Carrier TMS Blog

Data should be useful, not overwhelming

At the current pace of technological advancements, it can feel like new metrics and data systems come out every day. This has led to a massive and continuously growing amount of data for logistics professionals. Making sense of it doesn't have to be as challenging as it might seem at the outset. It also doesn't have to take up valuable amounts of time. 

Instead, you can use industry metrics to help you start tracking. If you have been trying to figure out where to start, there are industry metrics that every carrier can and should track. If you are a carrier asking yourself where do I start? this is where.


Four metrics carriers should start tracking

With so much data out there, there are also innumerable metrics you can consider when trying to boost your trucking business and plan for the future. However, primary metrics can make a big difference for carriers right out of the gate. These are some of the most important metrics to pay attention to at the beginning of your data journey. These include:

  • Dwell time
  • Downtime
  • Lead time
  • Fuel consumption

Dwell time

Dwell time, also called wait time,  identifies the length of time drivers, trucks, and equipment sit before processing their delivery or pickup. This metric demonstrates how well a facility functions and impacts the amount of time each of your drivers are on the clock without running their loads.  It can have a significant impact on their hours of service, which determines how many hours they can safely be behind the wheel. For now, what you should aim for is an average of a 2-hour unloading and/or loading window, depending on the freight. Any time spent outside of this offsets the value of the load.

Dwell times impact the number of loads and appointments you can line up,  the number of delayed carrier arrivals, the total time you are paying the driver, and the equipment to move these loads. Learning where the most significant lag times are in your delivery chain allows you to pinpoint problem areas. Build this into the equation when you are considering loads or negotiating deals.


Downtime might seem like dwell time at first glance. However, it is different since the waiting time occurs at a different point in the carrier process. Downtime is the time when a driver or equipment waits while a piece of equipment gets repaired. 

Instead of only measuring the amount of time each repair takes, you should also measure your Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and the amount of time between each failure or Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF). 

You can measure MTBF by taking the number of total operations hours divided by the hours out of service. 

MTBF Forumla

MTBF = Total Uptime /# of Breakdowns 

By knowing the value of each asset and its lost time, you can focus on the assets that mean the most to your profit margin. These might not be the most expensive pieces of equipment. It can also help you decide whether to invest in certain kinds of equipment to minimize the number of breakdowns, therefore reducing your downtime number and loss for your business.

It can also help you determine a better preventative maintenance schedule, account for the MTBF, and make smarter decisions on when it's time to replace equipment.

Lead time

The more efficient the system is, the more money you will make. That includes the beginning of the process from the time you send that initial quote to when you physically send someone out to move the load. This time from book to truck is generally measured in calendar days. By decreasing your lead time, you speed up the entire process and increase your overall productivity.

There are several types of lead time in the retail world. These include transportation lead time, delivery lead time, and logistics lead time.  Establishing a firm schedule as a carrier with consistent clients allows you to honor predicted lead times resulting in higher customer satisfaction and getting payments in faster.

Fuel consumption

Fuel consumption is one of the more obvious metrics that can quickly impact your business's bottom line. The rising costs of fuel are continuing to squeeze margins for carriers across the country. The more fuel you use a carrier, the more the entire trip costs you, increasing the overall cost of each load. From there, cutting down on your overall mileage or doing little things like optimizing your tire pressure can go a long way. 

The current U.S. average for trucks' efficiency is only 6 mpg. However, the most efficient can reach up to 10.5 mpg. This efficiency is largely down to smarter driver behavior. There are all kinds of things a driver can do to maximize their vehicle's efficiency, but it can be hard to keep track of without knowing which metrics to pay attention to while on the road.

Keep track of any variances in the fuel consumption drivers have on each trip to the same or similar areas. Sometimes the straightest route can impact fuel consumption because of slow travel times through cities or increased gradients on a route. Knowing these factors helps you to optimize each trip. 

What is even better is if there is a program that can detail all these metrics for you and generate the best routes for each load.


Kamion: Optimized Truck Management Systems

Kamion powered by Loadsmart is a truck management system (TMS) that takes each of these significant metrics into account and so much more. It helps to organize the data for you in a way that makes it easier to understand even if you are just starting with data collection. 

Kamion isn't just there to organize the data for you either. When you use Kamion, you will also gain further education on what each metric means and how to successfully use it, enabling you to learn and move your business forward each step of the way. Leverage this data-centric education to improve your trucking company.

Get started by talking to the experts at Kamion today.