The trucking industry is increasingly competitive, offering professional truck drivers a significant benefit. But starting your trucking company can be challenging, primarily because of a growing driver shortage and digitalization. Here is a comprehensive guide on the trucking fleet, its challenges, and how managers can overcome them by employing truck fleet management software:
According to insightful research by the American Trucking Association reveals that:
- Trucks move approximately 72.5% of all freight in the U.S.
- The trucking industry will likely experience a 27% decrease in growth
A Quick Glance at Trucking Fleet
People used the word ‘fleet’ to refer to a country’s navy comprising multiple ships during the olden times. Here, a fleet implies the usage of several vehicles for military or commercial purposes. Today, ‘fleet’ refers to naval ships and land-based vehicles. Modern fleets typically include cars, trucks, and carriers.
What are the Different Types of Fleet Trucks?
Many trucking fleet companies purchase or lease fleet vehicles to deliver goods to clients. Fleet trucks used for commercial or military purposes may be of the following types:
Also known as box, straight, or cube trucks are prevalent within the trucking fleet sphere. A box truck includes a chassis cab truck with an enclosed cargo area. They typically weigh between six and fifteen tons and range between ten to twenty-six feet. A box truck comes with a garage-like rear door that you roll-up. Box trucks function as moving trucks within the home appliances and furniture industry. Most trucks come with a separate cargo area and cabin where you can safely store fragile products.
Refrigerator trucks help carry perishable goods at pre-defined temperatures. These trucks contain a robust refrigeration system powered by a diesel engine. Owners ice-cool their refrigerator trucks or use dry ice as a cooling agent to safely transport produce, meat, dairy, drugs, and even biological samples.
Dump trucks otherwise referred to as tripper or dumper trucks, help people transport loose materials like gravel, sand, and demolition waste. For this reason, dump trucks are popularly used throughout the roofing, construction, and landscaping industries. Typically, a dump truck comprises an open-box bed hinged at the rear and hydraulic rams. Dumper trucks may be of various types, including straight dump trucks, transfer dump trucks, super dump trucks, etc.
Tank, gas, tanker, or fuel trucks help carry liquid or gaseous goods. Tank trucks may vary depending on the liquid or gas you transport. You can choose between insulated and non-insulated or pressurized and non-pressurized. Moreover, you can select a tank gas designed for single or multiple loads. A tank truck helps transport gasoline, concrete, chemicals, milk, and pressurized gases.
Semi-trailer trucks (18-wheelers or big rigs) come in many shapes and sizes. These trucks help carry freight like building materials, machinery, and cars across a country.
Understanding Private Fleets
Private fleets are less popular and encompass a shipper’s in-house team of trucks. Businesses employ private fleets to transport their goods to a store, warehouse, or customer.
Typically, shippers use private fleets to enjoy the following benefits:
- Guaranteed capacity
- Complete visibility
- Specialized equipment needs
- Branding and advertising
What is Fleet Management?
Acquiring a truck or a fleet of trucks comes with unwanted costs, preventive maintenance demands, and excessive paperwork. Most trucking businesses take the stress of managing a fleet off their shoulders and place it on a reliable fleet management company. Fleet management businesses boast a solid team of trained logistical experts to make managing fleets easier.
What are the Primary Responsibilities of a Truck Manager?
A fleet manager is responsible for handling several issues regarding the working and performance of a fleet, such as:
- Choosing the Right Truck- Although most trucks look alike, different businesses require different trucks depending on the unique needs of the industry
- Storing the Data- Fleet truck managers have to file, retrieve, and analyze piles of data ranging from a simple oil change to insurance renewal
- Managing Fuel- Trucks eat up significant fuel, and without adequate management, your business can suffer from wastage
- Human Resource Management- Operating a fleet truck means managing a team of drivers, which requires appropriate HR management
What Challenges Do Fleet Managers Face?
