Waste in road transport operations - using information sharing to increase efficiency
Doctoral thesis, 2011
In terms of efficiency, road transport operations have historically seen very little development relative to other supply chain areas and some authors have even referred to freight transportation as the “forgotten factor.” Several studies world-wide have shown a generally low level of efficiency in road transport operations. The U.S. Department of Transportation published a report in 2008 on the costs of inefficiencies in road transport operations, stating that inefficiencies related to, e.g., loading and unloading cost the nation’s road transport operators over 3 billion USD annually. The literature discusses the various efficiency issues in road transport operations, in areas such as, i.e., route planning, organization, routines at loading and unloading and efficiency issues related to security initiatives and wasteful operations. Waste corresponds to everything (resources, time, activities, etc.) that does not add value, e.g., waiting, defects and unnecessary administration. Due to the large environmental and societal impact of transport operations, interest and legislation from authorities and societies is mounting on supply chain members involved in freight transportation to increase operational efficiency.
Previous literature has proposed that information deficiency is a reason for inefficiency and has pointed to information sharing (an overarching term involving the adaptation of processes, information and enabling technology) to improve efficiency, yet it is unclear both how to address waste in road transport operations and how information sharing can improve efficiency and the potential of it. This thesis addresses those questions with the focus “to explore and define waste in road transport operations and estimate the efficiency potential of information sharing.”
The findings of this thesis are relevant for industry, academia and policy-makers. This thesis brings the attention of managers to the various other types of waste prevalent in road transport operations and provides frameworks that are useful in addressing waste in a structured fashion. The drivers’ working time is the biggest individual cost for road transport operators and even minor reductions of waste of drivers’ working time can enable significant cost savings. The academic contribution is definitions on waste, a conceptual framework of information sharing, insights on supply chain transport relationships and quantification of the potential of information sharing. Several authorities are now investing in research and creating roadmaps on how investments in Information Communication Technologies (ICT) can improve efficiency of road transport operations. This thesis contributes to policy with important knowledge on where roadmaps, policies and applications of ICT should be aimed.
road transport operations
transport information systems