Green Highways Lead To Real Savings

Transportation management systems provide more than optimized routes.


Another function of Roadnet Telematics is its ability to inform how a truck might have been hit in a parking lot. “In conjunction with our enhanced GPS, our accelerometer can report such incidents to determine if the truck was moving when such an accident happened or if it hit a pole—just by looking at the accelerometer data,” Brandt says.

The accelerometer allows companies to measure safety and can report how fast drivers are driving and even what the tilt of a truck is as it travels around a curve. It also reports on incidents of harsh braking and rapid acceleration, each of which consumes additional fuel. “So this unit delivers more and better information relating to sustainability to help you better protect your expensive equipment. Just remember that every time you have to replace your brake pads, you are using up a petroleum-based product.”

Another benefit to the telematics unit is that it monitors speeding incidents. “Speeding is really a sustainability killer,” says Brandt. “For every mile an hour over 50 mph, you increase your fuel consumption by 1.5 percent and you increase the drag on your vehicle, which makes the engine work harder than it needs to work. Speeding also increases your maintenance costs for things like gears, bearings, suspension, clutches, and drive trains—which all wear much faster at higher speeds. You could actually increase your annual costs by anywhere from 40 percent to 80 percent as a result of speeding.” She reports that driving 60 mph instead of 50 mph increases your costs by 38 percent; and if drivers consistently drive at 70 mph rather than 50 mph, costs increase by 80 percent.

 

Intelligent Designs

Sustainability as it relates to TMS solutions begins with an intelligent and efficient network design, notes Matt Menner, senior vice president of sales and alliances for Transplace in Dallas. “The process begins with the application of optimization-based routines and algorithms that generate the best possible routing solution taking into consideration transportation costs, customer service levels, modal options, capacity availability and increasingly these days the green coefficient of those designs by combining multiple LTLs into truckloads and finding loads for empty backhauls. The result is the development of a sustainability score.”

For instance, if a shipper wants to know what its carbon footprint will be for a number of different scenarios, Transplace can present each of those in terms of cost, service level, and environmental impact. “So the process begins with the design and then the design is loaded into our TMS solution which captures the consumption of services and the green coefficient of carriers to help align them with SmartWay’s scorecard,” explains Menner. “Every SmartWay carrier has a fleet model score, which we also take into consideration in the decision-making process of whether we would use one carrier over another during bid lane selection and assignment.”

One of the fundamental requirements in achieving higher sustainability performance is to use SmartWay carriers who have made intelligent capital investments in their rolling stock to operate in an efficient and sustainable manner, Menner says. He sees many companies dealing with the challenge of how to go about identifying a set of pragmatic programs for a financially acceptable outcome that is good for the company as well as for the environment. “Efficiency equates to sustainable practices which, in turn, equals a greener coefficient for the shipper. Consequently, one of the core philosophies for Transplace is aggressively supporting the SmartWay initiative.”

Shippers prefer aligning themselves with carriers who have made the right capital investments such as current-specification tractors with the appropriate engines that meet current emissions requirements. “These carriers have also gone to the expense of using single-wide-based tires, skirtings on tractors and trailers to increase the aerodynamic coefficient of the vehicle, and APUs in tractor cabs,” explains Menner.

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