Fleet managers often face productivity challenges relating to the daily operations of fleets. Let’s discuss the seven challenges that fleet managers face:
Shortage of Drivers
The driver shortage is a top concern for fleet managers. In 2022, the demand for freight transport continues to grow exponentially while the number of new driver applicants stagnates. Recruiting inexperienced and unskilled drivers can cause safety issues and boost monitoring tactics.
Deteriorating climatic conditions worldwide has sparked significant awareness of climate change. It also encouraged officials to introduce new clean air standards revolving around vehicles. Stringent environmental legislation means fleet managers must meet strict rules and regulations regarding the use of internal combustion engines.
Fuel continues to be significantly expensive for the trucking fleet. Unfortunately, fluctuating fuel prices make it impossible for fleet managers to predict its overall fuel cost accurately. However, remember that tracking fuel use, driver behavior, and idling time with a fleet management tool can help you reduce fuel use.
Health and Safety
Fleet managers must ensure drivers comply with health and safety guidance even in the worst-case road accident scenario. Your company must implement appropriate reporting procedures to enable drivers to deal with accidents and related insurance reports quickly and efficiently.
Vehicle Maintenance Costs
Fleet managers and technicians often run into regular and on-time vehicle maintenance issues. Vehicles that experience unexpected breakdowns will result in lost productivity and delays. Moreover, vehicles that do not receive regular and on-time maintenance will experience excessive wear and tear, leading to expensive repairs.
It’s no surprise that fleet operations will generate excessive data. Unfortunately, not all the information you store will be helpful. Trawling through your fleet information is a time-consuming task that comes with the risk of missing relevant data. Plus, updating such confidential data requires money implications and administrative time.
Compliance and fleet risk management are essential but time-consuming. It includes daily checks, driver checks, inspection sheets, insurance, defect reporting, roadworthiness tests, etc. Moreover, fleet managers must document compliance and fleet risk management procedures. It ensures your company has access to in-depth trail information for auditing purposes.
Overcoming Truck Fleet Management Issues with Smart Solutions
Efficient truck fleet management is crucial for keeping track of evolving customer habits. You need to optimize routes, increase driver’s safety and productivity, track driver’s locations, and keep customers satisfied. Combining innovative fleet management technology with endless information provides fleet managers the following benefits:
- Streamlining vehicle processes to boost profitability while gaining a competitive edge
- Managing residual value risks by leveraging fleet management solutions that include refurbished, returned, and remarketed vehicles
- Increasing work efficiency by optimizing and streamlining administrative activities to allow yourself to focus on core business processes
- Boosting productivity by implementing solutions that improve the operational readiness and skills of your team
- Ensuring reliable and safe work operations by strengthening professional driver skills and improving occupational health and safety
Let’s discuss several benefits of truck fleet management in detail:
Enjoy Paperless Compliance
Fleet truck drivers typically struggle to complete paperwork in a timely fashion. As a result, fleet managers receive incomplete or incorrect HOS logbooks and DVIRs. The introduction of Electronic Logging Devices as a replacement of HOS logbooks and DVIRs allows drivers to maximize driving time, improve reporting, reduce admin costs, and enhance roadside inspection efficiency. Plus, fleet drivers can complete DVIRs electronically by capturing the necessary information and photos via their smartphones. It enables drivers to schedule vehicle maintenance appointments and new parts more quickly.
Automate Route Planning
Automating your driver’s routes with a revolutionary trucking fleet management tool helps you save significant time. This way, you won’t have to spend hours planning each way, and you can save on gas costs. Furthermore, you can gain insights into your fleet’s performance necessary to make strategic decisions. The optimized route planning also helps your trucking fleet reduce potential wear and tear on vehicles while extending their lives.
Improve Fleet Performance with Data
Key metrics are critical for improving fleet performance and productivity. The insights and metrics your fleet management tool offers can help you identify areas where you are succeeding and where you can improve. Your fleet management software helps you make informed decisions to boost fleet efficiency and safety.
