Trucking industry challenges come in many forms.
Some of these challenges come in the form of unpredictable operational costs. Some challenges make it difficult to stay compliant with government mandates. And some challenges simply involve the safety of your drivers. But these are challenges, not impossibilities. No matter what the situation, there are ways to overcome. With the right strategy and an attentive mind, you can meet it, overcome it and hit the ground running toward the next challenge.
It can be challenging to run a business when one of the largest expenses fluctuates constantly. It is impossible to accurately predict fuel prices, especially a year in advance, so it is also impossible to perfectly budget for this expenditure. As election cycles turn, the world economy evolves and domestic output rides a roller coaster, and fuel costs become one of the biggest challenges for fleet managers.
How to Overcome the Challenge of Fuel Costs
There’s nothing you can do to change the prices of fuel, but there is plenty you can do to reduce the amount you use. Start by looking into fuel-saving technologies, such as more efficient trucks or smaller vehicles for smaller freights. (Do you need a big rig for every shipment?) Adjusting your routes, rating driver performance, mandatory speed limits and driver monitoring processes can reduce your use and lower your fuel costs. By mixing creative strategy with advanced technology, there is always an opportunity for fuel reduction, which makes an increase in costs much more manageable.
Regulations are most often created to address safety, both for commercial drivers and other motorists. New or revised regulations can come from the federal government, but they can also be enacted by state, county and municipal governments. While the majority of these regulations are certainly well intentioned, they can bring challenges to the trucking industry, forcing companies and drivers to adjust their operations or face stiff legal penalties.
How to Overcome the Challenge of New Regulations
The biggest step is to stay ahead of new regulations. Don’t let anything “surprise” you (for lack of a better term) by keeping a finger on the pulse of new legislative actions, local ordinances and upcoming changes. Most new regulations have grace periods, allowing the trucking industry to prepare, so there really is no excuse for being taken by surprise by any legislation. Following a blog such as ours and from other industry experts can also help you to stay ahead.
The trucking industry continues to grow in many different sectors, and the need for reliable, highly-trained drivers is becoming increasingly necessary. The American Trucking Association has said that by 2024, there could be a shortage of nearly 175,000 truckers. These numbers could be inflated by new regulations that increase the requirements for obtaining CDL certification.
How to Overcome the Challenge of a Driver Shortage
Start by making your business a place where people want to work. This will give you a much better chance at keeping the drivers you have and decrease the potential effects of a shortage on your business. Cast a wide net while searching for new employees, but don’t be in a rush to hire. Take your time, hire quality candidates and give them all the reasons in the world to stick around.
As a fleet manager or owner, it’s your job to make sure your drivers are as safe as possible on the road. Above all else, this should be your number-one goal. Eliminating preventable accidents is an unending challenge that needs your full attention. When done right, this will help you maintain a strong company while earning the respect of your team.
How to Overcome the Challenge of a Driver Safety
Utilize as many programs as you can to ensure success in safety. Use safety education programs, analytics and technology to create a safe environment and to hold drivers accountable. One of the major challenges to road safety today is mobile technology. Smartphones and tablets have made our lives more convenient, but they have also significantly increased distraction on the road. Remind your drivers that the use of handheld devices is not only against company policy, it’s also illegal in some areas.