Backloading is a term used to describe utilising spare space on a vehicle and planning a journey for multiple stops to reduce the distance travelled and increasing productivity.

Effectively, it’s an exercise in logistics. By planning for roundtrip hauls you can better utilise space a vehicle has available to increase productivity, reduce mileage, and as a result save time and money. It’s not a process available to every business. But for those that can take advantage of backloading, there are some considerable savings to be made.

What are the benefits of backloading?

Cost savings – Always near the top of any list of benefits is the potential to save money. If you have space on a truck that could be used to transport some goods, it’s costing you money not using it. You’ll have to spend money on fuel when those goods are transported, and possibly man-hours if a separate journey is made to transport those goods.

Improved productivity – Improving productivity is always an ongoing goal for any business. By being able to move more goods within fewer journeys, there’s a clear productivity gain. A lot of businesses that implemented backloading are also able to pass on reduced delivery times to customers and improve the total number of deliveries they’re making.

How can backloading help fleet operations?

When breaking down the benefits a level further, there are a number of ways backloading improves fleet operations:

Reducing lead times – Being able to cut lead times on deliveries has a huge positive impact on a business and its customers. It might be the difference that gives you a competitive edge over your competitors. When integrated with real-time GPS tracking software, it can lead to more business for shipping companies too.

More flexibility – Being able to identify space that can be used on trucks to and from their destinations opens up more possibilities for adding goods on either side of the journey. Backloading has become essential to logistics companies, as has using GPS tracking software. Being able to locate a driver and how much space they have available at any given time, opens up the possibility to take on extra jobs across the country.

Can backloading reduce costs?

It’s a process used in several industries, one of which provides a perfect example is ‘the moving industry’.

Moving companies are able to split the costs for multiple companies if they’re able to plan their route and transport furniture or whatever they’re carrying for more than one customer at a time.

Also, being able to pick up another load near to or on the way to their destination saves sending out an additional truck. If you operate storage trucks or carry goods long distances as part of your fleet operations, backloading is something you should look into in more detail.