Efficiency Enterprises, Inc. 6300 Efficiency Way Baltimore, MD 21225

Improve Driver Retention with Fleet Management Technology

Commercial transportation is increasingly facing driver shortages and challenges. Indeed, fleet management requires accountability for seamless fleet services and a driver retention module with high turnover rates.

Alongside good pay and fair practices, improving driver retention with fleet management technology is the solution for commercial trucks in the transportation business.

Why is Driver Retention Crucial in Commercial Fleet Transportation?

Driver retention addresses two essential issues in the commercial fleet business:

Driver Turnover

According to the American Trucking Association (ATA), driver turnover rates for commercial fleets are consistently high due to factors such as “a robust freight market,” “a competitive driver market,” and an increase in carrier freight services seeking drivers.” However, individual carriers experience turnover rate challenges when retaining talent during driver shortages.

Driver Shortage

Driver shortage presents a problem in the United States supply chain. Coupled with rising demand for transportation and shipping constraints for goods, driver shortage causes delays and surges in prices. Further issues include truckers quitting jobs for better wages and working conditions. The shortage challenges present actionable insights to fleet companies aiming to retain drivers.

The Benefits of Using Fleet Management Technology

Fleet management technology seeks to enhance efficient commercial fleet operations and management for customer satisfaction and driver retention through the following:

Process Integrations and Automation

Automation enables integration with other departments, such as sales, marketing, and customer relations. The automation processes directly link to drivers by facilitating the following:

  • Behavior insights, communication management, and improvements.
  • Workflow efficiency; driver inspections, fuel reports assessments, delivery records management, and more.
  • Maintenance for driver documentation and records.

Performance Tracking

Fleet management technology provides invaluable operational management assistance through key performance tracking measures in the following:

  • Maintenance costs, inventory, and diagnostics
  • Driver management and performance evaluation; route adherence, driving habits, and more.
  • Vehicle monitoring and total operational costs; initial acquisition, fuel costs, taxes, and maintenance.
  • Fleet managers can optimize operations which benefits drivers as well.

How Does Fleet Management Technology Improve Driver Retention?

Commercial truck drivers and Fleet managers unanimously agree that work operations have a positive overhaul when technology integration is present. The technology improves driver retention by:

Improves Driver Efficiency

Fleet managers use technology to increase driver efficiency and encourage better rapport with drivers. Precise methods to achieve engagement will vary across carriers and fleets, with the most common practices including the following:

  • Maintaining better communication channels: Technology helps to maintain employee satisfaction by encouraging open communication strategies and offering assurance to drivers that their concerns are factored in.
  • Set productivity goals: Managers use technology to set tangible targets for drivers, including incentives for efficient drivers. It helps in keeping drivers motivated and engaged.
  • Recognize and Award Excellence: Fleet managers implement technology in awarding drivers’ excellent performances. Recognition boosts driver’s morale and engagement. Commercial truck managers understand that drivers who ever feel unappreciated often seek more appreciative workplaces.

Promotes Drivers Safety

Commercial truck managers acknowledge that the safety of drivers is paramount. Technology offers integration services that make for easy, better, and safe workplaces by:

  • Monitoring driver behavior: recklessness is easily identified and corrected using fleet management tracking. Managers can perform timely interventions and guide and coach drivers on dangerous driving using dash cameras and tracking.
  • Timely Vehicle Management: Technology enhances proactive vehicle maintenance. Vehicle diagnostics allow for reactive maintenance and reassure drivers of their safety.

Rewards Driver Performance

Fleet management technology recognizes the driver and improves driver retention. Trackable metrics include:

  • Delivery timelines
  • Registered safe miles driven
  • Route adherence
  • Customer reviews

Commercial truck drivers become highly motivated where incentives are present, improving driver retention. Drivers will remain in a job position that they believe is more beneficial.

Fleet management technology improves driver retention by promoting driver safety, enhancing driver performance recognition, and informing on best practices for increased driver engagement.

Are you interested in learning more about how fleet management technology increases productivity, improves safety, and creates better fleet management integration solutions? Contact us today, get a quick custom quote, and have one of our fleet management advisors guide you.

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How To Drive Safely While Sharing The Road

Driving a truck or other type of delivery vehicle on a public road comes with great responsibility. In the first place, you are responsible for property worth a large amount of money. Secondly, your driving habits could have a direct impact on the safety of other road users and their property. The tips below will go a long way to helping you become a safer driver.

The Driver Is The Most Important Part Of The Equation 

Never forget that the driver is in charge of everything. Without him or her being wide awake and alert at all times, it doesn’t help that the truck and other equipment are in prime condition. Drivers should understand the importance of getting lots of rest before the start of a trip. And they should never be encouraged or allowed to exceed the permitted driving hours.

