failures, poor visibility, and icy or unpassable roads. Depending on the swiftness of public safety responses, freight can remain at a distance from its intended destination for days. For instance, in the wake of the 2017 hurricanes Irma and Harvey, truck routes were re-routed while fuel prices rose. Flooding was one major cause for the revisions.

In addition, shipments have been halted because of downed power lines, mudslides and black ice. Safety should always take priority over timeliness. Reliable weather forecasting and good judgment by traffic managers should minimize truck drivers’ exposure to crippling weather patterns.

Other indeterminate causes can slow down a delivery independent of the driver’s skill and integrity. Miscommunication between shipper and receiver; serious traffic accidents; and unexpected roadblocks can each postpone arrival times for truck deliveries.

Drivers do well to master the variables they can control. However, at the end of the day, other determinants out of their sphere of influence always threaten to interfere with the route. Always be prepared.

© 2018, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

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By: Allen Smith

Allen Smith is a 37 year veteran who started at an early age in a household goods family moving business. He began driving straight trucks in 1977 and moved to the big rigs in 1982. His experience within the industry includes; owner operator, company driver, operations manager, and owner of a long distance HHG moving business, taking many of the long haul moves himself when needed. Allen Smith, a truck driver advocate who is driven by the desire to help others succeed within an industry where injustice, unrewarded sacrifice, and lack of respect and recognition exists. Allen and his wife Donna are hosts of Truth About Trucking ”Live” on Blog Talk Radio. Other websites include AskTheTrucker, TruckingSocialMedia, NorthAmericanTruckingALerts, TruthAboutTrucking, and many Social Media websites. In 2011 Allen and Donna hosted the first Truck Driver Social Media Convention, designed to create unity and solutions for the trucking industry. This is now being extended through the North American Trucking Alerts network as those within the industry join forces for the betterment of the industry. Allen strongly supports other industry advocates who are also stepping up to the plate to help those who share honesty, guidance and direction. He believes that all those involved in trucking need to be accountable for their part within the industry, including drivers, carriers, brokers, shippers, receivers, etc… The list of supporters and likeminded people grow daily, networking together and sharing thoughts and ideas for the betterment of trucking. He has coined the popular phrase "Raising the standards of the trucking industry"

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