There are many ways to manage a supply chain. Every logistics operation has unique factors to consider, and different strategies and equipment are ideal for many situations. It is essential to
remember this for decisions such as selecting the right trailer for a given rig.
Using a less than ideal trailer can have serious consequences. Inappropriate equipment could lead to unnecessary costs, create operational inefficiencies and even affect the quality of shipments. Supply chain managers can help avoid these mistakes by following these eight tips when choosing a trailer.
1. Determine load sizes
Load size is one of the most important considerations when choosing the right trailer. This includes both the physical dimensions of an average shipment and its weight.
Federal regulations limit maximum loads to 80,000 pounds, but the maximum payloads of most trailers are well below that figure. Logistics professionals need to ensure that the trailers they purchase can handle the loads they will be transporting, which vary by product and
company in question. It is also essential to include the weight of any moving equipment such as pallets and straps in these calculations.
The physical dimensions are also crucial to consider. Some trailers may have sufficient weight capacity, but lack the internal space to accommodate a company’s average shipments.
2. Review loading and unloading requirements
Another determining factor is how well a trailer fits into the company’s loading and unloading practices. If it’s too low to the ground, it could fall under the loading dock, making it difficult
to move loads on and off the trailer. Alternatively, some may be too high, creating similar issues.
Supply chain managers need to measure the height of their loading docks and that of their customers to determine their docking needs. It is also useful to consider the space in the trailer. Wide clearances can make it easier to get things in and out, especially when forklifts are involved, but some loading docks may also have width restrictions.
3. Check size and axle regulations
Going for the biggest trailers possible can be tempting to leave more room for error. However, fleet owners need to consider how trailer size affects their expenses. In addition to incurring higher upfront costs, larger trailers may incur additional costs due to size and axle count regulations.
Oversized permit fees vary depending on the state and load in question. What constitutes an oversized load also varies from state to state, so supply chain managers should review regulations accordingly.
their areas of operation to determine their size limits. Ignoring these laws can significantly increase operating costs and lead to legal issues.
Similarly, it is crucial to review the charges for axle numbers on all toll roads that shipments must use. If companies can use trucks with fewer axles and still meet their stability and weight needs, they
can save money.
4. Review specific shipping needs
Some shipments have specific needs outside of size and weight that not all trailers can meet. Transporting cars requires larger, flat surfaces because uneven weight distribution increases the risk of accidents and vehicles need to be able to get in and out. They will also require additional anchoring which not all types of trailers can support.
Food and medical products will need refrigerated trailers and the level of refrigeration they will need will vary. Some customers may also have specific requirements for product quality, air conditioning, special anchoring, wireless sensor support, or other features. Supply chain managers need to look at their customers’ wishes to determine the type of trailer they need.
5. Consider weather factors
One factor that decision makers could easily overlook is the weather. Although it is one of the most influential factors in supply chain management, it is also uncontrollable. The weather should play a
role in choosing the right trailer. Different trailers are better for varying conditions, so logistics professionals should review what they expect.
More than 70% of US roads are in snowy regions, so most supply chains should be prepared to encounter this element. This rules out open trailers for most deliveries and routes in northern areas may want to monitor traction and weight distribution more carefully. Likewise, trailers serving rainy areas should have minimal risk of slipping and fishtailing.
6. Compare multiple providers
Once supply chain managers identify the specific trailer they need, the process is still not complete. Multiple vendors likely carry the same inventory, so fleet owners should compare
these listings to find the best deal.
Prices can vary widely between trailer sellers, even for the same equipment. Some listings may feature price ranges over $2,000 below MSRP, so it’s important to explore different stores even when managers find relatively good deals. There’s always a chance that another supplier has a lower price and those savings are worth the time spent looking.
Logistics professionals should also compare warranties, loyalty programs and discounts. The savings and benefits of these offers could offset higher upfront costs.
7. Research Providers
After narrowing down the selections to a few suppliers, supply chain managers could examine them in more detail. Some companies may advertise competitive pricing, but it’s not always worth it if they also have poor customer service and limited support. It may be better to pay more for more reliability in certain circumstances.
Customer reviews are some of the most useful resources to turn to. Managers should research customer testimonials from companies in similar positions to find the most relevant information. dungeon
Keep in mind that people are more likely to share negative experiences than positive ones, so take certain ratios with a grain of salt.
Awards, certifications, and quick responses to inquiries are positive signs to look for. If a company has a lot of negative reviews, doesn’t respond quickly, or doesn’t have a lot of information, it may not be trustworthy.
8. Communicate with all stakeholders
Decision makers should communicate with all relevant stakeholders before purchasing a trailer. This includes talking to drivers to see if they have any idea what features they need.
Likewise, warehouse workers can tell which trailers are best for loading and unloading in a specific environment. Fleet owners should also discuss their needs with suppliers. If they explain their specific objectives
and their budgets, a reliable store should be able to help them find what they need faster. This is especially important for new businesses with less experience.
Find the right trailer for supply chain needs
If supply chain managers follow these eight tips, they should have no trouble finding the right trailer from the right supplier. They can then rest assured that they have made the most of their
investment. Following these steps can help businesses find the optimal equipment for their specific needs.