No industry is perfect, and each has their own distinct challenges to contend with. In the field of trucking, probably one of the most problematic functions is that of a fleet manager. That’s to be expected, though, because they are the ones who are responsible for making sure that all aspects of the operations go well, and they have to see to it that this is what happens all the time. This is virtually impossible, however, because we all know that no matter how hard we try, something is always bound to go wrong. And the best thing to do is just make sure to keep those instances down to a minimum.
There are conditions that are uncontrollable. But there are also others which can be managed. Among the many problems that fleet managers have to deal with, here are three of the most crucial ones which they actually have some control over, even if they sometimes feel that they don’t.
Everything is constantly changing. But one thing that doesn’t is concern on safety, simply because life is precious, of course. Based on information from the NHTSA, road fatalities are rising. Maybe not by too much, but the mere fact that the numbers are increasing is still alarming in itself. Because it’s suggesting that in spite of all the warnings and advice, drivers still aren’t becoming more careful, and truck drivers aren’t any different.
Stats from last year aren’t available yet. But in the year before that, truck-related crashes with fatalities rose by 4% — equivalent to 2,500 deaths, and that’s a lot. If no drastic corrective and preventive actions are taken, there’s no reason to believe that the numbers will get any better.
We have advanced technology now, and even if it might cost a great deal to invest in technological products and systems that can improve safety, it should be considered as a worthy investment. Safety should be everyone’s concern, after all, accident-free trips are beneficial for everyone — from the company, to the drivers, the customers, and everyone else on the road.
The regulations aren’t just changing more often than what one can normally keep up with. The number of regulations is also increasing. This makes it harder to ensure that the company is complying with every one of those regulations.There’s one particular regulatory change that is bound to have a major impact on commercial vehicles management, and it’s one that not many are looking forward to. It’s known as the 2017 Electronic Logging Device (ELD) implementation and management.
An ELD is a computer that will take the place of the conventional paper logbook — it will track the drivers’ hours of service. Many drivers are not too happy with this impending change, with some even saying that if the rule is implemented, they might decide to leave the industry. The reason is quite understandable: it’s the typical resistance to change, especially a major one. If fleet managers will be unable to find a way to encourage and convince drivers to accept the change towards a digital solution, then the truck driver shortage being faced right now might get even worse.
Yes, without truck drivers, the industry will be non-existent. But that doesn’t mean that they get to have whatever they want, when they want. Neither does it mean that their grievances should be simply dismissed without discussion.There should always be a balance that would be beneficial for everyone concerned. Especially with the driver shortage, it is critical that driver concerns are discussed and addressed before they get too serious and virtually unsolvable. This begins with proper communication, whether it’s through manual channels, or the more modern way — through apps, social media and online forums.
By becoming aware of what problems are early on, coming up with solutions and will be easier. And that has to work both ways. Drivers can’t simply ask for upgraded tools and equipment. They have to make sure they comply with rules and regulations too. Both sides aren’t always expected to see eye to eye, which is why there is compromise. Fleet managers have a critical role in helping their organization reach a win-win solution. Otherwise, they won’t have any drivers or a fleet left to manage.