Bring Your Own Device
‘Bring Your Own Device’ is a significantly new yet incredible trucking fleet revolution that helps fleets lower IT costs. It allows drivers to use their iOS or Android devices for GPS tracking. Thus, fleet drivers can easily install innovative GPS vehicle tracking mobile apps to cover navigation, compliance, vehicle inspection, driver behavior, and work order management processes. It’s an easy yet effective way to lower hardware costs, minimize training requirements, boost user adoption, and eliminate software licensing fees. It also helps improve the on-the-job experience by allowing drivers to streamline work processes within a handheld device.
Create Truck-Specific Routes
Safe and reliable delivery of machines from one destination to the other requires revolutionary navigation software. For this reason, an increasing number of commercial truck drivers now employ GPS vehicle tracking to reduce driver stress and increase work efficiency. Using GPS vehicle tracking technology enables you to enjoy the following features:
- Custom Messages- It allows you to send location-aware messages to alert drivers with necessary information
- Correct-side Approach- Helps increase driver safety by minimizing hazardous turns by ensuring destinations are on the correct side of the road
- POI Database- Includes approximately 10 million POIs to highlight safe spots, rest places, and safe overnight parking areas for drivers
- Real-world Views- Get access to vivid and realistic maps that prepare drivers for upcoming hazards and increase safety
- Road Updates- Enjoy update notifications about road closures, detours, and route changes
- Trade Routes- Helps trucking companies map out comprehensive trading routes
- Truck-Specific Routing- Highlights roads with low bridges and weight limits while complying with HAZMAT restrictions
Access Preventive Maintenance
Truck fleet management software provides fleet managers access to diagnostic data on the health and performance of the trucks. This way, you can receive an accurate picture of your truck’s performance and identify upcoming maintenance and unexpected issues. It also helps you schedule vehicle maintenance appointments quickly so that your vehicle experiences less downtime. Preventive maintenance can fix minor issues before they transform into costly and big ones.
Promote Safe Driving Habits
Fleet management tools help you ensure your drivers receive regular training to improve safety and efficiency. Plus, you can keep track of your driver’s training, save fuel costs, reduce lousy driving behaviors, and improve overall fleet safety.
Keep Track of Trailers
Integrating seamless battery-powered GPS tracking hardware into your fleet’s trailer allows you to monitor their real-time location. You can even identify when a truck’s door opens and closes! Around-the-clock trailer monitoring helps enhance fleet security, whereas GPS coordinates enable managers to direct drivers to particular trailers. Moreover, a state-of-the-art GPS vehicle tracking application allows you to pinpoint the location of all your trailers. You can also search for trailers by tagging and accessing their assets. You may even set up rules and geofences to receive instant notifications if a trailer starts moving.
Receive ETA Notifications
Sending and receiving accurate ETAs allow fleet managers to make reliable appointments with shippers and receivers. This way, back-office, and dispatch teams can access a holistic view of what, when, and where different trucks arrive. Moreover, trucking fleets can leverage ETA information to improve customer experience by sending clients coordinate deliveries and pick-ups.
The Bottom Line
Creating an insightful trucking fleet business plan is crucial for running a successful and efficient trucking fleet business. Moreover, consider trying the fleet management solutions discussed above to boost driver’s efficiency, productivity, and safety. Remember, fleet adoption of solutions significantly depends on whether it addresses clear pain points while integrating seamlessly within existing systems.
MWM specializes in the following trucking and transportation services in NC, SC, GA, TN, and VA:
- Equipment Transport – from location to location
- Ability to pick–up at the Ports
- Oversized Loads
- Heavy Haul
- Facility relocation transport
- Ability to haul heavy equipment, farm machinery, and industrial equipment and machinery
- Capabilities Include:
- 50 Ton Traveling Axle Trailer
- 48’ Flat Bed Trailer
- 50 Ton Detach Trailer
- Step Deck Trailer
Read more about MWM’s trucking expertise and services. We have a vetted group of sub-contractors and partnerships with various engineering and architectural firms for complete design-build applications.