The trucking industry is not what it used to be. In the early 1900s, freight was carried by horses and mules, and the roads were dirt. Then came the invention of the motorized vehicle. By 1930, there were millions of trucks and trucks alone transported over a billion tons of freight every year.
Although the past offers a stark contrast to today’s transportation industry, the fundamentals are still the same. Companies need trucks, drivers, and routes to run those trucks on. It seems like the only thing that consistently changes in the industry is the long list of regulations companies must follow to avoid getting fined or shut down by the DOT.
But not a lot is said about the non-regulatory improvements companies can make to boost revenue and grow consistently over time. In this article, the aim is to share a few tips and tricks companies can use to maintain an upward trajectory no matter if markets are up or down.
There are many points of optimization companies can implement to maximize efficiency in their operations. But here we’re only going to cover five of them.
1. Hire better drivers
2. Investing in a good record-keeping system
3. Offer competitive compensation plans
4. Invest in training programs
5. Don’t bet against the future
Hire better drivers
One of the most important points of optimization companies can make to improve efficiency is hiring the right drivers.
If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past 10 years, you probably know that the trucking industry is facing a massive driver shortage. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still be scrupulous about who you hire and more importantly, who you don’t hire.
It’s never a bad idea to talk with your team about the types of drivers that mesh the best with the rest of your company. Especially with supervisors, dispatch coordinators, mechanics, etc.
In addition to making sure applicants are a good culture fit, make sure your company is conducting thorough screening processes to ensure they have a clean driving record. Furthermore, you should be asking questions about how they handle conflict at work and on the road during their interview.
Invest in a Good Record-keeping System
If you want to run a profitable trucking company, you have to be able to keep good records. In fact, the better you keep them, the more efficient your operations will be.
In the past, most trucking companies used paper records to keep track of their expenses and revenue. But today, the best companies use software that allows them to access data from their trucks, drivers, dispatchers, and other important employees.
With software, you can set up alerts to notify you of any irregularities. In addition to keeping track of everything, you can even analyze your data and identify trends.
DOTReady is a compliance management system for trucking companies to maintain their entire filing system in a digital format that can be accessed anywhere with an internet connection.
Offer Competitive Compensation Plans
Compensation plans play a big role in employee retention. It’s no secret that drivers are the lifeblood of any trucking company. In fact, the most common reason for drivers leaving a company is a lack of compensation. So, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re offering competitive compensation plans for drivers and consistently discussing incentive structures for attracting and retaining good drivers.
You may also consider implementing incentive programs that go beyond dollars and cents. A lot of the time, drivers will also be motivated by things like paid time off, job flexibility, freedom to choose their routes, etc.
Invest in Onboarding & Training Programs
Proper training for new employees, including non-driver roles, is essential if you hope for everyone to march to the same drumbeat. This is why we recommend investing in or creating your own training program to go over proper procedures relating to safety and efficient coordination between departments.
Onboarding (also known as organizational socialization), by definition, is “the mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors in order to become effective organizational members and insiders.”
Don’t Bet Against the Future
At the current moment, the future of transportation and logistics is definitely pointed towards more automation, more regulations, and higher fuel prices. Those are 3 things most everyone can agree on.
Recognizing this offers a unique opportunity to be proactive and get ahead of the ball. If you can put your mind to it, you can bring it to fruition. Do your best to stay on top of the industry, and don’t be afraid to take risks and be a little out of the box. Just remember that it’s the best way to keep your business relevant and profitable.
The future of the industry is bright. But, it’s also very uncertain. It’s a good idea to be prepared for the future by investing in the future. We hope you enjoyed this guide to building a better trucking company.
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