Transportation vehicle utilization
26 Jun

Measuring Transportation Vehicle Utilization: The KPIs

In the fast-paced world of logistics, efficient transportation is paramount. Every inch of unused space and every minute of idle time translates to lost revenue and a larger carbon footprint. To stay competitive and sustainable, businesses must maximize their transportation vehicle utilization. But what exactly does this entail, and how can it be achieved? Let’s delve into the intricacies of vehicle utilization and explore strategies for optimization.


Micro-Level Data: The Key to Unlocking Efficiency


At the heart of maximizing vehicle utilization lies the analysis of micro-level data. This granular information provides invaluable insights into how your vehicles are being used, allowing you to identify areas for improvement. Two crucial measures applicable to this level of detail are space utilization and productive time.


transportation vehicle utilization


Space Utilization: Are Your Vehicles Packed to the Brim?


Space utilization, or vehicle fill, is a critical metric that can be measured in various ways:


  • Pallet numbers and height: While common, this method can be misleading depending on cargo density. Low-density, bulky items may fill the available space (cube-out) before reaching weight limits, while dense items might hit weight limits before filling the space.
  • Deck-area coverage: This measures the percentage of floor space used by cargo and is particularly relevant when stacking height is restricted.
  • Cube utilization: This comprehensive measure considers both height and deck-area coverage, offering a more accurate picture of the total space utilization.

However, measuring space utilization presents challenges:

  • Lack of volumetric data: Comprehensive data on freight volume is often lacking, hindering industry-wide analysis (McKinnon, 2003).
  • Warehouse constraints: Warehouse racking systems, especially in the fast-moving consumer goods sector, often have standard slot heights that limit stack height in vehicles (McKinnon, 2006).



Productive Time: Are Your Vehicles Working Hard Enough?


Productive time measures the actual hours and minutes a vehicle is in use. Ideally, you want your vehicles operating continuously, but factors like loading/unloading, maintenance, and driver breaks make this impossible. Research indicates that a significant portion of a truck’s time is spent idle or empty (McKinnon and Ge, 2004; IGD, 2003).



Other Measures to Consider


In addition to space utilization and productive time, consider these metrics:

  • The efficiency of vehicle usage (tkm/mkm): This ratio factors in both the weight of the vehicle and its payload, indicating the amount of transport capacity used (Léonardi & Baumgartner, 2004). However, it requires specific data that might not be readily available.
  • Overall Vehicle Effectiveness (OVE): This comprehensive metric assesses vehicle availability, performance, and quality of delivery, offering a holistic view of effectiveness (Simons et al., 2004).


The Bottom Line


Maximizing vehicle utilization is a multi-faceted challenge that requires a data-driven approach. By meticulously analyzing micro-level data and considering various measures, businesses can identify inefficiencies and implement targeted strategies for improvement. This leads not only to cost savings and increased efficiency but also contributes to a greener and more sustainable supply chain.


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