Justify your private fleet

Tech-savvy private fleet operators are able to justify the cost of their complex operations through high service levels, smart maintenance programs, and revenue generating backhaul opportunities that can make even the toughest CFO smile.
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Continental Floral’s private fleet allows the wholesale florist to change a route if a customer misses a truck and gives it the flexibility to add capacity at holiday times.

By John D. Schulz, Contributing Editor
November 10, 2010 - LM Editorial

Private fleets have always been in the crosshairs of corporate bean counters. After all, if you’re in the business of producing widgets, why bother with the additional cost of operating a private fleet of trucks?

Why bother? Well, at more than $300 billion, private fleets make up the largest component of the $680 billion trucking industry. As Coca-Cola, Sysco, Wal-Mart Stores, Pepsi Bottling Group, U.S. Foodservice, Haliburton, Tyson Food, Walgreen’s, and other corporations can attest, their private fleets aren’t considered mere cost centers. Instead, these savvy logistics operations consider their fleets a strategic operating advantage that can be used to win market share and satisfy finicky customers— and even enhance the role of the private fleet manager and the logistics department within the corporation.

Not that operating a private fleet is easy. Transportation, particularly trucking, has never been more complex. There are regulations galore, from the federal, state, and even local level covering safety, environmental, technical, operational, and other aspects of the industry. Communities and states increasingly look at trucks as easy tax targets; and in the meantime, engines are constantly being designed to run cleaner, but only with increasingly complex maintenance issues.

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About the Author

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John D. Schulz
Contributing Editor

John D. Schulz has been a transportation journalist for more than 20 years, specializing in the trucking industry. He is known to own the fattest Rolodex in the business, and is on a first-name basis with scores of top-level trucking executives who are able to give shippers their latest insights on the industry on a regular basis. This wise Washington owl has performed and produced at some of the highest levels of journalism in his 40-year career, mostly as a Washington newsman.


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