ICT in Road Transport Operations
Paper in proceedings, 2011
The paper quantifies value adding and non value adding activities in Less-than-Truckload transportation and discusses the reduction of the identified inefficiencies as the basis for adoption arguments for support with Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in transportation. The purpose is to identify the potential direct benefits, quantified in time, of introducing ICT in Less-than-Truck-Load transportation on the level of the individual company instead of the so-far more conventional aggregate level discussion.
Based on driver diaries and participant observations the drivers’ activities of 343 full working days have been classified according to eight different activity types. To increase reliability and reduce the effects of local working practices the data was collected in various regions of Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. Furthermore, data was collected in transport companies of different size, fleet size, and institutional setting. Using statistical methods the data was then evaluated and interpreted with respect to potential ICT support issues.
Despite literature frequently proposing benefits in activities such as driving, loading and unloading, our extensive data collection does not indicate on an individual transportation level any easy to achieve and significant improvement of activities other than administration. In Less-than-Truckload road transportation the benefit on an individual level is primarily in terms of reduced work hours through ICT, replacing administration and waiting times associated with it. Further benefits from reduced driving, loading and unloading that could be exploited depend on a wider adoption by other actors of the transport chain of solutions that build on the introduction of ICT by the motor carrier companies, such as self-service loading and unloading, and condition based maintenance of the vehicle fleet. For some motor carriers these further benefits might show immediately, but they are very limited in terms of quantitative time efficiency improvement. Thus the critical incentive for the introduction of ICT in transportation on the individual level is the administrative benefits.
Though broader than known empirical studies, the sample is still limited to three European countries and 20 companies.
Eliminating inefficiencies is of major interest for managers in transportation as well for their clients. Based on detailed empirical data this paper provides quantification for the shares of different driver activities and relates it to the important question on potential ICT support. It thus provides managers with a realistic baseline to evaluate the potential and the conditions for the implementation of ICT.
While previous literature has mainly focused on ICT benefits enabled on the aggregated level or focused on optimization of the driving/routing, this paper addresses the benefits on the level of individual Less-than-Truck-Load transportation. For transportation companies these benefits are of immediate interest and economic value and thus constitute a major driving force for the implementation of ICT in the transportation industry. We provide a proposition for quantifying potential value of ICT and insights on measurements of driver activities that are of interest to researchers as well as for practice.
Individual company level.