Business fleet management is a stressful job that is demanding and sometimes it will test your last nerve. And yet, to do the job well, it’s necessary to manage a collection of trucks (and sometimes other vehicles) with a deft touch. Passion for the work is a plus point too.
Here are some suggestions on how to manage a truck fleet successfully for your company.
Get Your People Management Sorted
When it comes to people management, it’s necessary to get yourself squared away first. If you’ve got a difficult personal life and that’s overlapping into working hours, then you need to take care of that. You cannot have your mood be affected by outside influences, otherwise, it will impact how you treat your employees, including your drivers.
Similarly, truck drivers may be more used to relaxed banter and not the typical polite office talk. And yet, a balance must be found especially when the truck fleet is managed within the boundaries of an existing business operation that’s more on the corporate side of things.
For instance, drivers need to know what behaviour is expected of them in the office, warehouse, or factory goods in/out locations, compared to how they may speak on the radio in their cab. Having an appreciation of their surroundings before they speak is a good lesson to learn, so everyone avoids complaints from people who cannot handle an off-color joke or two.
Lease or Purchase Trucks Based on Running Costs and Efficiency
Trucks should be leased or purchased initially based on their suitability and carrying capacity for the necessary tasks. But once the type and size of the truck are selected, then they should be chosen based on efficiency and running costs over the full agreement or ownership period.
When one-quarter of your fleet is down at any given time because the most populous make and model in the fleet has a history of being faulty, that’s bad news for everyone concerned. Fewer runs can be done with the still-running fleet. This will create additional stress on the fleet manager and the drivers of the remaining trucks.
Also, truck drivers are either on a salary and may worry about their position or they’re paid based on their hours behind the wheel and so no money is coming in while the truck is in for repair.
Hire or Work with Truck Drivers that Have Excellent (Long) Records
While you do get truck drivers who are a natural and haven’t driven for long, as a rule, safer less accidental prone ones are the more experienced of the bunch.
Having gone through a variety of road situations in a truck and knowing what to do to avoid accidents like slowing down when approaching an unknown variable on the road can prevent potential collisions. Throwing caution to the wind through immaturity can lead to incidents occurring and injuries, or fatalities at the worst.
Favour drivers that have years of trucking behind them with a strong record for safety. While having an accident in their truck dating from when they worked for a previous employer shouldn’t rule them out, it’s good to discuss it to confirm what exactly happened and that it’s not a repeating pattern due to carelessness or inattention.
With that said, also monitor drivers for changes in behaviour too. If someone develops outside complications that begin to affect their work, a fleet manager needs to pick on the cues.
Adhere to Driving Regulations for Hours Behind the Wheel
Even when there are problems because part of the fleet is currently down, don’t put it on the drivers to work longer hours. Not only may this exceed the truck driving regulations for the number of driving hours or hours on the clock for a given week without a break, but it increases the likelihood of mistakes occurring due to being overtired.
Adjust loads, change routes, or reschedule to work around trucks under repair that create fresh scheduling problems. Monitor the driving times through the week for every driver to ensure they don’t work too many hours or contravene driving regulations in other ways.
Take Drivers Through Safety Training
While not all truck drivers will appreciate the stipulation to run through basic truck driving safety, it avoids more accidents than you could imagine. Drivers get into bad habits over time, and if not corrected, they will not get out of the worst of them. So, it’s good to discover what those are through truck safety training.
A side note should be added about distractions here. Many accidents occur due to drivers on the road becoming distracted. This includes other vehicle drivers as well as truckers. All phone operations should be done hands-free using voice commands. Drivers should be warned to check their phones for personal messages, email, and more only during their driving breaks. Doing so avoids the worst that can happen on the road due to distracted drivers.
Also, safety training bodes well when the business needs assistance from specialist truck finance brokers like AGMfinance.com.au to find finance deals for part of their trucking fleet. Companies that insist upon truck driver safety training for all onboarding drivers (and periodic refresher courses for existing ones too) are looked upon favourably as a better risk by specialist lenders like AGM finance and insurance agents.
Use Appropriate Software Tools
While there are many software and SaaS tools in the Cloud to use for fleet management, the important thing is to make use of one of the better ones.
Some aspects of managing a small fleet can indeed be performed on a simple spreadsheet, but at a certain point, you’re better off using a solution designed expressly for fleet management. Doing so will enhance up your ability to juggle the various demands without it becoming too much to handle.
Managing a truck fleet well is an art and a skill. It can be stressful but many managers who work in this field revel in the go-go-go nature of the job. Because it’s never the same day twice, like an office job, it’s a more enjoyable one when they favour change over stagnation.