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

Tips To Overcoming Supply Shortages for Your Fleet

Supply shortages of any kind interfere with your normal business processes, inflating prices and disrupting the flow of inventory. When your business depends on rubber hitting the pavement, nothing can bring you to a screeching halt faster than a tire supply shortage.

While you can’t control the number of tires available on the market, there are things you can do to overcome tire supply shortage and minimize the impact it has on your fleet.

Understand Why Tires Are In Short Supply

If a tire shortage causes you to cancel or alter arrangements with your client base, you’d better have a good explanation ready. Patiently walking your customer through the reality of supply and demand can be crucial to prevent the perception that you’re making excuses, and may help you maintain valuable relationships.

Tire shortages are caused when there is a rubber shortage, shipping difficulties, or increased demand in the tire market. Interruptions in the cultivation of rubber trees can lead to a long-lasting decrease in supply. As nations develop, the demand for tires may increase. The availability of shipping containers or other materials can also decrease the number of tires available for purchase.

When fewer tires are available, the overall supply of vehicles also decreases, posing a significant challenge to fleet owners who need a reliable stable to conduct their business.

Reorder now

In a shortage, there’s no such thing as ordering too early. Vehicles that usually take six to eight weeks to acquire can take six months or longer during a shortage. Evaluate your fleet and identify the vehicles that are likely to need major repairs soon, and plan to replace them with newer, lower mileage vehicles. This strategy, which is known as a life-cycle strategy, will help you keep your fleet on the road and your monthly maintenance costs fairly steady.

Preserve Existing Tires

Decreasing the effect of a tire shortage on your fleet means taking good care of the tires you already have.

The first step is to institute a tire rotation schedule. Regular rotation of tires ensures that they wear evenly, and have treads of similar heights. Tire life is reduced when you run a vehicle with different sized tires on the same axel.

The other crucial part of keeping your fleet’s tires in good condition is avoiding underinflation. Severe underinflation is known to contribute to tire failure, a safety issue that all drivers and fleet personnel are keen to avoid. Even a slightly underinflated tire will wear out more quickly than a properly inflated tire, and yet checking tire inflation often falls off the list.

A tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) can be installed directly on the vehicle, sending data back to a centralized source in real-time. A TPMS can be mounted on the tire itself, on the rim, or on the valve.

An alternative to installing TPMS on every vehicle in the fleet is the purchase of a single-station automated tire inspection system. Rather than tedious manual checks, an automated tire inspection system merely requires the driver to position the vehicle over the sensor plate. The tread and pressure are automatically measured and stored, providing valuable data that can be used to optimize your maintenance schedule.

Consider a Fleet Partner

Navigating fleet ownership is difficult enough when you’re not trying to overcome a tire supply shortage. Let Efficiency be your partner. As an expert advisor with industry connections, Efficiency can be a valuable resource to your business. We just might give you the boost you need to stay ahead of your competitors. Contact us today to discuss the right fit 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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Boost Your Fleet Management Solution With These 6 Steps

Regardless of the size of the business, managing a fleet of trucks can be both stressful and complex. From fuel costs to truck maintenance, hiring the right staff, and training them, fleet managers have an unenviable job. Fortunately, technological advances are rapidly starting to make the process a lot easier. Below are a few tips on how to boost your fleet management solution.

1. Choose the best vehicles for the company’s needs

This is one of the most important tasks of a fleet manager. Depending on the type of industry that your firm operates in, procuring the right type of vehicles that best meet operational needs can make or break the business.

From strictly adhering to maintenance requirements to determining optimum vehicle replacement cycles and carefully considering disposal options can all have a major impact on the fleet management program’s success or failure.

Another important consideration here is vehicle reliability. It’s of little use if truck B costs $10 000 less than vehicle A but the direct and indirect costs of breakdowns will amount to three times that.

2. Optimize schedules and fleet delivery routes

Routes that are properly planned will undoubtedly increase customer satisfaction rates. It is crucial to provide your customers with accurate estimates for delivery times and small appointment windows. Efficiently planning delivery routes can help to shorten delivery times and will improve driver safety because there will be no need for them to rush. Ultimately this will also have a positive impact on accident rates.

