The trucking industry is one of the biggest income-generating industries in the United States.
Statistics show that there are currently about 15.5 million trucks that are actively operating in the country. These trucks are responsible for generating a revenue of approximately $255.5 billion per year.
Because the trucking industry transports 70% of all the country’s freight, the nation’s overall economy literally depends on its performance to continue prospering.
Because of this, it is important for trucking companies to continue growing so their efforts would contribute to the development of the U.S. economy and would help — as President Donald Trump puts it — “Make America Great Again.”
In this guide, we share six techniques that trucking companies can use to be more successful. By using these six techniques, truck drivers and motor carriers can improve productivity, increase efficiency, and grow exponentially.
1. Employ Driver Retention Action Plans
Driver retention is undoubtedly one of the key elements of a successful trucking company.
By maintaining a low turnover rate, a carrier can maximize its profits by keeping its recruitment and hiring expenses at a minimum level and by ensuring that it is constantly generating revenue with the number of drivers available.
It’s important for carriers to put together a driver retention action plan since retaining drivers is currently one of the main challenges in the trucking industry.
A recent survey on driver turnover rate shows that over 30% of drivers would resign within three months of being hired and about 50% of them would quit within the first six months. Additionally, carriers might also have a hard time in finding new drivers due to the current driver shortage in the trucking industry.
When putting together a driver retention action plan, following are some of the points that carriers can consider.
- Run surveys to figure out what’s important to truck drivers.
- Tying up salary increment programs based on tenure.
- Improving truckers’ work environment.
- Giving performance-based bonuses.
2. Manage Your Fuel Expenses
One of the key factors that limit a trucking company’s ability to be successful is its growing fuel cost.
If kept unchecked, fuel expenses can lower a carrier’s potential profit and can hinder a company from accomplishing many of its growth and expansion prospects.
Vehicle idling — which directly impacts fuel consumption — can be a real problem in the trucking industry. Reports estimate that heavy vehicles that consume $70,000 worth of fuel each year tend to waste about $5,600 of it on idling.
In addition, studies which are linked to driver behavior show that truck drivers who operate at an average of 65 mph, instead of 55 mph, would consume 20% more fuel than those who don’t.
The good news is that most of these problems that lead to extra fuel consumption and fuel wastage can be easily resolved with the use of ELDs.
ELDs often come with an idle time tracking feature that carriers can use to identify truck drivers who are idling for too long or too frequently.
This information is something that fleet managers and administrators have access to through their fleet management web dashboard. As they identify drivers who are idling excessively, they can start taking the necessary steps to put a stop to it. Identifying the problems to truck drivers and conducting training sessions are proven methods to resolve these problems quickly.
By reducing your fleet’s idling time, you can reduce fuel wastage, which eventually helps you in increasing revenues and minimizing operating expenses.
3. Stay Compliant With Changing Regulations
A carrier’s ability to stay compliant with federal and state laws will greatly impact how successful it becomes. By adhering to government regulations, carriers can maximize their profits by avoiding unnecessary fines and violations. Moreover, trucking companies that closely follow rules and regulations also get more clients and contracts — in comparison to companies which are constantly violating regulations and paying fines.
Moreover, even seemingly minor violations can lead to hefty fines and penalties.
According to the FMCSA, carriers who submit falsified records of their drivers’ HOS (Hours of Service) statuses could face dangerous fines that reach up to $2,750 per day. Carriers who submit late IFTA reports could get fined for either $50 or 10% of their total net tax due, depending on whichever is greater.
While it is true that policy or regulatory changes often occur in the trucking industry, it isn’t impossible for carriers to stay abreast and to keep up with the changes.
They can do this by staying informed. They can follow social media accounts of industry experts and visit trucking news sites regularly. They can also invest in training their team and equipping their fleets with the right tools that can help them adjust to the industry’s dynamic landscape.
For example, having electronic logging devices eliminate the problem of falsified logs. Since ELDs are tamper resistant and record everything automatically, logs cannot be falsified. Moreover, ELD solutions like KeepTruckin ELD Plus also automatically calculate the distance vehicles travel in each jurisdiction. Based on this information, fleet managers can easily calculate IFTA reports in just a few clicks — which is otherwise a tedious process that takes dozens of hours and several days.
4. Schedule Regular Vehicle Maintenance
Performing regular vehicle maintenance would allow you to avoid experiencing potential problems in the middle of your operations.
