Avoid these 5 things to increase truck driver productivity

In this article we talk about everyday aspects, which routinely hamper driver productivity.

While your internal team might be doing everything right - including controlling expenses, and implementing the right policies, educating drivers, onboarding them seamlessly - there are a few on-road aspects that cannot be controlled from the headquarters.

Here we elaborate on five such aspects that happens, and which needs to be avoided.

1)    Failure to plan the trip comprehensively:

It’s usually incumbent on the management in most cases to plan a driver’s trip - end-to-end, considering aspects such as restocking provisions from a distribution centre or from the area of the head office. Especially in the case of LTL and other same-day deliveries, failure to account for small skirmishes would snag precious hours from a driver’s schedule.

An initiative from the management for better trip planning - or awareness on how drivers can also plan their day will reap rich rewards.  

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2)    Absence of a routing software:

When new drivers are not educated about nifty technologies such as this, it leads to wastage of their time and yours in the long run. A routing software gives them more visibility than Google maps by incorporating aspects such as stops, maintenance locations, fuel finder, parking spot finder etc.

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With the right routing software - your truckers can take on more deliveries especially in the LTL scenario. Furthermore, this allows them to focus less on paperwork and prioritise on what matters to your trucking business.

3)    Excessive idle time:

This is a hard one to solve, because idle times are defined by external factors that truckers cannot control. For example:

  • Being stuck in traffic

  • Finding a parking spot

  • Loading and unloading

  • Processing paperwork

  • Talking on the phone attending to a sales or a service call

  • Warming up or cooling down the interior of a vehicle in winter or summer

All of this reduces their time on the road. The aspect that you can control here is their education around each of the aforementioned instances: For example, when you educate and motivate your truckers to switch off the engines when they are actually not driving, you can have some impact on operating cost.

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4) Accidental Downtime:

Mechanical breakdowns and accidents are the biggest contributors to downtime.

Continuous wear and tear without adequate maintenance impacts driving, mileage and ultimately a breakdown. And in some cases, when this leads to accidents, the problem balloons to a whole other level, bringing in factors such as insurance, liability.

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Other factors that contribute to downtime are:

  •  Expired tags/registration.

  •  Registration renewal denied due to unpaid violations.

  • Truck towed/booted due to illegal parking.

  • Lockout, out of fuel, dead battery, or flat tire.

Except for the occasional dead battery or flat tire, all of the above are preventable through adequate awareness and training.

5)   Violation of Company’s Policies:

Deliberately deviating from policies, procedures, and instructions set by the company for the truck maintenance can result in reduction of productivity.

Policy violations, such as drink driving, speeding, jumping traffic lights, missing scheduled preventive maintenance, failure to fill down breakdown reports and other paperwork, usage of the logging devices, comply with ELD mandate, failure to obey public notices such as 'No Parking' , ‘No ‘U’ turn’ clearly shows that violations are commonplace, can (and will) increase downtime and expenses. Additionally, it will also affect the safety of your truckers leading to compensation payments, lost time through injuries, truck and trucker damage, etc.

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The costs caused by violations are large, but most of the trucking companies are unaware of this. This lack of awareness can itself increase the potential for violations.

How to avoid this?

The first step to increasing productivity is to make drivers aware of the above aspects. When you drive awareness around aspects such as trip planning, using robust software, enforce company policies, you solve for half the problem.

We say it with confidence because we’ve seen this happen time and again with our customers.

Noticeboard enables companies to target messages to individual drivers to influence behaviour - for example, we notify drivers periodically about safe driving, if their CSA scores drop below a specific level. We flash warning messages, capture the change in behaviour overtime, and provide real-time visibility to the management.

While driver productivity is paramount, Noticeboard also helps the managerial staff maximize their productivity with state-of-the-art automation tools. As a result, we’ve seen productivity gains to be transferred from department to another - and ultimately to truck drivers.