3. Have an open-door policy

The fleet manager is a core part of any successful equipment and vehicle management program. His or her knowledge helps to keep track of issues and trends that might affect not only clients but also internal departments of the company. That is one of the biggest reasons why the fleet manager should always make time to listen to what drivers, clients, and other stakeholders have to say.

4. Control spending professionally

One of a fleet manager’s most important duties is to ensure the optimum use of the capital the company has available. Factors that can have a major impact on the firm’s success include:

  • Deciding whether to buy, lease, or rent vehicles based on sound financial criteria
  • Ensuring that the company gets the best financing rates
  • Taking into account tax incentives and other tax implications when making financial      decisions
  • Negotiating the best possible prices
  • Taking into account resale values and operating costs when making purchasing decisions
  • Planning for the firm’s future operational needs

5. Use technology to plan truck sizes and routes

New technologies such as GPS tracking can help drivers to arrive at their destination safely and efficiently. With proper route planning, they will be able to avoid roads with weight limits, low bridges, and heavy traffic. Drivers will also have access to live information about road closures and detours so they can choose the best alternative route. All of these can play a major role in driver safety and customer satisfaction rates.

6. Encourage safe driving habits and improve the performance of your drivers

Regular driver training is another crucial responsibility of fleet management. The aim here is to improve safety standards and efficiency. Focus on issues such as reducing fuel costs and eliminating bad driver behaviors like excessive idling, hard braking, and speeding. Probably the best way to do this is to make it very personal. Keep track of those drivers who might need training in specific aspects of the job and make sure they get the training they need.

7. Reward positive driver behavior

Another good idea is to have an incentive program in place that rewards drivers for positive behavior. With modern technology, it’s very easy to keep track of issues such as speed fines, delivery times, accidents, etc. If the company rewards those drivers who perform best in these areas it will motivate other drivers to improve. In the end, it will reduce costs, improve customer satisfaction, and benefit the whole fleet’s efficiency.

Want to discuss more fleet management solutions for your business? Let Efficiency help! Contact us.

Sources:

https://www.mixtelematics.com/blog/11-tips-for-improving-truck-fleet-management
https://www.mixtelematics.com/5-ways-to-make-your-fleet-more-efficient
https://info.rastrac.com/blog/improve-fleet-management-operations
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Readying Your Fleet for Winter: Why It’s Important

Harsh winter conditions and frigid temperatures are hard on vehicles, especially fleet vehicles which spend hours on the road. To help avoid repairs and costly downtime during winter, you need to ready your fleet for winter in the following ways.

Pay Close Attention to the Tires

Cold temperatures affect tire pressure as it causes tires to deflate. If unnoticed, deflated tires will adversely affect the tire’s durability, fuel economy and pose a threat to overall safety. Therefore, you need to keep tabs on the tires to minimize these risks.

Besides, the freezing temperature during winter causes rubber compounds in tires to harden. Since tires are made of rubber, they become less effective in gripping the road.

As part of tire preparation, rotate the tires and set reminders to keep rotating them. Consider switching from rib tread to lug tread tires to enjoy better stability and vehicle handling to drive smoothly on challenging roads. Additionally, install valve caps on the tires to avoid ice and build-up on the tires.

Change to Winterized Fuel and Protect Your Brakes

A major complaint during winter is vehicles that don’t start when the temperature goes below zero. Fortunately, you can make use of winterized fuel which operates at extremely low temperatures. You can also make use of a special additive package to increase horsepower and reduce fuel costs.

Brakes are also crucial for highway safety, especially during winter. With snow on the roads, the road gets slippery and needs your brakes to be optimally functioning. Check on your brakes and the brake chamber for any tears or signs of corrosion. Consult your mechanic and ask them to add some lubricant to the brake adjusters for reliable stopping power.

Frequently Service Your Fleet and Check Fluids

Cold weather can damage the wearable components of your trucks. Therefore, during winter, you need to be proactive about your fleet maintenance. Frequently check on brake pads, worn belts, and hoses to catch problems in time and avoid expensive repairs. You should also check the glow plug operation for diesel trucks.

Pay close attention to your vehicle’s fluid levels. Since engine oils are not the same, using the wrong oil, especially during winter, can result in excessive engine wear. Besides, heavy oils tend to be highly viscous in cold weather, thus don’t offer the same lubrication as in warm weather.