Drivers Should Always Remain Alert 

Drivers should understand that they are sharing the road with other people. They should, therefore, always be aware of everything that is happening around them. Look around the truck and as far down the road as possible for any signs of danger. And when traveling on a highway in heavy traffic, always look for a possible ‘escape route’ in case an accident e.g. happens in front of you and you have to act quickly.

Check The Weather Forecasts 

The weather can, and often is, a major contributing factor when it comes to accidents. Before a trip (and if it is a long trip, also during the journey) the driver should check the weather forecasts to see what weather conditions are likely to be. He or she should also be aware of what the outside temperature is to be prepared for adverse road conditions, for example, ice on the road surface.

Make Sure You Adhere To The Recommended Following Distance 

Typically, if something should go wrong, it’s most likely going to happen on the road ahead of your vehicle. That is why the correct following distance is so important. If you always make sure that there is a ‘buffer zone’ in front of your vehicle, chances are very good that in case of an emergency you will be able to stop before plowing into the traffic ahead of you. For a loaded truck, seven seconds is normally regarded as the minimum safe following distance.

Do Not Change Lanes Unless Absolutely Necessary 

The chances of an accident happening increase significantly every time a driver changes lanes. To put that differently: you can dramatically reduce the odds of getting involved in an accident by simply staying in your lane whenever possible. If you do that, and an accident occurs, it is much more likely that the other vehicle will be at fault instead of you.

Refrain From Using Cruise Control As Far As Possible 

Cruise control should only be used in perfect conditions. It can be extremely dangerous in areas where there are roadworks, on icy or wet roads, in urban areas, in heavy traffic, or on hilly or winding roads.

Use a GPS Designed With Truckers In Mind 

This type of GPS shows crucial information such as the distance to your exit, traffic reports, when it’s time to change lanes, etc. This can remove a lot of stress from the driving experience for the driver, particularly when he or she is driving in an unknown area. Just remember that even a GPS can sometimes fail, so always have a nice old-fashioned map ready as a backup.

Take Regular Breaks To Rest And Quickly Check Your Vehicle 

This will prevent you from becoming too tired to properly focus on the road. It also provides an opportunity to look for potential hazards like air leaks, soft or damaged tires, or dripping oil or coolant. Remember, a truck doesn’t have to be moving to be a safety hazard. If your truck breaks down in busy traffic it will immediately become a major accident risk.

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Know The Best Tires For Your Truck

Keeping your trucks in top condition is a matter of great importance to you and your business.

If you don’t have the right tires on your vehicles, it can mean trouble for both driver and truck, as well as damaged cargo. Here’s everything you need to know about choosing the best tires for your truck.

The commercial truck tire’s most important needs

You should not buy a truck tire without knowing the following:

  • The tire’s load capacity
  • The tire’s traction or grip on wet and dry pavement
  • The tire gives a smooth ride and comfortable feel when driving on rough roads
  • A good wear pattern, ensuring your tread will last longer between replacements

The different needs and uses of truck tire tread designs

Depending on the application, some truck tires are designed for hard work in tough conditions, while others are designed for smooth, paved roads. The tread pattern on these types of tires is quite different from one another, so it’s important to know what type will best suit your truck before you purchase them.

  • Linehaul applications: This type of tire is designed to provide maximum traction and wear. It’s perfect for long-haul drivers who often need to keep their trucks moving in inclement weather.
  • Regional applications: For limited areas of around 250 miles in urban environments with lots of starts and stops.
  • Vocational application: This type of tire is designed to handle off and rough road applications. It’s perfect for trucks that are used for work purposes.
  • Super Regional applications: These tires are designed to be used on both regional and linehaul applications (hub-and-spoke).

Load capacity rating

Load capacity rating is perhaps the most important number you should know about your truck tires. This number tells you how much weight your truck tire can support, but it’s more than just a theoretical statistic; it also affects how safe and comfortable your driver is while hauling. When carrying heavy loads, this is particularly important—the wrong amount of pressure in a tire can cause it to blow out, and that could result in an accident or even death.

Rib designs and Lug designs

There are two major types of truck tires: rib designs and lug designs. Rib designs have a series of grooves cut into them to help distribute weight evenly across the tire surface, while Lug designs have large treads that can grip even slippery surfaces like ice or snow. Both serve the same general purpose, but they’re often used in specific areas depending on what type of terrain you’ll be driving through.

Rib designs are generally used for dry conditions and long distances, while Lug designs are better for short trips and wet surfaces.

The right tire can help trucks operate at their best.

The tires on a truck are the only part of the vehicle that touches the road. Think of the weight they carry, and the hazards they help avoid. The right tire can help trucks operate at their best, but the wrong one can cause unnecessary wear and tear on an engine, transmission, and suspension.

