Managing a fleet of vehicles is not without challenges. If you own a fleet or you’re managing one, you will play a pivotal role in minimizing the risks in vehicle accidents, breakdowns, and driver performance. It is your job to make sure that your fleet is running efficiently and always on time. You have to run the fleet with a budget and at the same time make sure that your vehicles are productive and generate more than enough revenues.
Before technology, fleet managers had record books. They write down everything in notebooks and if they have the time, they can go back to their records for servicing dates, vehicle upkeep schedules, and which drivers are for a particular commercial vehicle. That is if one has the time to manually check everything.
With today’s technology, softwares can automatically track everything You can check the mileage, fuel levels, dispatch, driver safety, and vehicle tracking, and driver management among others.
If you can use technology in almost all aspects of fleet management, you will be more relaxed and comfortable knowing that your vehicles are all ready for optimal performance. However, there needs to be a human side in some parts of fleet management especially in fleet driver performance. Yes, your software may be able to track them, calculate their earnings, schedule them and their deliveries and monitor their progress but you also need to be present by setting up meetings and learning more about their needs.
Here are some tips to ensure that you get the best fleet driver performance from your drivers once and for all:
You need a fleet driver management plan.
Fleet drivers are the most important asset in your company. Without them, your vehicles will be no use to you. It is crucial that you create a management plan for your drivers. Start with equipping your vehicles with telematics to improve safety management. With telematics, you can monitor both car and driver and equipment performance.
You can also prepare your drivers for operation plans and involve them when purchasing new vehicles or acquiring new systems for all the vehicles. Plan your goals, align them with your objectives, develop a step-by-step plan, and put them in motion.
Hire qualified drivers
Hiring competent drivers is a challenge. Your driver will be the face of your company in many ways. Whatever a driver does will reflect on the kind of company that you have. It is important that your driver has the right skills, certifications, and other qualities that you need in a driver. Before you hire one, make sure that he has the following:
- Valid commercial driving license
- Clean driving record
- Understands technology
- Alcohol and substance abuse free
Set safety standards
Before hiring drivers, ensure that they are clear with the safety standards and policies that your company has developed. Let them read and understand the company handbook. Standards should be followed and make them aware of the consequences if rules are broken.
Fleet vehicles must also be maintained regularly. Drivers need to identify potential breakdowns and issues. Having safety apps and fleet management software can do the job well.
Give additional training
Continuous training must be mandatory. Not all drivers were trained the same way. Some even don’t have formal training. Teach the importance of wearing seat belts. Show them why distracted driving like using mobile phones can be dangerous. Take them out on the road and do one-on-one training if needed. Give them additional learnings like first aid basics and personality development.
They can also attend seminars for road dangers, defensive driving, safety training, basic vehicle maintenance, and incident reporting.
Some More Tips
Respond in real-time
If there are any problems or concerns, address them at once. Don’t wait for the next day, or the next week and months before you respond. Acting swiftly can lessen problems in the future. As soon as you are alerted to an accident or car trouble, respond accordingly. This will let your drivers know that you care for their protection and safety. It will also make them realize the importance of any technology attached to the vehicles.
You can also immediately address problems that are not work-related. If any of your drivers have a family emergency, you can show your support and care by getting constant updates on their situation and sending help immediately.
Giving your drivers the attention and protection they need will help you retain them. Finding competent drivers is hard. It is a competitive industry and most drivers go where they are appreciated. If your company respects your drivers, you will not have a hard time hiring and keeping them.
Set realistic goals and offer competitive salaries. Motivate them by recognizing their achievements and trusting their judgment on the road.
Build meaningful relationship
Engaging with fleet drivers just for dispatch or work-related instructions will not get you anywhere with your drivers. You need to be consistent with your communication with them and talk about work and non-work-related topics. Contact them regularly. Check up on them and ask if they have any issues regarding their work. Give them the opportunity to air their concerns. Ask about their family. Invite them for a good time outside work. These are just some of the examples that you can do to build trust and camaraderie among your drivers and yourself.
Support and reward
Your fleet drivers are your biggest asset. They are the brand ambassadors of your company. They sacrifice family time and sleep and work long hours often alone to make sure that they provide a good service. There are many ways to show your support for their sacrifices. One is by giving rewards or incentives.
- Acknowledge drivers who go beyond the distance to deliver the goods and services. Give them awards or plaques to show your appreciation.
- Reward safe drivers. If you do this, other drivers will avoid risks on the road because they know that will be rewarded for being safe.
- Give them the opportunity to lead. You can do a mentorship program that will let your seasoned driver team up with new ones and mentor them.
- Establish a driver incentive program. This can be in the form of vehicle upgrades, stipends, vacation vouchers, and the likes.
- Have team-building exercises where your drivers can bond and get to know each other. This is important so that they will get to know each other even if they often work alone on the road.
- Have an annual family day where all drivers come with their families and enjoy a day of fun and laughter. You can conduct games and giveaway prizes for everyone who attends. This can be done during important holidays like July 4th or just before Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day.
More Ways to have better Fleet Performance
There are a lot of ways to get better fleet driver performance. You can use technology. You can use human engagement. But the best is the combination of both. Using technology and engaging in relationships with your drivers will give them the inspiration to perform better.
Fleet drivers as already mentioned are your biggest asset. It is important that you protect them like you would your business. These drivers are the ones who work hard to make sure that goods and services are delivered on time and in good condition. They drive long distances and are vulnerable to accidents and serious injuries. One way to protect your assets is to purchase fleet insurance for your vehicles and drivers.
Owning a fleet of vehicles will require you to purchase commercial fleet insurance. Fleet insurance is a type of insurance that covers all vehicles in a fleet under one policy. This means that instead of insuring your vehicles one by one, you can put them under one coverage for better management and protection. There are different types of fleet insurance depending on the kind of business you are operating.
Sit down with your insurance provider and tell them what your needs are and how you want your assets to be protected. The most common coverages are liability and comprehensive. Comprehensive coverage is better because it will include your drivers as well in case of injuries and accidents regardless of who is at fault.
Explore workers’ compensation as well if you want your drivers to be fully protected. This coverage is required in almost all states if you have employees. This type of insurance will protect your drivers because of the many advantages it can offer. These include medical expenses, lost wages, and even death benefits. Workers’ compensation can even protect you as an employer from suits that they may file against you.
For more information on fleet insurance and workers’ compensation, call Advantage Insurance Solutions toll-free at (855) 973-1202 or (855) 712-6584. We have commercial auto insurance experts who can help you find the best value coverage your business deserves and needs!