Gone are the days when fleet managers relied on pen and paper and rudimentary processes to manage company workflows. Today, the 21st century offers a new way to manage everything happening from the back office to the yard. Mobile workflows have changed the game for trucking companies of all sizes.
Trucking companies in the U.S. are far more mobile and reliant on technology than the average fleet was even 10 years ago. There has been a big change in how we work. Roles have diversified and employees now work in a completely different environment than they did before. The responsibilities of the average employee have changed dramatically. Today, no two roles are alike. Even individual truck drivers may complete their job differently. Even for the same company.
Technology Has Changed Consumer Attitudes
The rapid expansion and adoption of modern technology has changed the game for fleets all over the world. They now understand that workflows should keep up with consumer demand. It’s hard to keep up with constantly changing technologies, which means roles and responsibilities at your company must constantly shift to accommodate the ever-changing whims of customer demands that naturally arise as these technological solutions are adopted.
Here is a fact rooted in the change in the industry. Your customer’s expectations, no matter who they are, have gone up precipitously over the past few years. And you can thank the convenience of technology and digital logistics for that. People are far more used to getting what they want, quickly and without hassle than ever before. Thanks to changes in eCommerce, most consumers now consider 3–4-day shipping too long. People expect to have their goods near instantaneously these days.
This is where your company workflow comes in. You must cater the job you do to the needs of your consumer. Are you modifying your procedures and tempering their expectations where necessary? Let’s take a closer look at how you can do this.
Why Organizations Need to Change Their Workflows
Trucking companies must always deal with ever-changing routes, compliance and regulatory requirements, insurance, inflation, and so much more. Fleets have a lot to deal with. When mixed with exceedingly high customer expectations, your trucking company must find a way to keep trucks moving and ensure efficiency across the fleet. And this must all be done without comprising truck driver satisfaction or harming your reputation
How do successful trucking companies do it? From managing customer relations to planning routes and ensuring truck driver happiness. These are all very complex tasks that simply cannot be left to manual processes. With the help of technology, we have left manual processes behind. Furthermore, manual processes do not provide anywhere near the near-real-time visibility that competent fleet managers and back-office teams require to ensure the success of the organization.
Trucking companies must ensure they are in constant communication with everyone, from the executive level to front-line employees. Still, successful operations find ways to cut excessive cross-communication that comes with the day-to-day tasks relating to load deliveries and customer interactions. There are efficient ways to manage these tasks and deliveries. Automated processes are far more efficient at managing these types of data points.
Don’t force your truck drivers and back-office teams to heavily rely on communication from one another to ensure jobs get done. You need to ensure proper protocol and procedures are in place ahead of time and that everyone understands and has bought into them. This causes unneeded friction. You must ensure truck driver satisfaction to ensure you meet your retention goals. Ditch antiquated technologies and workflow processes to make your truck drivers’ days more manageable.
How to Set Up Policies and Workflows that Work for You
Truck drivers encounter all sorts of challenges throughout the day. Most of these changes or disruptions happen repeatedly, which you can imagine, is quite frustrating. Instead, you need to ensure your truck drivers have a step-by-step guide for specific and repetitive tasks. Consider that the average employee spends between 20 to 40% of their time on repetitive tasks. Yet many still get them wrong. Ensuring your people aren’t making needless mistakes saves you money in the long run.
You may also want to consider integrating your company policies and processes into your fleet management system. Providing the right solution to help further guide your truck drivers in their day-to-day job is beneficial to your company’s overall success. Streamline their workflow process to ensure they meet your standard. What will happen as a result? First, customer service outcomes are much better. Your customers reap the benefits from streamlined professional standards and fantastic customer service.
Consider a proven process when you upgrade. You want a system that can integrate with dispatch systems so you can automate functions, such as load assignments, process forms, and day-to-day required tasks. Fleet managers, dispatchers, and system administrators should also benefit from more effective route planning. It helps to make sure truck drivers are focusing on specific tasks at specific times, rather than being overloaded with a multitude of tasks throughout the day.
You will benefit from better trip visibility. And your dispatchers obtain near-real-time trip updates and load details. And won’t your operations team be happy when they can analyze and forecast an entire trip before it even begins? They also benefit from the ability to make changes as needed when route or load fluctuations occur, or unseen events cause trip changes.
How to Set Up an Automated Process Using GPS
GPS systems represent a great way for trucking companies to keep important communication lines open without overburdening truck drivers and dispatchers with overcommunication. Use real-time GPS tracking to minimize unnecessary phone calls. In the end, your truck drivers, dispatchers, and back-office personnel are all happier for it.
When dispatchers need to update customers on estimated arrival times, what do they do? First, they call truck drivers. Not only does this distract the driver, but in many cases, it makes the truck driver feel as though they are being micromanaged. Real-time GPS tracking solutions prevent this problem. Dispatchers can see accurate locations and ETAs at any point–no phone calls are necessary.
Here is an expert tip for your operation. Some solutions can even send ETAs directly to customers. This helps customers see where their shipment is in real-time and prevents them from contacting your dispatch office. You need to ensure you leave some time for compliance in every load.
Truck drivers often become frustrated when they have almost no flexibility with their remaining Hours of Service. If a truck driver has eight hours of drive time left and the destination is seven hours and 30 minutes away, simply stopping to eat lunch or use the restroom can mean not arriving on time and in extreme cases, having to park on the side of the road. That is the last thing any of your truck drivers want.
Use Your ELD Solution to Better Effect
To make the planning process easier, choose a fleet management solution that has ELD compliance data alongside each driver on the GPS tracking map. Be sure both your ELD and GPS solution can fully integrate within your outlined workflow process. You want to make sure your truck drivers fully understand how to use the equipment and how it impacts their workflow.
From business needs to customer needs, and truck driver expectations. What people want is always evolving. We live in a world where trucking companies must look for solutions that help them grow and then scale with their business. Interoperability and futureproofing are important to ensure you don’t find yourself at a technological dead-end.
Truck driver workflows benefit greatly from integrated ELD and truck driver app usage. Truck driver turnover is a significant and expensive problem in our industry. While there is no single solution, as a fleet manager, you can play a critical role in reducing turnover and increasing profitability. Make sure you turn to solutions that benefit both your operation and your bottom line.
Many of the improvements you need to make at the dispatch or back-office level can be handled with a modern fleet management system coupled with an excellent workflow solution. It is critical that you empower your truck drivers to make decisions and understand why they take the actions they do. Make them active participants in how they manage their day and you’ll have happy employees, on-time deliveries, and a more robust bottom line.