Rising Fuel Costs A Downer

Logistics View

As summer approaches, the price of fuel continues to soar, coming close to the records set last year in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I've already noticed prices rising at the supermarket—and it's not even Labor Day yet. These fuel hikes, coupled with driver and capacity shortages and Hours of Service constraints, will continue to drive up transportation spending.

While there's no light at the end of the tunnel, there are new solutions that can help companies reduce costs. In this month's cover story, "Running On Empty" [page 27], we look at how three food companies were able to save some money by reducing idle time, eliminating oil changes and thermal wrapping engines. The last one sounds strange—and it looks even stranger—but one refrigerated LTL carrier says it has saved more than $3,500 in fuel costs per truck for every 10,000 miles driven since it insulated its engines.

Fuel costs are also a huge concern for PRWs, which are improving their facilities to avoid having to pass these additional costs on to their customers. In our PRW roundtable, "A Flurry of Activity" [page 22], five top PRW executives talk about the challenges they face and how they're meeting their customers' growing demands. They also discuss safety programs that they're putting in place to keep their facilities and products secure—just in time to help small- to mid-sized manufacturers comply with the next round of bioterrorism regulations that go into effect later this year.

In this issue, we also report on the growing number of food retailers that are synching their data. Many are working with their suppliers to synchronize data over the Global Data Synchronization Network and are saving millions of dollars in the process. "Getting In Synch" [page 16] highlights the benefits of synching up—especially for smaller, independent retailers that compete against the industry's giants in terms of access to data.

So, while you might not be able to do anything about the cost of fuel, you can save money elsewhere in your operations.

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