Managing your fleet starts with managing your drivers. As the industry evolves and your trucks depreciate over time, the experience and knowledge your drivers acquire throughout their careers will carry your company past any hurdle. They’re the ones out on the road, witnessing your fleet’s performance first-hand. That includes your successes and inefficiencies. While fleet managers’ role is to manage your fleet and oversee drivers, developing them and maintaining driver engagement is a task all on its own.
Driver engagement and behaviors are the backbone to any fleet, and in order to sustain its health and success, they need a solid foundation to support them. If your drivers feel they are kept in the dark when making critical decisions or that they’re a replaceable cog in a machine, their performance will reflect that.
The issue of low driver engagement can be solved from the root. Here’s a few key ways you can leverage the expertise of your drivers to improve engagement while optimizing your fleet.
It’s your biggest expense, and the best way to control that cost is to zone in on the thing that relies on that expense: your fleet. Every skilled driver knows a big factor in a vehicle’s fuel consumption highly depends on how it’s driven.
Monitoring mpg might not seem like an impactful tactic, but when you have multiple vehicles operating under one company, the impact evidently strengthens. Additionally, poor driving behaviors can prove detrimental to your operations. That’s because reactive driving not only increases the chance of accidents, but harsh and sporadic behaviors can lower the lifespan of your assets, including tires, brakes, and engine.
You might be thinking, “I’ve got effective procedures set in place to make sure that doesn’t happen.” But the case in any industry is that detailed policies and measures are only effective if they are executed properly by a compliant team. The compliant team is the key.
The industry is always on the move, and your mind is just the same. So, at times you might forget to pause and evaluate the less-tangible aspects of your operations: the development, happiness, and overall morale of your team.
Low morale leads to high turnover rates, which costs your fleet in the long run by affecting production– preventing income– and increasing the need for training– requiring spending. At the end of the day, when employees are happy, they want to keep the good thing going, so there is a higher likelihood they will take thorough care of equipment and adhere to policies and procedures. So what can you do to boost morale?
Include those who will be affected when making decisions.
- As changes and critical decisions are made, it is important to include everyone who will be affected in the decision making process. From those who manage the finances to your drivers, they can offer valuable insight that can lead you towards a better direction than you initially thought. Remember, they’re the ones on the frontline. Having their input on those decisions results in better buy-in and compliance.
Keep an open line of communication.
- Engage in tactical conversations with your drivers. No one appreciates being micromanaged. You have to trust that your drivers are using their tools appropriately to maximize their performance and productivity, but a quick check-in to give your drivers an update or see how they’re doing can remind them how critical their role is to your fleet.
Invest in more efficient, updated vehicles.
- No one likes to deal with unreliable equipment. It’s a nuisance, a disruptor, and not something you feel proud to use. Studies show that when a fleet’s ergonomics are optimized, it decreases accidents and increases driver comfort, which helps to limit driver fatigue.
Your fleet is a living and breathing operation. Constantly pushing as hard as you can will exhaust your people and resources, but creating strategies to optimize efficiency can produce greater performance than ever imagined.
Drivers ultimately become more invested in the success of the company when they feel heard, valued, supported and considered. They in turn are more thoughtful in their actions, which means improved safety-protocol adherence and fuel management.
Empower Your Drivers So Your Fleet Can Exceed Expectations
Think smarter, not harder. Design your operations to be self-sustaining so it always has a solid foundation to fall back on. Reliable tools are only useful if you have a reliable team, so make sure you have holistic strategies in place and adapt effective software that allows for uninterrupted communication and workflow among your team, from the back office to the road.
Take your strategy a step further and adopt a system that puts even more power in the hands of your drivers. Dauber Applications has an easy to use mobile app to help drivers track loads with simple, safe prompts to optimize their routes. The app provides remote technical assistance in English and Spanish to make sure your drivers always have support. Learn more about the Dauber Process. https://www.dauberapp.com/