Increasing driver retention is one of the holy grails of fleet management right now. We hear a lot from our transportation clients about the importance of finding and keeping good truck drivers. One approach we’re pleased to see gaining traction is the simple philosophy of treating drivers fully as people in a demanding occupation, rather than as commodities or monetized assets.
Driving, as a job, requires a lot of time, effort and attention. The idea is to respect the drivers and their time, treat them well and make life easier for them. Here are a couple ways to simplify the driving life that also have the effect of improving your operations and hopefully your profitability.
First, make the work experience seamless for them. Try to get everything they need from you, or as much of it as possible, onto one platform. Drivers should have to enter their name/credentials no more than once when they start their driving day to be plugged into your system, get messages from dispatch, see their scorecard and so forth.
Anything more and they’re wasting time they could be driving …or even worse, they could be trying to multi-task while driving …crazier things have happened on the road! So, it would be best to ask for the driver’s name only one time and then carry it through all the occasions when it is needed.
This type of “single sign-on” also boosts security (for one, users won’t have to resort to the risky but common behavior of carrying a single password across several gateways) and cuts down redundancy to give back wasted time. It makes sense not just for your drivers, but your other team members as well.
That’s because it’s too easy to get distracted when switching between apps, entering multiple log-ins and the like. This menace of the working world, also called "app overload," is a prime driver of inefficiency and poor productivity.
Studies estimate that it takes 20 minutes to get back into the groove after being distracted or sidetracked. Further, app-switching leads to more than an hour a day of wasted time, adding up to more than one whole month of workdays in a year.
The lesson to be learned: clean up a messy way of operating and enjoy the benefits of a more effective workforce. Basically, take care of your workers and then they can take better care of your business.
Let’s take a look at another area of impact that could make a huge impact on the lives of drivers, office-based team members and the overall health of your business. It’s no secret transportation is a paperwork-heavy industry, so documentation management doesn’t take a back seat to much else.
Start with the drivers. It’s a common policy to want drivers getting out of their vehicle as little as possible. One way to help do that is to have the driver scan a bill of lading and then send it electronically.
It’s easy to see how this moves the driver along. She just has to take a picture, transmit it and get back on her way, no fuss. But what happens from there might be a different story.
A common set-up would have team members back at the office performing data input from incoming scanned files. Redundancy, inaccuracy errors and a time-consuming manual process lead to document overload and overflow.
If five workers receive 100 documents in a day to be entered and only 80% of them get done because of any of the issues we’ve already discussed, that’s another 100 documents at the end of the day that need to go into the next day’s pile or need to be addressed with overtime and such. If left to stack up, that’s 500 docs a week and 2,000 per month!
The daily workload gets cleared and team members gain more time to do other critical tasks. Plus, more invoices will get sent out in a quicker window, speeding up the payment cycle. It’s a win-win-win(-win-win) situation!
When you make efforts to ease the work-life of your drivers and team members, it can boomerang around into great benefits for the business as well. So, start to look at ways to improve the lives of your people along with ways to better the business. You might find they are often two sides of a most profitable coin.