6 Ways to Boost Truck Driver Productivity

6 Ways  to Boost Truck Driver Productivity

Fleet operating costs have increased in the last several years due to rising labor rates, replacement tire prices, and increasing preventative maintenance costs. Many fleet managers also find varying costs when they obtain a commercial truck insurance. These additional operating costs can make already tight margins razor-thin.

One way to offset increasing overhead is by boosting truck driver productivity. Let’s take a look at the top six ways fleet managers are increasing their truck driver’s performance.

1. How to motivate truck drivers

Onboarding lays the foundation for the satisfaction level and potential productivity of new truck drivers. Do they feel engaged and understand your company’s expectations?

The bottom line is, developing a solid driver training program creates a better work environment and tells drivers you consider them and their needs.

Consider training videos and giving out resources that provide tips on reducing distractions and driver fatigue. Promote healthy habits and safety by defining good body mechanics as well as the foods and beverages that sustain drivers’ energy levels.

Improving driver engagement invariably boosts productivity. As with most positions, if workers feel like the company cares and is willing to listen and act upon their concerns, they are then willing to go the extra mile. This way, every one of your employees becomes a member of a team.

Ensure to schedule refresher courses so that any bad habits that have developed can be discussed and nipped in the bud before they become a hindrance.  Training drivers are indeed crucial to your logistics operation and business.

2. How to incentivize truck drivers

According to Smartdrive, the American Trucking Association reports that the driver shortage may increase to 174,000 by 2024 in the industry.

Considering that each driver costs about $12,000 to replace, it’s clear that limiting driver turnover is an important consideration when maximizing efficiency and minimizing costs.

Instead of a once-a-year safety or mileage bonus, consider some quarterly key performance indicators such as driver safety, performance, and fuel efficiency. Then develop a program that incentivizes truckers by rewarding their efforts. 

Establish clear, obtainable goals, and a timeframe designed to motivate road truckers and boost driver performance. Keep drivers engaged by maintaining updated program information so that they can see where they stand and are motivated to improve or continue their successful efforts.

As Mary Malone, vice president of business development at Stay Metrics, told Business Fleet, “No one has ever quit a job for being recognized too often or for feeling overappreciated.”

Additionally, make sure your fleet and drivers are adequately protected. A commercial truck insurance quote may increase protection while at the same time reducing costs.

3. Develop accurate performance goals for truck drivers

Part of defining accurate performance metrics involves taking every delivery task into account and combining best practices with a specified number of time frames.

The average time per delivery varies and is not an accurate representation due to the different types of deliveries and customers.

A better approach is to develop standards that are based on order profile. For each different order profile and customer, you may consider the customer requirements, the unloading process, and handling time. Ensure the standards are obtainable and that driver safety has been considered. 

4. Maintain trucking industry vehicles

Keeping a vehicle roadworthy is one of the most important factors for increasing drivers’ productivity. Unforeseen downtime and mechanical failures lead to driver discontent, decreasing productivity, and a deteriorating bottom line.

A solid maintenance program consists of regularly scheduled preventative maintenance. This is particularly important for aging fleet vehicles. Instead of placing the responsibility for routine maintenance, such as oil changes, on the truck drivers, schedule these tasks when the truck is not in use.

Older company vehicles near the end of their lifecycle require a lot of ongoing maintenance and can be a major factor in drivers’ decreasing productivity. A fleet manager can plan for routine maintenance,  but the disruption caused by unforeseen downtime can be difficult to overcome.

In fact, unplanned maintenance is the leading cause of decreasing driver productivity.

When aging vehicles that should be replaced continue operating, rising repair costs, increasing downtime, and diminished safety are the results. As the truck ages, an updated commercial truck insurance quote should also be considered.

In order to maintain productivity, one thing a trucking company should have is a contingency plan in place. This plan includes a preplanned agreement with vendors for replacement vehicles when trucks unexpectedly breakdown. A plan for repairs when truckers are on the road should also be included, as well as a set protocol that determines when a truck is ready to be replaced.

Additionally, fleet operators need to ensure driver compliance when it comes to pre- and post-trip inspections. 

Unfortunately, the result of driving poorly maintained trucks can have a devastating number of consequences that both drivers and fleet owners can be held responsible for. Accidents involving trucks with bad brakes or worn tires can lead to lawsuits in the millions which is a huge problem to face.

Make sure your company maintains adequate protection by obtaining a commercial truck insurance quote.

5. Establish effective key performance indicators for truck drivers

Telematics services and Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking are examples of effective procedures that increase efficiency and route planning.

Data is automatically tracked and allows fleet managers to know a truck’s location at all times. Drivers and managers are also notified if an engine defect occurs.

The service tracks a truck driver’s speed or aggressive driving patterns, and also results in better routing and time management.

Go9 telematics solution is one example of this type of technology.  In addition to providing vehicle data, the Go9 provides a continuous Wi-Fi signal for up to four hours after the truck is turned off.

6. Upfit trucks with adequate equipment

Trucking companies with fleets that are not specified correctly results in decreasing productivity and truckers that cannot operate at maximum efficiency.

Over-specifications may result in increased fuel costs, while under-specification can lead to trucks that are unable to perform their intended role, resulting in safety risks and mechanical failures.

Upfitting trucks with adequate equipment ensure that all jobs can be completed accurately, safely, and in a specified amount of time.  To accomplish this,  a business requires the understanding of the tasks a truck is expected to perform as well as the ideal specification.

Bottom Line: Choose the Right Commercial Truck Insurance to boost driver productivity

Increasing driver productivity is but one of the cost-savings strategies a fleet manager monitors. The rising cost of insurance is another.

We understand the many facets of the trucking industry and how all play a major role in our client’s success. Not only do we offer competitive insurance rates, but we also create a customized plan specific to your needs. We also provide reliable customer service to attend to your needs.

If you’re looking to hire truck drivers, check out our article about the 8 characteristics of successful truck drivers to help you in hiring one.

For a no-obligation commercial truck insurance quote, contact us at SoCal Truck Insurance today.