Staying on top of vehicle maintenance prevents your fleet from experiencing any untimely freight delivery delays.
On the other hand, two things can happen during transportation delays: either the cargo would remain with the damaged truck until it is fully repaired and can resume its operations, or the cargo gets picked up by another vehicle to be taken to the destined location.
In both cases, however, the vehicle breakdown still delays your delivery transaction and places your company’s customer satisfaction at risk.
That is why preventive maintenance is important.
It helps your company reduce any unnecessary expenses by allowing your mechanics to spot damaged parts and have them replaced before the condition escalates into a full-blown mechanical disaster.
Another option that you can use to accomplish these inspections without delay is to equip your fleets with ELDs (Electronic Logging Device).
Some ELDs have a special vehicle diagnostics feature that allows them to actively monitor the presence of vehicle maintenance issues due to them being connected to the ECMs (Engine Control Module) of trucks.
These devices would automatically send real-time alerts to the fleet manager’s ELD dashboard whenever defects and fault codes are detected. This automated process will ensure that carriers are always on top of vehicle maintenance issues, and such issues never cause any delay, customer dissatisfaction, or missed business opportunities.
5. Streamline Organizational Communication
Improving your organization’s current communication standard can benefit you in several ways. It makes fleet management simple and easy, and it gives your customers a better experience throughout the delivery process.
By keeping both your drivers and your customers satisfied by the way you communicate, you are effectively decreasing your company’s driver turnover rate and increasing your company’s customer satisfaction rate at the same time.
With these features, important documents can be captured and transferred without delay. The recorded conversations are also time-stamped to prevent employees from fabricating fraudulent claims.
Additionally, the GPS tracking feature allows fleet managers to update their customers of their cargo’s current location effortlessly. Because fleet managers can determine the locations of their vehicles without calling their drivers, truck drivers can continue driving with fewer distractions on the road.
6. Structure Driver Performance Goals
Another way to minimize the operational expenses and driver turnover rate in your company is to create a set of performance goals for drivers to achieve.
There are several ways that your trucking company can benefit when establishing a clear-cut performance standard for your drivers:
- First, it serves as a means to help your drivers improve their driving behavior.
- Second, it gives your company an objective standard to determine whether your drivers should get an increase in pay.
Some examples to include in your driving performance goals could be to minimize engine idling time, lower average vehicle speeds, and to reduce instances of unsafe driving events.
By reducing the number of high-risk driving events, your fleet can minimize the number of possible road accidents, and improve its overall safety score.
Because an incentive program rewards drivers who are efficient with their fuel usage, and those who operate safely on the road, the simple gesture of appreciation would also help improve the driver retention rate in your company.
To ensure the enforcement and proper monitoring of these performance goals, you would need tools that could effectively track and measure driver behavior.
A tool that can accomplish these tasks is an ELD.
KeepTruckin ELDs also come with a driver scorecards feature that helps improve fleet safety by tracking dangerous driving behaviors — such as speeding, hard cornering, excessive acceleration, and hard braking.
By using these features, you can proactively monitor your fleet’s driver performance, identify high-risk drivers, and coach them to help improve their driving behavior.
In addition to the points mentioned above, following are a few more tips that drivers and carriers can use to be more successful:
- Invest in driver training.
- Develop relationship building programs.
- Put together a feedback system.
- Organize recreational activities.
- Advocate healthy living.
- Establish driver management and alert initiatives.
Although the six tips that we’ve covered seem really straightforward, it can be quite challenging to actively enforce these strategies if your company’s fleets are not equipped with the proper tools.
Investing in ELDs not only serves as a means to jumpstart your company’s growth initiative, but it is also a timely requirement for the upcoming implementation of the ELD mandate this December 18.
Because acquiring ELDs would satisfy both your regulatory compliance needs and your plans for growing your company, it pays for you to start equipping your fleets with these devices as early as today.
If your drivers are still using paper logs to comply with the Hours of Service rules, try KeepTruckin.
KeepTruckin ELDs are powered by the #1 rated mobile logbook app on Google Play Store and Apple App Store, as well as a powerful fleet management system. KeepTruckin ELDs come with several features and start from only $20 per month, with no additional fees or charges whatsoever.
You can experience for yourself all the features that our ELDs have to offer by clicking the blue button below for a free demo.
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