Improve your drivers’ performance this year to stay competitive and profitable; otherwise you might lose loads from customers to your more effective competition.
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If your drivers are too slow or inefficient, you’ll continually lose customers to competitors that deliver on time, every time. Customers aren’t looking for a slow and inefficient distributor, they want the best and the fastest – at the best price. If you want to stay competitive and profitable, you’ll need to increase your drivers’ productivity this year.
Related: How to retain the good drivers in your fleet
Vice president of client solutions for Emkay, Brad Vliek, says: "When drivers are not maximising their efficiency, fleets feel the effects. An inefficient fleet is affected financially, and a lack of productivity can result in several things, some within the driver's control and some that are not."
According to Diana Holland, director of fleet services for Merchants Fleet Management, improved driver productivity enables drivers to stay focused on their jobs while simultaneously ensuring the lowest possible operating expenses, which could vary if left uncontrolled.
Here are three steps you can take to improve your drivers’ productivity:
Step 1: Implement a toll and rewards programme
Trucks lose time standing in line at toll booths because drivers often fumble around for cash. Introducing a fleet card for them to use to pay for tolls can speed up the process. Cards are also easier to track and trace, making it easier for you to reward drivers that arrive at toll booths as you’ve plotted in your delivery schedule.
“Estimates of productivity gains vary between 10 to 15 minutes per month per truck, assuming the average queue at the cash lane is 30-45 seconds. For a 100-unit fleet, this is up to 25 hours of unproductive time per month [if you pass through a toll booth everyday],” explains Jayme Schnedeker, product manager for GE Capital Fleet Services.
Setting up a rewards programme can motivate your drivers to perform at their best consistently. You want to ensure to reduce as many unproductive hours as possible, which will help to improve your business’ productivity and profitability.
Step 2: Improve driver engagement
No matter how you decide to implement this step, know that it will boost productivity amongst your drivers. Possible steps could be to:
- Involve drivers in decisions that affect them
- Communicate more openly with them
- Scheduling refresher courses or training to ensure they are consistently up to standard.
These strategies will all assist in improving driver involvement and as a result their productivity because they will feel valued and important to your business’s success.
Related: Are you sabotaging your recruitment efforts by tracking your drivers?
Step 3: Be (more) pro-active and organised
Steve Jastrow, strategic consulting services manager for GE Capital Fleet Services recommends that you should schedule pro-active repairs. You can do this on-site, during off-hours to optimise your vehicles’ uptime. You can use web tools to locate repair facilities and fuel providers to save your drivers from looking for facilities themselves and losing time. Implementing telematics devices to enhance route optimisation will also ensure your workers take the most efficient routes to their destinations.
Brad Vliek adds: “Efficient fleets have productive drivers. The concept is simple, the tools and programmes that are available for fleets are designed to not only improve driver productivity, but also increase your bottom line. When it comes to driver productivity, the long-term benefits outweigh the short-term effects.”
- Create reward programme to incentivise your drivers to work more efficiently and arrive at toll booths on time.
- Improve driver engagement by involving them in key decisions and openly communicating with them. It will assist in making them feel included and appreciated.
- Be pro-active with scheduling repairs, and more organised when finding fuel providers. Implementing the latest in telematics can help you optimise routes too.