A pond, a death wish and ribs

Truck Drivers

Jun 5, 2014

One stormy afternoon, early on in his career as a fleet driver, Darrin Williams looked past his windshield wipers and watched the car beside him drive off the road and make tracks for a nearby body of water. "I was 17, it was raining like crazy, this car was by me, and all of a sudden he veered to the right." To Darrin, the driver seemed hellbent on a watery grave. Luckily the water was only a shallow pond, roughly two feet deep. Darrin watched the speeding car slow to a comfortable stop. And the driver, shoulders slumped, climbed out of his car. Apparently disappointed, the man walked back to the road like his plan to end things had been rudely, but fortuitously prevented.Recounting the story, Darrin laughed.
“Just when you think you’ve topped it all, a day or two later, there’s something else waiting.”
  Freedom in the ride Darrin has seen a lot. He's a fleet driver with 23 years of experience, and he believes in a simple truth. "If your gonna do this job, it's gotta mean something to you." When asked what's kept him going for more than two decades, he didn't say the money or the benefits or the stability. "It's freedom. You're your own boss. I've seen a lot of beautiful landscapes, a lot of skylines and sun rises. There's a lot of freedom in this job." He didn't sugarcoat it though. Long hours, time away from his two boys and wife and trouble catching his favorite basketball games are certainly taxing. But drivers are a hardy people. For every bump in the road there's a basket of ribs waiting for Darrin off the next exit. For every weekend away from the kids, there's a hero’s welcome and a well-earned rest at the end of his haul. You never know what's coming Sometimes the people sharing the legend of the open road are on the wrong side of crazy town. And sometimes, thankfully, the water’s not as deep as you thought. The goods and the grub Travel teaches you what's important—specifically where food is concerned. Having put in enough miles to circle the world a good number of times, we had to ask Darrin where his favorite place to eat was. His answer—Rib Shack in Granbury, Texas. As a driver and believer in NCAA basketball, Darrin looks forward to catching the 2015 March Madness tournament on ESPN, feet up, live on EpicVue.  
Quality truck fleet management with a good strategy is a vital element for success in the trucking industry. These systems are necessary for communication, and processes are sure to succeed. There’s no doubt that the best semi-truck fleet teams are those that are effectively and efficiently managed, making a great fleet manager worth their weight in gold — and then some!  But what is it exactly that makes a fleet manager great? It all comes down to a solid fleet management strategy and reliable semi-fleet processes. In fact, these are essential to finding both short- and long-term success. If you’re in charge of a semi-truck fleet and are looking to build a fail-proof truck fleet management strategy, you’re in the right place. We’re here to give you some tried-and-true tips and tricks for developing a solid plan. With a little hard work and the right strategy, you will surely see increased profits, fleet growth, and a happier, healthier, and more productive crew. Keep scrolling to learn more.

5 Things to Consider When Developing Your Truck Fleet Management Strategy

If you want to develop a quality truck fleet management strategy, make sure to consider the following:
  1. Invest in a Fleet Management System — You could be the most experienced and focused manager, but you will still have difficulties staying organized and productive without a quality truck fleet management system in place. Managers of old used to rely on elaborate systems involving paper spreadsheets, filing cabinets, and more to run their business, but there are simpler ways to get the job done. Join the digital age by digitizing your workflow and operations; you’ll find that processes are optimized, and your team’s performance is improved! A good system will allow you to keep track of the best routes, maintenance schedules, driver and vehicle efficiency, automating various tasks (such as routing and scheduling deliveries, billing and invoicing, sending jobs to drivers, etc.) and more so you can maximize the potential of your fleet.
  2. Find Ways to Cut Maintenance Costs — It’s no secret that the economy is in an exciting place right now. Inflation is on the rise, and maintenance costs are not exempt. A solid semi-truck fleet manager must prioritize finding ways to reduce costs. Taking a defensive, preventive approach to maintenance is key. Improving fleet efficiency and ensuring that your rigs and necessary equipment are in tip-top shape and ready to go can help you stay ahead of maintenance issues. Consider utilizing a good fleet management system that can tell you about the vehicles’ engines and other diagnostic features to help extend the life of your trucks. These tools can help you quickly identify any problems with your trucks and avoid issues down the road when they become more serious, thus cutting maintenance costs. Another way to reduce maintenance costs is to base your trucks’ service schedule on accurate engine usage hours instead of an arbitrary calendar. This helps to eliminate unnecessary repairs and potential hours and revenue lost, allowing you to make the most of your fleet while still taking great care of them.
  3. Find Ways to Save Money on Fuel — As a fleet manager, it almost always comes down to budget. And one of the biggest portions (we’re talking between 50% and 65%) of overall operating costs is dedicated to fueling costs. As mentioned above, having a good management system and GPS tracking in place can help you develop an excellent management strategy. You’ll be able to monitor your drivers’ driving performance, habits, and behavior and monitor fuel usage, which directly affects fuel consumption. By tracking and analyzing this information, you’ll be alerted to issues sooner than you may have been otherwise. Moreover, tracking this info will keep you apprised of any safety concerns, such as aggressive driving. Addressing these issues will help you reduce operational costs associated with your fuel budget.
  4. Perfect and Optimize Your Drivers’ Routes — Customers and clients demand quick and on-time deliveries, so taking the perfect and optimal route is absolutely crucial. Your business’ reputation counts on it! Inaccurate arrival time estimates, delays, and inefficient routes will only lead to frustration. Hiccups and issues along the way are bound to happen and are an inevitable part of any industry, including trucking. But, by automating customer notifications and other processes, fleet managers can experience a lot less stress, allowing them to spend time and put their focus elsewhere.
  5. Prioritize Your Drivers’ Health and Wellness — One of the biggest parts of developing a good truck fleet management strategy is prioritizing your team’s health and wellness. Feeling isolated on the road comes with being a truck driver; it’s part of the territory. So fleet managers who promote a healthy work-life balance and positive mental health are typically much more successful.

Here are some ways managers can prioritize employees’ health:

Include EpicVue in Your Truck Fleet Management Strategy

Developing a truck fleet management strategy is essential to the success of your business, and EpicVue is here to help make it happen. EpicVue will outfit your fleet with premium in-cab television so your drivers can enjoy a bit of home on the road and catch up on their favorite shows. Contact EpicVue today to learn more.