24 hours. Whether you’re a construction worker, truck driver, corporate executive, line cook, or the President of the United States, that’s all you get in a day.
We all have different skills and different resources, but time is the one element that we all have in common. What we do with our time is what makes the difference.
Time management is an essential component for the success of businesses and individuals. When time management is ignored, hours are wasted and productivity disappears. When it’s implemented properly, time management can help increase profits and productivity.
But time management for truckers is a little tricky. Drivers can only travel so many hours in a day, and they can only go so fast. How, then, can truck drivers improve their time management? Like every profession, there are ways to be more efficient with time, and it all starts with proper guidance and leadership.
You can’t just start hammering your drivers and staff with time-management techniques; you need to start with the result. Start with the why. During your meetings or training sessions, discuss the advantages of proper time management and what this will bring to the company, the team and the individuals.
Whether you have hourly, salary, or by-the-mile drivers, establishing the reasons for time management makes it easier for your drivers to buy in. If you present it as “we’re doing this because I said so,” you’re not going to gain much ground. If you present it as “we’re doing this and here’s how it will help you,” your efforts will be much more effective.
• Better bonuses
• More home time
• Shorter preparation time
• Reduced stress
• More freight (which means more money for drivers)
• Efficient routes
• A stronger, more sustainable company
While truckers love the independence of life on the road, which comes with the freedom to set their own schedules, many truck drivers experience better time management when they have an early schedule.
One of the largest benefits of time management for truckers can be less time spent looking for a parking spot. When they adjust their schedules to be parked early in the evening, they will arrive at truck stops and parking locations with more open spaces. As any trucker can tell you, finding a place to park can take hours if the lot is full, which is a major waste of their time.
Also, when drivers operate on an early-to-bed, early-to-rise schedule, they are less likely to wait for loading and unloading. Early birds are usually first to load and unload, increasing efficiency and productivity.
Make checklists one of the foundations of your operations. These don’t necessarily have to be paper checklists, as digital versions (such as on a smartphone) are often more convenient and better for reporting information.
Checklists can include many different aspects of the trucking industry, including maintenance schedules, pre-trip inspections, and equipment checks.
GPS tracking systems make it easy to track shipments from the home office while giving over-the-road drivers information related to ETA and best routes. Advanced GPS systems designed for the trucking industry can give drivers information related to current traffic conditions, construction detours, and restricted roads.
Invest in this technology so your drivers can be more efficient with their miles and their time.
The results of effective time management should be enough to get most people motivated, but you can take the process a step further by implementing a rewards and incentives program. Right or wrong, money is often the best motivator, so consider giving driver bonuses to those who reach certain goals, such as consecutive on-time or early deliveries.
When designing an incentives program, make sure the reward aligns with the accomplishment. If it is a large, significant accomplishment, the reward should reflect that.
As you implement time management and work to create a more productive driving team, it’s important to give continual, steady feedback. This feedback should highlight things they are doing right while addressing time management issues. Whether positive or negative, always work to the end goal of better time management and productivity among your staff.
As your drivers work to improve their time management, help them along the way. Give them pointers for what they are doing right and what they could improve, and always make time management a steady part of your company’s training.
TCI Business Capital is an invoice factoring company serving businesses across the United States. For more information on factoring, call (800) 707-4845 for a free, no-obligation consultation and quote.