Balancing the driver shortage with logistics planning

Stefan Seufert, CTO/Vorstand EIKONA AG
Driver's cab of a truck in which there is no driver, which represents the shortage of drivers in logistics

The shortage of truck drivers is becoming the greatest risk for the transport industry and thus also for the stability of logistics chains. When drivers are hard to find, trucks come to a standstill, freight transport develops gaps and, as a consequence, value chains break down. Those who have to manage with scarce resources should improve the quality of their logistics planning by using software.


Drivers are lacking everywhere: too few trainees, fewer foreign workers than before. The shortage of skilled workers is becoming a risk for supply chains, and the readiness of many companies to deliver is coming under serious threat. If there is too little freight space available overall, it is essential that logistics service providers improve their processes and avoid planning errors. Companies that want to continue to meet deadlines must improve control and stabilise the quality of their planning. The most important instrument for this is an early flow of information between all partners along the value chain, which secures freight transport despite resource shortages. Haulage companies should therefore invest more in software in order to:

  • speed up the exchange of data
  • link all partners in an overall process
  • enable overall control
  • accelerate logistics processes through automation

Those who support their logistics planning with application software gain access to valuable tools to consolidate their supply chains and maintain on-time delivery.


Software and logistics planning as instruments against resource scarcity

For the organisation of transports, it is important to have the required capacities available at all times. In addition to flexible resources, this requires above all early information about upcoming orders and the expected volume of goods. This is because the planning of these logistics services is dependent on close coordination between the partners involved in providing the service. Particularly because, in addition to a growing volume of goods, the speed of logistics processes has also increased continuously. This means that the cooperation of those involved in logistics must function without hinderance, and the overall process must run without errors. Because there are no resources available to correct process errors. If consignments arrive too late at transshipment points or in receiving companies, there are no longer enough drivers available to make special trips.


Platforms coordinate logistics planning

Dispatchers need precise information early on to keep up with the pace of today's logistics processes. Those who request scarce resources first are awarded the contract and can thus reduce their logistics costs or at least keep them stable in the long term. Nevertheless, companies should additionally keep a safety stock of freight space. For overall control, the service providers are increasingly working together via software platforms, as they have been coordinating the cooperation of forwarding networks up to now. With these planning tools, they avoid media breaks and the disruption of their communication. In addition, they allow the most extensive automation of complex work processes and thus shorten throughput times. For example, software solutions for notification can significantly accelerate appointing a delivery date and thus increase the planning scope of dispatchers. If notification shipments are also delivered directly on the day of receipt, they do not occupy any handling areas and also do not require any special handling. This allows for a faster turnover of consignments and enables the dispatcher to better utilise the vehicle fleet.


Compensate for driver shortage, maintain delivery capability

With real-time data exchange across company boundaries, new potential for success is created. Freight forwarders and logistics service providers can compensate for process errors at an early stage or even prevent them completely. To do this, it helps them to receive all data digitally as early as possible:

  • Forwarding orders
  • Shipment quantities
  • Notification requirements
  • Appointment requests
  • Dangerous goods information
  • Value-added service bookings

If freight forwarders receive this information in good time via software solutions and data hubs, dispatchers can reserve the necessary resources in good time. This enables them to align their logistics planning with the flow of materials, secure supply chains and thus also stabilise their customers' value chains. With real-time information on the transport process, they also ensure that they optimally utilise the available resources and thus minimise driver shortages.


Conclusion

Software-supported logistics planning with real-time information increases delivery capability

The fewer drivers are available to the transport industry, the more important precise logistics planning becomes in order to maintain competitiveness. The goal remains to optimally utilise the available resources. This requires seamless data exchange across company boundaries, process automation and the ability to control the entire process. Tasks that standard software and platforms effectively support.


Stefan Seufert
Stefan Seufert
CTO

As a design guru, the software developer delves into logistics service providers' requirements like no other. He is passionate about exchanging information securely and efficiently and thus speeding up the physical logistics process.


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