First things first, what is a dedicated fleet? It’s tractors, trailers, drivers, and other resources exclusively devoted to serving a set of facilities or lanes in a transportation network. In other words, it’s a set of resources a carrier has committed to serving the logistical needs of just one customer.
But with over-the-road (OTR), brokerage, or private fleet options, why would you choose to use a Dedicated fleet through an asset-based carrier? Here are a few reasons:
1. To stabilize service.
OTR and brokerage drivers run loads for a number of different shippers so, by nature, they’re not going to be familiar with the business practices or expectations of your specific company.
Dedicated drivers, on the other hand, are only running your freight. They know you expect a certain percentage of on time deliveries. They know you require manual unloads. They know your policies. They know if they’ll need backup. They know the drill.
And maybe most importantly, they also know you. When the same driver runs your freight day in and day out, you’re going to develop a relationship with them, learning to understand how they work as much as they understand how you work. If you’re lucky, you may even get their cell phone number so instead of calling dispatch for updates on your freight, you can just call them.
Since no one needs to be training the driver what to do each time he or she arrives, you’re saving time on every drop off and every pick up. And all that time saves you money.
2. To act as an alternative to a private fleet.
Many shippers choose to run their freight through a private fleet – one in which they actually own all of the tractors and trailers as well as employee their own drivers and dispatchers. If you choose that route, you also incur the massive amount of expenses that go along with it – fuel, insurance coverage, employee benefits, workers comp, insurance claims, etc.
Using a dedicated fleet through an asset-based carrier puts all that work, responsibility, and, most of all, risk under someone else’s roof while still providing a fleet devoted solely to you.
3. To help protect against rate volatility.
Now more than ever, we’re seeing a lot of rate volatility within the trucking industry. There’s a constant ebb and flow of economics between shippers and carriers – sometimes there’s too much freight and not enough capacity, other times there’s too little freight for the capacity the carrier has available – finding the perfect middle ground isn’t easy.
For both the shipper and carrier, this is a dangerous game to play. None of us can ever predict when the market will turn, and to whose benefit. Finding yourself at either end of the spectrum can cost you.
But with a dedicated fleet, you are locked into a 1 to 3-year contract, ensuring your stability no matter the economic climate.
4. To cover repeatable higher volume deliveries.
There’s a constant ebb and flow in market rates when it comes to the trucking industry – sometimes to the shipper’s benefit, other times to the carrier’s. If you know you’re going to have consistent high-volume freight, particularly with routes under 250 miles, you want to lock in a rate that you’re comfortable with. That’s only an option with Dedicated fleets that tether trucks directly to your distribution center or facility.
5. To ensure streamlined communication.
Multiple contacts mean multiple calls, multiple emails, multiple touchpoints. And in that instance, the word “multiple” makes everyone cringe. That’s what you’re getting with brokerage, and in some cases, even with OTR services.
But with a dedicated fleet, you don’t just get equipment and drivers devoted to your needs, you get a whole team of office employees there to support you. That includes one single point of contact who knows the ins and outs of the fleet and your company. Much like the drivers, they will know your expectations, policies, and specific needs, so there’s no need for long phone calls explaining your business repeatedly. It’s one and done, making life easier and business more efficient for you and for your carrier.
6. To improve ease and efficiency on specialized deliveries.
As we all know, not every load is created equal. Different loads can require different types equipment, amount of space, number of stops, etc. You want to know the driver carrying your load is ready for whatever you need.
With a Dedicated fleet, that’s always the case. Much like he or she will be familiar with your policies, the driver will be familiar with your specific requirements for each of your loads. They’ll be comfortable with what they’re being asked to do because they do it all the time. No standing around waiting for someone to bring in the right tools or somehow who knows how to back into a tight space. A Dedicated driver is always ready.
7. To help plan for the future.
Whether it’s based on the holiday season, the weather, a particular promotion, or a number of other factors, a lot of industries can predict when they’re going to have a surge in freight. As a contracted partner who understands your business, a Dedicated fleet can help shippers prepare for those surges, instead of causing a last-minute scramble for extra capacity.
So why Dedicated? We’ll put it simply. A Dedicated fleet is committed to you, to your freight, and to your business – no matter what.