Most truck tires are designed to work in different conditions. By selecting the right one, you can get the most out of your truck’s performance and lower its fuel consumption.

Whether you’re looking to improve your truck’s performance or just need to replace worn-out tires, it’s important that you choose the right ones to run a successful fleet. Truck tires are designed to work in different driving conditions, whether they’re hauling a load or not. The right tire can help trucks operate at their best, but the wrong one can cause unnecessary wear and tear on an engine, transmission, and suspension, while also increasing fuel costs.

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8 Ways to Cut Down on Fleet Operation Costs

Managers are always looking for ways to bring down fleet operation costs and make their businesses more efficient. Luckily there are easy, cost-effective ways to bring down fleet costs while also improving the longevity and safety of your trucks.

1. Proper Driver Training

The easiest way to bring down fleet costs is to invest in training your drivers in fuel-efficient driving practices. Bring in defensive driving instructors to teach your drivers to drive slowly and cautiously. Instigate penalties to discourage aggressive driving, which can cost you up to a dollar per mile on some trucks. Multiplied across your entire fleet, driver training can make a big difference for your bottom line.

2. Carefully Monitor Tire Pressure

 Tire pressure can have a very large impact on your fleet’s fuel economy. The farther away from the manufacturer’s recommended PSI your tires are, the less fuel-efficient your vehicles will be. Weekly or daily checks can ensure that you are staying within the ranges recommended by tire manufacturers.

3. Run Vehicles in Shifts

Every driver does not need their own vehicle. Having your fleet vehicles operating in a morning and afternoon shift reduces the number of vehicles you need to operate while increasing fuel economy (reduces fuel used on startup and warm-up, especially in colder climates). If you move to a shift system, be aware that increased run time on vehicles will lead to slightly increased maintenance costs.

4. Reduce Miles Driven 

The fewer miles your vehicles cover, the less fuel and maintenance they will require. Investing in a quality fleet vehicle tracking and maps software can greatly reduce miles driven by avoiding inefficient routing. The better organized your fleet is, the more efficient it will be.

5. Lower the Cost of Your Fuel

Research the different company fuel cards that you give to your drivers. Depending on the company you get your cards from, you can receive discounts on fuel and other benefits that will help you reduce costs. Several cards will give you as much as 0.15$ off a gallon which can add up to big savings when multiplied by the size of your fleet.

6. Consider the Lifecycle of Your Vehicles 

 Often companies will mandate to keep vehicles in service for longer than they are operationally viable to avoid the cost of buying new vehicles. This increases overall fleet costs because as vehicles get older their maintenance costs will increase exponentially. New vehicles will require less maintenance and will have better fuel economy, making getting the lifecycle of your vehicles right a top priority for reducing fleet costs.

7.  Consider Resale Value

When buying fleet vehicles, consider what will allow you the best resale value. The easiest way to ensure a higher resale value is to buy trucks in neutral or high-demand colors. White vehicles are proven to have the highest resale value of any color. Keeping detailed maintenance records that can be provided to potential buyers is also proven to ensure a higher resale value.

8. Buy or Rent Vehicles in Volume 

Buying or renting your fleet vehicles in volume allows you to negotiate a lower price per vehicle than if you were to buy vehicles in smaller groups or individually. Volume purchasing requires good forecasting of your business’s needs and requires more capital, so make sure you are prepared before attempting to buy in volume.

Decreasing the operating cost of your fleet is a great way to make your business more efficient and increase profits. Implementing any of the simple solutions provided above will go a long way to making your fleet safer and more cost-effective. Let Efficiency find the best solution for your business!

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Staying Safe During Winter: What Truck Drivers Need To Know

Roads can become extremely dangerous during wintertime. When the snow begins to fall and temperatures drop to sub-zero, even highly experienced truck drivers can have problems with poor visibility and the reduced traction that is so typical of icy roads. Luckily there are a few things they can do to help them stay safe in these conditions. Continue reading to learn more.

Double-check before the trip that you have all the necessary supplies.

If the trip does not work out as planned and you are involved in an accident, get stuck in heavy traffic, or have to pull off and wait out a storm, you are going to need certain supplies. That’s why it’s important to double-check before the trip that you have blankets, warm clothing, water, and food – and that the diesel tanks are full.

Check the truck before the journey.

Getting the truck ready for winter is a crucial part of staying safe and preventing accidents. Start by checking the engine oil. Also check the condition of the tires, tire pressure, antifreeze levels, brakes, lights, and everything else that could negatively impact having a safe journey.

Be on the alert for black ice.

This thin sheet of transparent ice typically forms when temperatures start approaching freezing point. The first warning sign could be when ice starts building up on the windscreen. Reduce your speed when approaching bridges, shaded areas, and overpasses since these are spots where black ice often first starts to form.

