J.B. Hunt uses technology to cut supply chain waste

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,725 views 

Lowell-based carrier J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. continues to develop its technology platform J.B. Hunt 360 to improve efficiency and remove waste in the supply chain, said Craig Harper, the company’s chief operations officer and executive vice president of operations.

Harper recently spoke to Advanced Clean Tech (ACT) News for a question and answer. On Aug. 18, Harper will be part of an executive panel in a virtual event hosted by ACT News.

“By properly matching trucks and loads and by providing transparency and visibility into the supply chain, J.B. Hunt can drive out empty miles, make more efficient use of available trucks and trailers, and help reduce time spent on unproductive tasks,” Harper said. “We have made significant investments into intermodal chassis and containers. We hope to lead the way by asking ourselves and every other shipper and receiver to make certain that every load of freight that can move intermodally is moving in that manner. We know for a fact that intermodal is 250% more efficient than over-the-road trucking.”

In 2019, the carrier’s intermodal segment accounted for 52% of its revenue and 61% of its operating income.

J.B. Hunt 360 has allowed the carrier to eliminate waste, and in 2019, Harper said the company filled more than 1 million empty miles by matching empty segments to underused trucks.

“So far, we’ve tripled that number in the first half of 2020,” Harper said. “We’ve also seen how the platform can help reduce costs. By analyzing over 650,000 facility reviews in Carrier 360 during 2019, we’ve uncovered a 7% average savings that can be achieved by eliminating excess transit.”

Harper also noted its investment in electric vehicles, including ordering 40 Tesla Semi trucks. J.B. Hunt recently started testing the electric Freightliner eCascadia as part of Daimler’s Customer Experience Fleet.