The State of Manufacturing: A Deep Dive Look at the Partnership between Manufacturing and Full Truckload Transportation

The manufacturing industry has been especially impacted by the many supply chain disruptions of the last few years. Whether it’s the global chip shortage, packaging shortages, labor issues, or tight market capacity, manufacturing has not been immune to these issues.

But how has the manufacturing industry fared compared to the overall state of some topline full truckload metrics? Using proprietary project44 data, we take an in-depth look at on time performance and stop dwell in manufacturing supply chains.

Manufacturing Outperforms Overall Industry for On-Time Performance

On time performance is a measure of the percentage of shipments that arrive within their scheduled delivery window. Generally, this metric shows the health of the trucking industry, meaning it drops when carriers are hitting obstacles and rises when the truckload industry is healthy. However other factors can impact this metric, like weather and even facility issues. Except for June through October, the manufacturing industry outperformed the overall industry.

Manufacturing OTP

High performance comes down to the fact that manufacturing operates in a lean fashion, meaning that most of their warehouse space is dedicated to material used in the actual manufacturing process. They do not have ample space for excess inventory of raw materials. As a result, raw materials are often shipped in on a recurring and consistent schedule to meet weekly production goals. This leads to strong and stable relationships with carrier networks. Additionally, due to this stable nature, carriers are easily able to plan for loads to ensure they have dedicated capacity for the required lanes. All of this adds up to on-time performance that’s better than the industry as a whole.

However, on- time performance for manufacturing companies fell below the overall market from June through October – which correlates with truckload peak season (August to October). While this does align with truckload peak season, this is not an annual trend based off project44’s 2021 and 2022 data. Labor shortages have been common and widespread, but manufacturing has been hit hard. On top of that, the manufacturing industry has always had high turnover rates when it comes to employees. Often, those months are busy and critical for production due to the holiday season, which leads to employment incentives like bonuses and competitive wages that bring more employees into the door. The gap here could be a direct result of an inexperienced workforce not being available for deliveries rather than an indication of carriers falling short.

Overall, the on-time performance for full truckload deliveries is strong for the manufacturing industry thanks to the meticulous planning and constant communication with their trusted carriers.

Manufacturing Stop Dwell Above the Overall Industry

Stop dwell measures the amount of time a truck spends at its drop-off location. This metric can showcase how warehouse health is and is impacted by factors like yard space, management, and building capacity. While the overall industry has a lower dwell time than manufacturing, that does not necessarily point to yard issues at manufacturing facilities.

Manufacturing Stop Dwell

Unlike on-time performance, when it comes to stop dwell, the overall market significantly and reliably outperforms manufacturing. Inherently, this seems like a bad thing, but it actually can be attributed to the unloading styles used in different markets. When a trucker arrives to a yard, there are two ways that shipments are generally delivered: a load drop and a live unload. A load drop is when the driver is given an assigned spot to leave the trailer, they drop it, and they leave (either bobtailing out or taking another trailer from the yard). During a live unload, the driver will pull the load all the way up to the unloading dock and wait until the warehouse associates fully unload the contents before leaving (either with or without another trailer).

As one can imagine, a load drop is much faster than a live unload in terms of stop dwell, but a live unload gets the contents of the truck into the warehouse faster. This is crucial because, as previously mentioned, manufacturing is famously lean and if they are getting a shipment, it is because they need it. Using a live unload gets the raw materials onto the line in an overall more efficient manner.

Key Takeaways

  • The manufacturing industry outperforms the overall industry in terms of truckload on- time performance
  • An inexperienced labor pool can impact on-time performance in manufacturing
  • Stop dwell in the manufacturing industry is consistently higher than the overall market due to many facilities opting for live unloads rather than trailer drops

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