Using TMS to Minimize the Impact of New Hours of Service Trucking Rules

Trucking capacity for over the road shipping in North America is already projected to be tight for 2013; perhaps tighter than ever before. So it is with great unease that the carriers and shippers alike await the imminent implementation of new federal hours-of-service (HOS) rules which are scheduled to take effect on July 1. While the proposed new rules won’t impede daily driving time which will stay fixed at its current 11 hour limit, changes to the 34-hour restart rule – adopted in 2004 – are certain to have the effect of reducing the amount of time drivers can be on the road each week. Cumulatively, the new rules, however they pan out, will reduce the overall number of trucks on the road at any given point. The Journal of Commerce has a detailed article on this supply chain disrupting change in their April 1st issue entitled, “Trucking’s Ticking Clock” (subscription required) which does a great job of explaining how the new rule change will adversely impact capacity among other issues. Also see DCVelocity magazine’s article on the topic here, for more details.

In the above-referenced JOC article, author William Cassidy zeroes in on who will be most negatively impacted. While the jury’s still out, consensus is that those shippers relying most heavily on over-the-road, long distance hauls will be the ones most disadvantaged by the new rules and the reduced capacity in their wake.

For those organizations using a TMS and optimizer software tool to manage their transportation processes, the impact can be minimized greatly. Several UltraShipTMS client users have already enlisted support to leverage the visibility and planning capabilities such tools deliver. At the recommendation of UltraShipTMS subject matter experts, these clients have been running volume reports from July 2012 through their optimizer tools. Using that data, they are able to model hypothetical load and lane corrections based on presuppositions about how the new rules may alter the landscape come this July. Gaming out numerous scenarios ahead of the actual shift will position these shippers to effect quick and tested changes to their lanes and loads.

When the boundaries of the change finally come into focus, these organizations will be able to operate with little to no disruption in their supply chains – inbound or outbound. Those not utilizing TMS and optimization tools will be forced to assume a reactive posture once the change occurs, leaving them at a significant competitive disadvantage.

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