Trucking Industry Must Deliver on Maximizing its Efficiencies
Thursday, October 11, 2018|
by Yvonne Sams, Director, Logistics Division
Just as farmers are tasked with seemingly endless regulations and reporting requirements to produce their crops, so are the haulers and transporters of our nation’s agricultural bounty. How we, as an industry, overcome these challenges is key to our ability to succeed.
Let’s take a look at winegrape hauling. More than 90% of California’s 599,000 acres of its famed winegrapes are grown in the Central Valley. To move the more than 4 million tons of precious grapes from the vineyard to the wineries in just 16 weeks requires tremendous logistics.
With a shortage of truck drivers and a multitude of new regulations, trucking companies must be more efficient. We, everyone from the grower, vineyard management and processors, must focus and synchronize our planning, processing and communications to become more efficient. At my company, G3, we are constantly evaluating our approach and systems to find ways to improve. It is clear to us that the key to future success is maximizing our efficiencies as a supply chain. We are fortunate to have long-term industry partners who trust us to come up with solutions. Two examples to note are utilization of our Shuttle Drop Program and the installation of GPS on all our 1,800-plus grape trailers.
To reduce start and stop time, G3 worked with wineries and growers to develop and implement our Shuttle Drop Program. This effort has been successful in minimizing wait times as drivers deliver full load of grapes to the winery, immediately pick up an empty trailer, and return to the vineyard to get another load. Critical to the success of our Shuttle Drop Program is the utilization of GPS tracking. The future is now and GPS provides real time visibility – no lost trailers, drivers arriving on time and no need to ask where is my last load?
In addition, the implementation of more regulations on trucking continues to march on and stakes are high. Failure to comply with the new regulations will impact not only trucking companies but the entire agricultural community and eventually reaching consumers. One example is longer rest time requirements which are a real threat when looking at the needs of a perishable product that must be transported within specific timeframes. Looking ahead, we must plan for the implementation of additional regulations and legislation. This includes changes to CARB, hours of service, piece meal pay and Electronic Logs. Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) have already sent truck rates soaring and more problems could occur when ELDs are required for all intrastate truck movements.
The simplicity of hauling winegrapes from the vineyard at harvest to the winery has been radically changed due to state and federal laws and regulations. More grapes are being produced with fewer truck drivers available to haul which negatively impacts all involved. There is an old adage that seems more true today than ever before – why is it called “farming”? Because “gambling” was already taken. The same could be said about trucking.