A Guide to Improving Fleet Efficiency



Additional trucking regulations. Growing competition. Rising fuel costs. There are many reasons why transport companies are actively exploring ways to reduce idle time, improve efficiency, and give their profit margins a boost.

Without making the necessary changes, all it takes is for a lean period to send a logistics company into peril. The good news is there are various tactics available that can be implemented to enhance overall performance.

Are you wondering how to ensure your fleet runs efficiently and saves you money over the long term? If so, this guide covers numerous tips that can improve your business and push it to the next level.

Run lean

When it comes to improving fleet efficiency, the first place to start is by going with a lean approach. By running lean, where you remove inefficiencies from your operation, you can potentially save thousands of dollars each year for your company.

The idea behind lean practices is to remove any wasted motion during the transportation stage. With the assistance of technology, there are various ways this can be achieved.

One popular method is to use GPS technology to perfectly map out routes. As well as being able to pick the fastest way to get from A to B, this technology uses real-time data to assist drivers in getting to their destinations on time. There’s no getting stuck in traffic or being affected by bad weather – every movement is planned between departure and arrival.

Another piece of technology that’s a must for your fleet is an aerodynamic device. The TruckLabs tractor-mounted aerodynamic device performs a small yet important job: minimize the gap between the truck’s cab and trailer. This automated process not only improves the driver experience due to improved stability, but it also reduces fuel costs by up to 6%.

Avoid empty miles

If you run a fleet, you’ll know that empty miles are among the most damaging aspects of your profit margins. If a truck completes a delivery but returns back to base empty, this adds to your expenses bill. You’re paying extra for fuel, maintenance, and your driver but getting nothing back in return.

By optimizing your routes, it’s possible to generate additional revenue that offsets these costs. One method is to partner with a provider. By doing this, you could arrange backhaul opportunities to ensure your trucks are not traveling empty.

Additionally, you can utilize load boards. With thousands of carrier jobs being added on a daily basis, it’s possible to find new loads to transport once your drivers have finished their initial delivery. As well as adding extra revenue – and avoiding those dreaded empty miles – this is also a wise tactic when you only have a half-full truck and can transport additional goods.

Fleet size

If you haven’t got the right fleet size, this can be detrimental to the efficiency of your business. Simply put, you shouldn’t have any vehicles that are not running. During operational hours, they should always be on the roads and generating your company revenue.

Do you have trucks that are sitting around? In this case, it’s time to look at rightsizing your fleet. Along with getting rid of any excess vehicles, it’s also important you reduce your driver workforce if necessary. Labor is the biggest expense for your business, so you shouldn’t be keeping employees around if they are not needed.

This approach will avoid wasted money, consolidate your loads, and allow you to run smarter.

Reduce idle time

While the biggest expense for your business is labor, fuel costs are a close second – particularly in this day and age. Understandably, you want to take every step possible to avoid your fuel being wasted. One such method is to stop idle time.

When drivers have a break at a rest stop, it’s not uncommon for them to leave their engines running. Yet even if the truck is only sitting there for a few minutes, that engine being on can eat into fuel levels. Big rigs take a lot of money to fill up with fuel, and you don’t want to be wasting any of this due to completely avoidable circumstances.

As a result, make sure to educate drivers on their behaviors. By stopping idle time, your business can save a lot of fuel – and money – in the long run.

Keep track of your drivers

Extending on from the previous point, it’s also recommended that you keep track of your drivers. Yes, it might seem a little over the top, but this type of micromanagement can go a long way to helping your company’s bottom line.

Think about it. If you’re able to track their movements and actions, you can take the necessary steps to refine their performance when necessary. Say drivers are idling and wasting their fuel. You are able to monitor this and instruct them to stop doing this in the future.

Of course, you can track everything from fuel usage to their DOT logs, and this all assists with training your drivers and improving overall performance.

Preventative maintenance

Breakdowns are one of the biggest problems a fleet company can face. If a truck suddenly stops working and needs repairing, this can lead to numerous issues. The repair bill can be an expensive one. It can impact the short-term efficiency of your business. If it delays delivery times, it can also lead to dissatisfied customers – and that might cause irreparable damage to relationships and result in negative reviews being left.

Due to this, it’s imperative you take all the appropriate steps to keep your fleets running smoothly. This is where preventative maintenance comes into action.

As you will pick up from the name, preventative maintenance is all about ensuring no major problems develop within your vehicles. With regular examinations, this maintenance can spot any small issues and correct these before they develop into something serious.

Adjustments, lubrication, inspections, regular examinations – all of these points should be part of your preventative maintenance approach. This comprehensive coverage will help keep small issues small.

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