In most businesses, the two most significant challenges are reducing costs and increasing profits. Of course, the way business owners and managers approach the challenges will differ in accordance with the type of industry. But when it comes to fleet management for commercial motor carriers, things can get a little tricky. Let’s take a look at three of the most common fleet management challenges and how to effectively address them.
#1: Driver Safety Issues: Preventing Fleet Accidents
According to the results of a Fleet Accident Management survey, fleet drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents than non-fleet drivers. Although fleet owners and managers spend millions of dollars on new technology and driver training to help address this issue, some things are out of their control. For instance, even if the fleet drivers are not at fault, the incident will still have a negative economic impact on the company.
What to do:
- Equip all vehicles with the latest safety equipment, such as automatic braking, blind-spot detection, backup cameras, to help reduce risks.
- Use telemetrics such as live GPS fleet tracking. Drivers are more likely to practice safety procedures if they know their performance is being tracked.
- Provide continuous driver training to keep drivers informed of the latest rules and regulations regarding safety.
Accidents involving fleet drivers can incur huge expenses such as insurance increases, property damage, reduced productivity, workers comp claims, and lawsuits. Overcoming the challenge of driver safety can improve the health of the operation’s bottom line.
#2: Keep Fuel Costs Down
Fuel costs: two of the most dreaded words a fleet manager wants to hear or think about. But there’s no way out of it. You’ve got to deal with the issue. Of course, it’s a never-ending battle trying to predict and reduce fuel costs when they change unpredictably day by day. So, how does fleet management go about staying on top of the challenge?
What to do:
- Use trucking management software (TMS) to manage and monitor driver performance. This software allows you to track driver performance, idle time, and route planning to help reduce fuel costs.
- Provide more driver training. Teach drivers how to maximize fuel economy by changing some of their driving practices.
- Offer driver incentives such as mile-per-gallon challenges. Set expectations for how much fuel they should be using and provide feedback so they understand how their performance can make a difference.
With these suggestions, you will be more prepared when gas prices suddenly spike upward.
#3: Too Many Vehicles vs. Not Enough Vehicles
Finding the perfect balance between too many vehicles versus not enough vehicles can be costly. You need enough vehicles to meet the demands of your clients while avoiding having idle vehicles on hand that are digging into your profits.
What to do:
- Only keep the minimum number of vehicles you need. In a pinch, you can lease a vehicle temporarily.
- Use a TMS to monitor data on drivers and vehicles. The information will help you find problem areas that need to be corrected.
- Conduct regular maintenance on all vehicles to avoid costly, unexpected repairs.
- Increase productivity by retaining good drivers and providing ongoing training. This approach can help you avoid the expense of finding and training new drivers.
Another Important Challenge: Meeting Compliance Requirements
Compliance requirements for the trucking business are complex and it’s difficult to remember every detail of the regulations. But, most DOT rules and regulations fall under two categories: (1) fleet compliance and (2) driver compliance. Here is a simple checklist to help you see the general guidelines at a glance.
FMCSA compliance guidelines:
- Maintain current copies of FMCSA rules at all times.
- Inspect vehicles before and after each trip and document the results.
- Conduct and document routine vehicle maintenance checks.
- Check to ensure that each vehicle displays a DOT inspection number.
- Make a record of any incidents that take place on the road.
- Keep a record of driver safety history and qualifications.
- Record all HOS for each driver.
- Conduct pre-employment and random drug testing of drivers and record the results.
Also, you should be prepared for a DOT audit. In most cases, the audit requires information regarding vehicles, drivers, drug and alcohol testing, revenue, and other data. Having organized and accurate records will help you obtain the information and respond to the audit on time.
At TruckingOffice, we have the trucking software to help you maintain trucking compliance and avoid fines or penalties. Our TMS and ELD work together to provide accurate, readily available data any time you need it.
Rely on TruckingOffice —We Got You!
Of course, you’ll face other challenges in the trucking industry. Staying on top of all those aspects of trying to manage fleet costs and profits is easier with our TruckingOffice TMS package. You’ll see how our system will make your job easier when you sign up for a free trial. It is possible to run a profitable operation with fewer headaches and less stress when you have TruckingOffice on board.