Therefore, for an easy fleet startup, consider using full-synthetic oil with low viscosity that can operate effectively under different temperatures. As a fleet rental service, you can consult us for recommendations on the best cold-weather fluids to use.

Why You Need to Prepare Your Fleet

Since vehicles are manufactured to survive harsh weather conditions, why should you get your fleet ready for winter? Winter comes with extremely harsh conditions, and ignoring preparation tips means you will be risking antifreeze failure, breakdowns, and low tire traction, which can cause accidents and losses.

Preparing your fleet for winter is important because, first, it saves you money. Although you will spend money getting your fleet ready for winter, it will help save money you would have otherwise spent making repairs or paying for accidents you could have avoided with proper procedures.

Second, preparing for winter helps preserve car tires. Tires are expensive, and it is essential to enhance the durability of your current tires. Besides, failing to take care of car tires during winter could also affect your vehicle’s alignment, causing more inconveniences.

Lastly, preparation helps your fleet remain safe with minimal chances of damage and loss. You wouldn’t want to lose merchandise during transportation. You can avoid this by ensuring your fleet is ready for the harsh winter conditions.

With the above tips, you can easily take care of your fleet during winter. Contact Efficiency today for all of your fleet needs.

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How to Remove Stress Out of Commercial Truck Leasing

For many companies, commercial truck leasing has been nothing short of a highly stressful affair. Instead of enjoying and experiencing the joys of truck leasing and realizing business dreams, what they experience is just a protracted nightmare. Fortunately, there are several tips that you can employ to ensure that you don’t end up too stressed by truck leasing.

Do Thorough Research on Truck Leasing Programs

Most of the mistakes you will make when it comes to truck leasing are a result of trying to do things at the last minute. Therefore, you must avoid doing that and ensure that you know everything you must know ahead of time. In fact, the more details you find out ahead of time, the better your decisions will be when it comes to getting into lease agreements.

One of the best things you can do is talk to experienced operators about best practices when it comes to leasing trucks. There are several questions you can ask. For instance, you can inquire about their monthly or weekly rates or down payments. You can also find out if they handle any maintenance, towing, or repairs? The trick is to know as much as you can before you sign anything. Find out what’s in the lease contract. If everything is clear before you sign, then the chance that things will go wrong becomes slimmer. The truck leasing service should be able to answer all of your questions.

Read the Terms of Service

If you are regularly transporting heavy loads, it means you will likely need to lease trucks for a longer period. So before you agree to anything, ensure that you read the terms and conditions thoroughly, so you don’t get into an agreement without proper understanding. You need to know the kind of support the leasing company is promising to offer. This will help clear things if something unexpected happens. You also need to find out if there are any distance limits placed on the trucks. Failure to abide by some of the conditions listed in the terms and conditions can result in penalties.

Consider Prices

As with all your expenses, you need to compare several offers and pick the one that best serves your interests. You must never jump at the first deal you will find. Some service providers might just charge you a lot of money even if their service is no better than the next. The first thing you need to do is set a budget and ensure that you stick to it. Hiring services rarely negotiate, so you need to find a provider with a price that you are comfortable with.

Check the Type of Trucks

Another thing you seriously need to look into is the size of the trucks you’re looking at leasing. Older vehicles will probably not be as efficient as you want, and they need more maintenance. If you are planning to purchase the trucks at the end of the lease, it is not advisable to pick trucks that will be difficult to maintain and upgrade.

Accessible Service Centers

It’s not uncommon for vehicles to break down. Sometimes even the best-maintained vehicles can have problems. Before you sign the lease agreement, you must find out how quickly the provider can address the problem and where their service centers are located. You need to get your trucks from a service that takes the safety of its customers seriously and offers 24/7 roadside assistance. Some of the best service providers will provide you with a replacement truck at no extra cost to ensure that there are no delays on your part.

These are some of the things you must look into to ensure that you don’t end up in a tricky spot after leasing trucks. The idea is to be well informed when it comes to how lease agreements work and what you should be looking for in a service provider. Let Efficiency Enterprises make your leasing experience easy! Contact us today to learn more.

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