FourKites Releases new Research Findings Regarding COVID-19


There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has made a significant impact on the global economy. Thankfully, several countries are beginning to feel some relief as they are seeing a decline in the spread of the virus. However, according to a recent report published by Chicago-based provider of visibility and logistics tracking solutions, FourKites, the global supply chain is still reeling from the effects. 

In this report, several of the struggles that both Europe and the United States face in the logistics world is greatly highlighted. It groups together all data that was collected during the months of February and March 2020 and through this data, the report indicates that there was a 24% increase of late load deliveries in those 2 months. This is mainly due to extended dwell times. 

For those not aware, dwell time is the amount of wasted time spent waiting at a distribution or fulfillment center to have the truck loaded or off-loaded. It also includes time spent during intermediate stops, such as freight depots, multiple stops for LTL shipments, and other additional scheduled freight movement transfers. As a sidenote, dwell times can often be decreased when working with a 3PL such as Redwood to properly manage your movements.

The delays and other reporting data from FourKites also indicate that there are wholesale changes being implemented in some areas of the global supply chain in order to help reduce dwell time, improve fulfillment volume and ensure timely delivery of commodities to manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and ultimately – end-users. 

Let's dive into this report and take a deeper look.


The Highlights of the FourKites Report


Increase in Re-Entry Delays

One of the most frustrating situations a transportation company deals with is re-entry delays. This happens when a driver shows up to their pickup or delivery on time but is turned away, or sent to a designated holding area. 

Reporting from FourKites indicates that re-entry delays spiked more than 36% in March in a matter of one month. 


Impractical Appointment Scheduling

Transportation companies are generally flexible with freight pick-up and deliveries. But there comes a point when recommended appointment scheduling becomes impractical for the driver and/or carrier to oblige. The reporting from FourKites noted that unachievable appointments times increased by 18% in March compared to February. 

One of the major contributing factors is the fact that many facilities are operating on a first-come-first-served process of receiving shipments. 


Freight is Moving Much Quicker than In the Past

Across the globe, freight movement has seen rapid growth in the speed with which it is transported. The reporting indicated that in the US and Europe the average shipment time was 2% faster from February to March. A major contributing factor to this is the lower traffic levels due to state-based stay at home orders and the FMCSA’s waiver of current Hours of Service regulations


How to Reduce Dwell Times?

The information collected by FourKites raises a few important concerns that are plaguing transportation management in times of health-crisis situations. That said, the COVID-19 pandemic is uncharted territory when it comes to the global supply chain. 

However, there are a few ways that those in logistics can reduce the potential of dwell time or delays in cargo movement. 


Improve Communication Methods

With increased volume in demand comes the reality that situations change and evolve quicker than ever. One way to reduce dwell times or delays in pick up or deliveries is to improve communication methods. 

Whether it’s determining which communication preference is best suited for individual carriers or upgrading TMS software solutions to improve connectivity capability in the warehouse, the key is to ensure you have the best communication methods possible to stay on top of changing schedules. 


Create Dedicated Receiving and Shipping Areas

If you’re blessed with multiple receiving docks, set up dedicated areas for receiving goods and shipping goods out. This will help you maintain organization, reduce freight mix-up, and keep workers safe. 


Expand Warehouse Hours if Possible

If there is a segment that is not impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in a negative way, it’s the retail industry. Companies like Wal-Mart, Amazon, and other major retailers (both brick and mortar and eCommerce) are hiring thousands of part-time or full-time employees. As these people become trained, consider expanding warehouse operations, which can increase the ability to secure inventory with reduced errors.