How Decker is Growing Even During Market Instability

Fleet Manager

May 18, 2020

It’s about everything


For drivers, the approach at Decker is not about any one thing– it’s about everything. When it comes to enhancing compliance, safety and comfort for drivers, Decker breaks things down into three areas. There are “must-have” technologies like ELDs, for example, and “should have” solutions like communications platforms and safety items.

“Where we can make a difference is in the value of the ‘nice to have’ things,” Decker says. “The vehicles, technologies, systems and programs that we can provide for driver comfort and convenience are perhaps the most important to consider, and they’re what pay dividends to the fleet.”

A number of years ago, Decker relates, the carrier was faced with rising driver turnover, which it was able to begin addressing with new late-model tractors. Today, after shortening its trade cycle from 500,000 miles to about 340,000 miles over about 36 months, the fleet’s average tractor is just 1.9 years old.

“Safety is imperative to our success and the future of our company,” Decker says. “Along with technologies in vehicles, we perform safety assessments to be able to continually improve procedures and provide the training, knowledge and tools needed to prevent accidents.

Decker Truck Line drivers are offered competitive pay and bonuses, benefits including a wide-ranging insurance package and retirement savings options. Its driver-friendly environment includes things like Driver Centers at company terminals that provide a comfortable place to rest during off-duty periods.



Improving Quality of Life

“We set our sights on that goal by focusing on things that would make drivers feel appreciated and improve their quality of life on the road,” Decker relates. “If you’re a traveling salesperson who spends every night in a different location you expect each hotel room to have certain amenities. It really shouldn’t be any different for truck drivers, who work and stay in the same place all the time.”

Decker’s approach was to equip its tractors with a variety of options and the latest technologies to provide uninterrupted communication, and to make life on the road as comfortable and as much like home as possible for drivers. As a result, the vehicles were fitted with auxiliary power units, inverters and bunk heaters, as well as Bluetooth systems, refrigerators and microwave ovens.

At the same time, Decker Truck Line embarked on a program to install EpicVue in-cab satellite TV systems in every one of its over-the-road tractors. So far, the carrier’s maintenance department has completed about 70% of the installations and the remainder should be done by early summer.

“In-cab TV is just one of the arrows in our quiver,” Decker says. “It’s something our drivers have come to appreciate, though, especially when they’re faced with long detention time while waiting to be loaded or unloaded, and during the longer mandatory rest periods required under the latest Hours of Service rules.

“While there are always financial factors and other entertainment service options to consider, a reason we also chose EpicVue was because they have a very forward-looking approach for staying ahead of the entertainment technology curve,” Decker adds. “In the future, the in-cab satellite TV system may be a platform for new types of services that will benefit our remote workforce.”



Greatly Easing Stress

Being a professional truck driver is not easy, Decker notes, but having the right “nice to have” systems and solutions can greatly ease the stress. “It’s hard to say how much any one thing improves life on the road for drivers,” he says, “but we do know that an investment in a holistic approach benefits them and our business.”

Decker Truck Line, an 89-year old, family-owned and operated trucking company, credits its loyal workforce for its commitment to exceeding customer expectations. “Our employees are our most valuable asset because by working as a team they consistently accomplish our goal of providing the highest quality service in meeting our customer’s expectations,” Decker says.

“We believe that efficiency and financial strength allow us to achieve our corporate goals and create opportunities in every economic and market condition,” Decker adds. “We are highly cost-aware and work continuously to carefully manage financial risk systematically and responsibly.”

Full Article:

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.