Balancing Your Load On The Road and At Home

Truck Drivers

Sep 5, 2017

Those in the truck driving industry are well aware of the importance of balance. In the trailer, ensuring that the weight of the load sits evenly on the axles means your truck is safe and legal to drive. But load weight isn’t the only important balancing act drivers have to perform. Long hours, days and sometimes weeks away from home can destabilize any driver’s life. Whether it’s missing out on major life events like birthdays, anniversaries and holidays, or just missing those everyday moments, it takes a lot of sacrifices to be on the road. And when those sacrifices remain imbalanced, life is not satisfying. Because of this, fleets risk losing their employees and encountering retention issues. Keeping life balanced between work, home, family, friends and personal hobbies is critical and sometimes extremely difficult. But it is possible. Excellent tools exist to help drivers maintain a healthy, well-rounded lifestyle; although it may take some rearranging or adjusting, you can balance your load and find more peace and fulfillment. Here are some tricks to keeping your life in balance.   Set your personal schedule on the road.   Finding your balance while on the road means making room for your non-driving life while away from home. Schedule blocks of time during the day for personal activities outside your working hours. By setting aside some regular “me” time, you can exercise what power you do have over your schedule while providing yourself with some R&R, rejuvenating the tired mind and body fatigued from working and living in the same space for long periods of time. Use your personal time for hobbies, working out, TV shows, books, (video) calls home or any other activity you may regularly participate in.   Keep in touch with the home front.   Although you may not be able to see your family every night in person, you can find ways to take part in home life. Thankfully, many technological devices and programs have made carrier pigeons and the pony express permanently obsolete, so you don’t have to wait days or a week to have a conversation with someone you love. Even hundreds of miles apart, you can connect with your family and friends at any time in real time. Even so, your time is precious and sometimes limited, so make every conversation count: send simple texts throughout the day to a spouse, loved one or friend; schedule social time and call someone; or video call home and see your family’s face (and give your family the chance to see yours as well). Although life at home can move pretty fast while you’re gone, you can keep up through real-time conversations via text, phone or video.   Plug into society.   There has never been more access or appetite for real-time interaction in society than now. Exhibit A: the age of live streaming. Individuals and companies alike take advantage of the immediate connection with others that live streaming offers, but this phenomenon largely proves that we as a society want, need and crave real-time updates on our favorite brands, shows, and people. Thankfully, technology comes to the rescue again, keeping us—all of us, drivers included—connected with the world around us. For the driver, there are services that make live streaming, satellite tv and real-time updates possible wherever you stop. That means no more missed season premiers, no more game spoilers, and no more boring downtime.       Scaling the balancing act     You’ve got your load, and you’ve prioritized it so it appears balanced. Now it’s time to drive onto the scale and see how your load actually sits. When it comes to maintaining balance in life between work, home, and friends, there’s wisdom in figuratively driving over the scale. Self-checking your load periodically ensures you are either prepared to keep going safe and sound, or you are aware of what needs to change to make your life more balanced. You’re not the only one aware of the importance of balance. Fleet managers and owners increasingly hear drivers demand better work-life balance, especially from millennials who prioritize work-life balance as they pursue careers in the trucking industry. Fleets’ solutions to this demand have included improving pay and benefits, but those are steadily becoming less appealing than amenities that directly contribute to better work-life balance. So fleets are acting accordingly: adjusting route designs to provide drivers more home time and providing drivers with in-cab satellite TV like EpicVue. If you need to make a change, do it. Need some more structure in your workload? Make a schedule (or a new schedule if you have one that’s not working out well for you). Need some more family time? Set up video or phone calls that you and your family can look forward to while you’re away. Need more connection to the world? Ask your fleet manager about in-cab satellite tv. You deserve a healthy work-life balance. Driving balanced is a win for everyone.
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.