Brooks-DeHart: Savings in the South
Newton, North Carolina-based Brooks-DeHart Furniture Xpress is a specialized furniture carrier that operates a 100-truck fleet primarily in 15 states in the Southeast. The company operates from terminals in North Carolina, Tupelo, MS and Jacksonville, FL. Brooks-DeHart hauls furniture from manufacturers and warehouses in North Carolina across the Southeast to stores and retailers in Florida. About 80 percent of the company’s trucks haul truckload and LTL freight long distances, crossing several state lines. The remaining 20 percent of the company’s fleet is used for local furniture pick-up and delivery, located primarily in North Carolina.
Of the company’s trucks that haul truckload freight, nearly 70 percent travel each week into Florida. Brook-DeHart specializes in delivery to the Sunshine State — the vast majority of the furniture delivered there is on the back of its trucks.
For several years, Brooks-DeHart Furniture Xpress used a transponder-based weigh station bypass service to avoid weigh station delays. However, because so many of the company’s long-haul trucks travel to Florida, the ability to bypass the agriculture inspection sites was an important consideration in a weigh station bypass service.
While transponder-based service offered Brooks-DeHart those much-needed bypasses, the administration process was complicated. So, even though Brooks-DeHart’s Florida-bound trucks haul only loads of furniture into the Sunshine State, many still had to stop at the agricultural inspection stations.
“And at some locations it could take as long as 20 minutes for our trucks to exit the highway and make it to the inspection site only to be waved on when the Ag inspection officers determined we weren’t carrying any produce or other agriculture products,” said Tim Conner, Personnel Director at Brooks-DeHart.
“We also had a problem with transponders that would go missing, we must have lost several of them over the years. They were so easy to move from truck to truck. At $100 per transponder it all added up.”
Conner was also unimpressed with the pace at which the transponder-based service added new locations. It only had one location in North Carolina. Meanwhile, Drivewyze offered bypasses at three locations when the state activated it more than two years ago.
Shortly after the company switched from paper logs to electronic logging devices, Conner attended Omnitracs Outlook in Dallas in 2016, and learned about the Drivewyze Weigh Station Bypass Service.
“I just really like the way Drivewyze offers bypass service through geofencing and not transponders, which are easy to lose, expensive to replace and a pain to keep track of,”
– Tim Conner, Personnel Director
“Our drivers also appreciate the Heads-up Notifications they get within two miles of an active weigh station or inspection site.” Conner said.
Drivers were also able to receive bypasses at Florida Agricultural Inspection Stations without a lengthy or complicated application process.
“Because Drivewyze helps long-haul drivers avoid delays at agricultural inspection sites in Florida, they can travel further each day during their 11-hour duty period. The more miles they can drive the more money they can make. A moving driver is a happy driver,” Conner said.
“In fact, we build our routes based on our drivers being able to drive about 700 miles each day because a lot of our deliveries are drop and hook,” Conner said. “We figure that if we didn’t have Drivwyze to avoid those weigh station delays, we would have to reduce those routes to about 600 miles per day. That also means fewer deliveries each week and the company makes less money.”
Conner said the time wasted with unnecessary stops at weigh stations isn’t the only issue. The cumulative impact of those delays throughout the day can place drivers in congested urban areas during rush hour, which only magnifies their problems.
“Our company can also miss out on detention pay for those shipments delivered to certain warehouses that must unload the shipment before drivers can leave to pick up their next loads,” Conner said. “Those warehouses offer the company $60 an hour (to compensate them for lost drive time). Since it can take them up to five or six hours to unload the shipment, the company can make up to an extra $240. But they only get that detention pay if they arrive on time. Even if they are just one minute late, they get nothing and they still have to wait up to four hours for the trailer to get unloaded.”
Conner said he also likes the fact that his local drivers also benefit from Drivewyze by avoiding unnecessary delays at weigh stations in North Carolina and the new locations added on U.S. Interstate 77 in South Carolina. “Those benefits will only increase as Drivewyze continues to add locations in both those states,” Conner said. “South Carolina activated weigh stations with Drivewuze in February 2017. This was great news for our drivers. We run more than 2 million miles in South Carolina each year.”
Conner continued, “When I was being interviewed for my job several years ago, I told the owners that if I run your safety department, I won’t earn you any money. But I will work hard at running a safe fleet operation while finding ways to save you money. I think Drivewyze helps me make good on that promise by encouraging drivers to be safer and more careful by offering more bypass opportunities and by helping to cut our operational expenses.”