Truck fleet optimization is always something owners want to improve, but the best ways to do so are often obscure. With so many different fleet management solutions on the market, you have to pick and choose which ones will ultimately deliver the greatest value to your business.
Managing a fleet of trucks has some golden principles, but every company needs to choose the right strategies for its unique model and structure.
By learning how to improve your fleet management skills from a personalized standpoint, you can begin to grow and scale sustainably without wasting time or money on improvements that don’t benefit you directly.
In this guide, we’ll cover 7 things any fleet owner can do to improve their truck fleet management.
1. Go Paperless
Automate and digitize as much paperwork as you can to accelerate your fleet management. While there will always be some documents you need to print and file, many can be hosted online and even modified through a central platform.
ELDs, driver HOS logbooks, DVIRs, insurance policies, fuel taxes, contracts, and more can all be done digitally to keep your business running smoothly for less paper waste. This environmentally-conscious shift is good for the planet and truck fleet optimization.
With automatic data capturing and filing, you can improve your recordkeeping for greater compliance and cut downtime doing things manually.
2. Allow Drivers to Bring Their Own Devices
To earn better profits while managing a truck of fleets, the secret is to lower costs without compromising your business’s potential. For some companies, the only way to save more seems to scale back and work less, but there are plenty of truck fleet optimization options that don’t impede your performance.
For example, BYOD (bring your own device) models allow drivers to use their own tablets or smartphones for a wide range of mobile apps. These can track fuel consumption and mileage, track compliance, provide GPS navigation, and more.
By switching to a BYOD model, companies can cut back on hardware expenses, licensing costs, subscription fees, and reduce the number of hours spent training drivers to use new hardware devices they may not be as familiar with.
3. Learn How to Optimize Routes
Routing your trucks efficiently will lower fuel consumption, reduce the risk of delays or accidents, improve driver satisfaction, and even accelerate delivery times.
Optimizing routes will require some research, as you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the roads and motorways your drivers are going to encounter on a job.
Truck-specific routing should optimize routes to provide minimal disruptions and risk to heavy vehicles. Ensure that your drivers are never forced to reroute due to bridges or roads with weight limits, or that they need to drive through tunnels that are too low for their vehicles.
Explore different route optimization software to find a platform that is both affordable and efficient for your operations. Asking drivers for feedback after they complete a route can also help make impactful changes.
You may also consider incorporating POI databases into your fleet management that help drivers find the safest rest stops and parking lots for their trucks.
4. Avoid Downtime With Greater Preventative Maintenance
Uptime, that is, the amount of time a truck is available, is imperative to lowering costs and boosting performance. Preventative maintenance procedures are the best way to avoid repair costs and lost profit due to vehicle downtime.
Using diagnostic reports and telematics to monitor vehicle health is the best way to improve your preventative maintenance strategy.
Using a fleet management software is crucial here, especially if you’re managing a fleet of trucks with multiple vehicles that are all at different locations at any point in time.
With more in-depth, real-time data, you can schedule maintenance whenever a vehicle shows warning signs without risking a problem worsening until its next scheduled inspection.
5. Start Tracking Trailers, Not Just Trucks
Attaching GPS trackers to your trailers will give you even greater visibility over your fleet. Trailer tracking allows you to tag, monitor, and identify the exact location of any trailer at any given point in time.
You can also set up automatic alerts for trailer activity, such as when a trailer is loaded, disconnected, or when it leaves a certain destination.
6. Incorporate Ongoing Driver Training
Even experienced drivers can improve their technological skills. Driver training programs will ensure that your fleet is always on top of the latest industry trends. This ultimately improves their job satisfaction and enables them to perform their role better.
Annual or bi-annual safety training seminars will ensure drivers are always prepared to respond to an incident or emergency on the road. This should include defensive driving strategies and how to use emergency equipment.
You should also incorporate a driver communication and feedback program. This encourages greater communication between you and drivers to improve operations. Your drivers are the ones who experience your company firsthand; they ultimately shape the experience your customers have with your business.
By improving driver skills, conducting quarterly performance reviews, and filling any skill gaps, you can ensure every level of your fleet operates flawlessly.
7. Optimize Your Vehicle Models
One of the biggest reasons for costly truck fleet management is improper vehicle types. If models are too old or trucks are even too large for what they’re hauling, you spend more to operate and maintain your fleet for no reason.
Vehicle optimization includes everything from truck model to tire type. The smallest details can make a tremendous difference on a vehicle’s ability to perform.
Choosing the right vehicles for your fleet will not only improve performance but lower costs, reduce fuel consumption, and improve mileage.
How to Improve Your Fleet
Start with a comprehensive assessment of your current strategy. Where are costs too high, and where could performance improve the fastest? Sometimes, smaller adjustments that are easier to implement can provide benefits to your company as you work toward larger changes.
Don’t forget to seek out and incorporate driver feedback. In addition to all the data skills and technological advancements in truck fleet management, drivers still provide some of the greatest insight into your company.
Building your trucking company takes time and spending it in the office is necessary but doesn’t have to be painful. Truckbase knows truckers and their pain points. Learn more about how Truckbase can help you with our TMS system, schedule your demo today!