No matter the specifics of your particular business, effectively managing your drivers is essential to reducing costs and fostering a productive atmosphere conducive to yielding higher returns. Remember, an effective business fleet is only as good as its management. And good management is based on a variety of factors, especially the material conditions of production. The following tips will give you some ideas on how to manage your fleet drivers effectively, ensuring that they drive safely while maximizing fuel efficiency.
Communicate With Your Drivers
Whether you realize it or not, driving for a company is a stressful and demanding task. It requires long hours away from home, as well as the stress of moving a truck across bay highways. Even the most experienced drivers have their quirks. For example, they may not be used to the hours or the geographic features of the route. For this reason, it is important to communicate exactly why your policies are laid out as they are. Granting insight into your policies will foster deeper trust between you and your drivers.
Further, effectively communicating how your drivers can benefit from adhering to your rules is an effective means of getting them to understand your position while simultaneously incentivizing them to perform optimally. However, you should take extra care to make sure you are communicating as effectively and clearly as possible. For example, if you track your trucking fleet with gps software make sure your drivers are aware of the time and money that can be saved through its implementation. Not doing so could foster mistrust and resentment.
Make Sure Your Drivers Understand Your Expectations
Setting stringent guidelines for your drivers to adhere to will directly influence their accountability and consequently ensure that they are driving safely, with the interests of the company at the forefront of their minds. When informing them of current and brand new policies, it is important to make sure they have read and possess a working knowledge of what has been communicated.
One way to ensure this is by quizzing them, though you may want to take extra care to ensure they understand why they are being quizzed so that they do not take it as a personal slight against their intelligence. Additionally, having a concise maintenance policy that is adequately communicated from the very beginning is essential to ensuring optimal driver performance, less mileage expenditure, and lower costs.
Make Sure Your Drivers Have Access to Training
Drivers without the skills required to maintain efficiency can cause financial and social damage to your company, some of which you may not be able to repair. One way to avoid such pitfalls is by implementing a comprehensive training program, so everyone is on the same page. For example, training could consist of lessons that teach drivers how to map optimal routes, find the cheapest fuel sources, drive in adverse weather, and use any management software you may have implemented. This process should continue well after the initial training, if only to make sure drivers are staying sharp and understand any new technology. Another way to ensure compliance is to accompany them on the road so that you can monitor their performance.
Incentivize Good Performance
Incentivizing performance inspires drivers to adhere to company standards and fosters productive competition. For example, you could give out an award for lowest fuel expenditure, or even cheapest overall fuel costs. These types of contests will have a positive economic impact on your company.
Prizes can be structured in a way that benefits your company as well: temporary vehicle upgrades, cash, or even a company-wide performance board are all ways to simultaneously improve morale, reduce costs, and inspire drivers to perform optimally. However, when implementing these contests you should take care not to put too much pressure on your drivers. One way to avoid this is to communicate with your drivers to ensure you are implementing incentives that work best with their individual personalities.
Implement Tracking Software and Impose Sanctions
Driving someone else’s vehicle does not ensure the same type of care that accompanies a personal vehicle. Drivers may be reckless, careless, or simply not think about being economical with fuel. One effective means of guarding against such complacency is through the implementation of tracking software.
Doing so can have an immediate impact, reducing expenses while promoting safer practices. If problems persist after that point, you can charge your drivers for portions of their accident fees, which will get their attention and assuage them to approach their job with more care and seriousness.