Operational Flexibility – with so many people looking for flexibility – like an airline when they leave late they speed up the plane to arrive on time safely.
Flexibility has to be in the truck and how your dispatch speed is figured as it is not in the HOS. With the advent of the electronic logging mandate and the rigid 14-hour rule, there is a lot of discussion in the regards of the need for flexibility. Could it be we are looking in the wrong area for the flexibility? If your operation is based upon hitting the maximum possible revenue-generating miles every day of the week, month, and year you could be setting yourself up for failure.
It would seem the easiest place to find flexibility would be in how we are dispatched. I have heard of carriers dispatching based on an average speed as low as 45 MPH. By having built-in flexibility due to the lower dispatched speed it leaves room to get the job done when the day does not go as planned.
The other area where flexibility can be found is in the speed the truck travels down the highway. By spec’ing a truck and trailer properly you may be able to make up for traffic delays or anything else that held up your progress.
This is an area I have been experimented with, the 70+/10 project. As I have been demonstrating in my previous blogs I have still been able to obtain excellent fuel mileage at speeds up to a posted 75 mph. This has been accomplished by aerodynamics, proper driveline components, and having the right tire selection.
The lifetime average of my 2018 aero X powered by the Detroit DD15, 400 hp/1750 fpt, DT12 transmission and 2.16 axle ratio was 10.2 prior to the beginning of the 70+/10 project. The average fuel mileage since the beginning of this test one month ago is hovering right at 9.6 mpg.
My routes have allowed me to cruise at a slower speed and still make it to my delivery point on time. The purpose of this current project is to simply demonstrate the operational flexibility of my current Freightliner Cascadia. The project will continue as I work to obtain 10 mpg at/or above 70 mph.