Increase following distances.

It takes much longer than usual to bring a large vehicle to a complete standstill when roads are wet, icy, and slippery. This is why truck drivers should always increase following distances during the winter months to help prevent accidents.

Be aware of and prepared for all weather conditions.

You should always make sure that they are up to date with the latest weather conditions on their planned route. Drivers should also use a GPS, radio, or another form of communication to be alerted of accidents ahead, roads that are closed, etc.

Turn signals and hazard lights become even more important during winter. Experienced truck drivers typically have their own rule of thumb for each different road condition. For driving in winter, they would use four to five blinks before moving into the adjacent lane. And they don’t try to match the speed of the other vehicles on the road at all costs. If their load or the road conditions require this, they would rather drive more slowly and use hazard lights to warn other drivers of this fact.

Do not try to be a hero.

There is no load worth a human life. If a truck driver experiences extremely dangerous driving conditions, he or she should know that it’s fine to look for a safe spot where they can wait it out. If there is no space at the nearest truck stop, stop on a ramp or anywhere else that is not in the way. Just beware of parking on a steep incline as you might have issues pulling off again with a full load.

Exercise caution when getting into and out of the truck.

Wintertime means slippery conditions that make it very easy to fall and hurt yourself. Wear boots with a solid grip and when visibility is low, always wear high-visibility clothing.

We always err on the side of caution, especially in unpredictable weather! Looking for more tips or information about how to improve your fleet management? Let Efficiency help! Contact us today.

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4 Ways To Minimize The Risk Of Risky Drivers In Your Fleet

Statistics show that on average commercial fleets have a disturbing 20 percent yearly accident rate – and that human error is behind nearly 80% of all these accidents. A high-risk driver can cost your firm as much as $70,000 in a single accident. To put this into perspective: it’s nearly double the cost of the average workplace injury.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, therefore, that fleet managers are under increasing pressure, not only to identify risky drivers, but also to boost safety levels by doing whatever is necessary to remedy the situation.

If the safety of your fleet is a top priority, it’s imperative to change the driver issues that are causing all these accidents. But where do you start? Continue reading to find out.

Start by identifying high-risk drivers

If you only have three vehicles in your fleet, you will already know which one of the three drivers is a higher risk than the others. If you have 300 vehicles, things are much more complex. Work methodically. Start by checking all the drivers’ accident histories. Also, check every vehicle record. This will help to identify those drivers who have been involved in the highest number of accidents or who have abnormally high numbers of traffic violations on their record.

Classify these drivers into risk categories

Let’s say that, after studying all the vehicle and driver records, a list of 40 drivers who have an above-average number of infractions on their record emerges. That does not mean they are all in the same risk category. The next step is to classify them into risk groups.

At the bottom would be those with one or two equipment violations. The next group could be those with three or four violations, including breaking traffic rules. In an even higher risk group could be those with more than four violations, including serious speeding and other moving violations.

Right at the top should be those who have committed serious offenses like driving under the influence, ignoring stop signs or traffic lights, or exceeding the speed limit by more than 25mph.

Train and re-train problem drivers

Once it becomes clear who the high-risk drivers are and where the problem areas lie, the next step is corrective training. Whether this happens online, behind the wheel, or in a classroom, it should specifically focus on eliminating problem areas.

Some issues can easily be fixed by making sure the drivers in question get a refresher course that covers topics such as following distances, the dangers of speeding, driving in bad weather, etc. In other cases, the driver might have to be monitored behind the wheel to pinpoint and eliminate bad driving habits.

Create a culture of safe driving in your firm

While a once-off ‘drive safely’ campaign might be useful, in the long run, more will be needed. To keep the issue of safe driving on your drivers’ minds, consider doing the following:

Involve managers. Managers are in closer contact with drivers than the top management team. Start by making sure safe driving is one of their top priorities and request them to regularly stress the importance of this whenever they are in contact with drivers.

Safety meetings. Safe driving is important enough to warrant a regular meeting where you, for example, get someone from outside the firm to give a talk on this topic. It will also go a long way to keep safe driving on everyone’s mind.

Memos, emails, and newsletters. On their own, these are not enough. But when used as part of an ongoing safe driving campaign, they can help to keep the message alive. If one of your drivers, for example, celebrates 10 violation-free years, use one or more of these to make sure everyone knows about it.

Sources:

https://www.mixtelematics.com/safety
https://www.transpoco.com/blog/how-to-reduce-fleet-vehicle-accidents-starting-with-these-5-tips
https://www.automotive-fleet.com/340207/how-to-deal-with-high-risk-drivers
https://www.wilmarinc.com/blog/8-steps-to-handle-risky-drivers-in-your-fleet
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