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Get The Latest News And Stories In And Around Fleet Management

Our in-house editorial team works diligently to provide you with the most relevant topics and breaking news in the world of fleet management.
 

Driver Turnover Caused By Poor Communication

02/25/2014 by Leslie Garcia

Strong, clear communication is an important aspect of keeping employees happy. And fleet drivers who are unsatisfied with their dispatcher are over 50% more likely to leave their current job.

A recent study conducted by the Stay Metrics research team discovered that the turnover rate is 57 percent higher for drivers who felt dissatisfaction with their dispatcher.

The study, headed by Timothy Judge, a University of Notre Dame professor, looked at the responses of approximately 2,000 drivers that worked at 12 separate fleet companies.

The responses showed that the dispatchers who increased the likelihood of driver turnover were the ones marked by drivers as “dissatisfying.” And while the drivers who were dissatisfied tended to turnover more frequently, those who said they were “very happy” with their dispatchers were not any more likely to stay than drivers who were “neutral.”

So despite the fact that drivers were twice as likely to turnover if they were dealing with dispatchers that scored the highest in dissatisfaction, they also weren’t any more likely to stay at a company with better dispatchers than merely having average ones.

Stay Metrics will continue to accumulate data from satisfaction surveys and in order to use the figures to create a profile of the type of dispatcher that drivers are most satisfied with.

Once this is established, carriers would be able to examine their monthly dispatcher rankings from top to bottom, according to Kurt LaDow, vice president of operations for Stay Metrics.

This new system would take the data and provide each dispatcher a ranking. Dispatchers who are on the bottom of the list may not be appropriate for the position or require further training, while those with a higher ranking could be encouraged to share their methods and procedures with their peers to improve the overall quality of service for the carrier.

Driver/dispatch communication is simple with the right tools. Teletrac's Fleet Director platform offers a variety of ways for drivers and the office to stay in touch, such as turn-by-turn voice navigation and two-way messaging.  Get a Free Live Demo Now!
 
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E-Logs Crucial To Higher Driver Pay

02/24/2014 by Leslie Garcia

Motor carriers may be required to provide a “safe pay rate” that would compensate drivers for on-duty time spent off the road , in addition to their minimum pay guarantees.

While the change won’t happen overnight, the majority of the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) was in favor of recommending that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) should pursue the safe pay rate as part of the next highway reauthorization bill when the committee met earlier this month.

In reality, for time-based or a safe pay rate to come to fruition, driver unions and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) would have to embrace electronic logging devices (ELDs). This is necessary because only when all drivers throughout the United States are using electronic logs will the FMCSA have a benchmark to model its guidelines for driver pay.

ELDs were set to become mandatory when the current reauthorization bill was signed into law in 2012, but the OOIDA filed a lawsuit claiming the devices could be utilized by fleet companies to harass their drivers.

But now if driver unions and the OOIDA would like drivers to be paid an hourly rate, then fleets would almost certainly require to have the ability to track how drivers utilize their time and improve it. And because of the delay triggered by the lawsuit, the enforcement of ELDs will not likely to start for another three years at minimum.

In order for a driver pay reform to occur, drivers and the groups that represent their interests must welcome the technology that fleets use to monitor and assess their job performance. Without that established, a fleet company simply would not be able to comply with the economics of safe pay rate unless shippers are similarly obliged to renegotiate their rates based on time.
 

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FMCSA: Restart Improves Driver Awareness

02/07/2014 by Michal Olszewski

Because of the recently enacted Hours of Service (HOS) rules, truck drivers are less dangerous on the road.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released the results of a study that provided further evidence that the restart provision in the current HOS rules for truck drivers is much more effective at combatting fatigue than the prior version of the rule.

"Safety is our top priority, and this new study shows more data-driven evidence that our safety standards help truckers stay well-rested, alert and focused on the road," United States Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in statement. "The hours-of-service rule is helping to reduce truck driver fatigue and making every traveler on our highways and roads safer."

The FMCSA found that truck drivers who began a work week with only one nighttime rest period under the old 34-hour restart of cumulative on-duty hours were far less attentive, more tired and prone to drifting across lanes more than drivers who began with two nighttime periods of rest, as required by the revised HOS restart.

Due to an alteration of the HOS regulations that took effect in July, the 34-hour restart of cumulative weekly hours must include at least two nighttime periods from 1 AM to 5 AM. The previous restart rules did not include any conditions for the time of day, so, in effect, the restart required only one nighttime rest period.

The Washington State University Sleep and Performance Research Center and Philadelphia-based Pulsar Informatics conducted the study, which was comprised of 106 participants, 1,260 days of data and approximately 415,000 miles of driving that was electronically recorded.

The study calculated sleep, reaction times and driving performance. The results showed drivers with one nighttime rest period in their restart compared to those operating with two nighttime rest periods:

  • Demonstrated more lapses of attention, particularly at night
  • Reported more sleepiness, especially near the end of shifts
  • Exposed increased lane drifting in the morning, afternoon and night

"This new study confirms the science we used to make the hours-of-service rule more effective at preventing crashes that involve sleepy or drowsy truck drivers," FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro said in a statement. "For the small percentage of truckers that average up to 70 hours of work a week, two nights of rest is better for their safety and the safety of everyone on the road."

Along with stating the new 34-hour restart from a safety standpoint, the FMCSA argues the effect of the new restart operationally is not as great as the industry has stated. The FMCSA said that more than 85 percent of truck drivers have seen little to no change in their schedules as an outcome.

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The Future Of Smart Fleet Devices

12/30/2013 by Michal Olszewski

The evolution of smart devices has provided fleets with a world of opportunities to improve their overall business.

In the past few years, smart phone and tablets became a normal part of society, and, in the process, nearly everyone was trained on how to use these devices. So now just about every fleet driver has a mobile device on them at all times that offers functionality and connectivity from just about anywhere.

For fleets, this means there is an opportunity to increase efficiency. However, there are also plenty of difficult decisions for companies to make regarding which devices are best for their business and how to properly manage the technology.

Companies need to begin by stating clear business goals such as managing operating costs, reducing driver turnover or improving customer service.

From there, decide on the data requirements the fleet will need, and whether this is something that will be monitored in real-time, weekly or monthly and who will have access to that information.

Lastly, a fleet needs to identify its technology requirements such as monitoring, communication, cellular or satellite coverage and other technical specifications.

Which Form of Smart Technology is Best for Your Fleet?

There is one basic decision that fleet companies must make regarding the hardware they use: Providing the smart technology, or having employees supply their own devices.

Bring Your Own Device

Taking advantage of the smart phones and tablets that your employees already use in their personal lives has been referred to as “bring your own device,” or BYOD.

There are plenty of advantages for fleets are choosing this model to be an ideal fit for their drivers. It provides a fleet with almost instant access to a function-rich communication system along with computing technology at a relatively low upfront cost. In many cases, it’s up to the employees to purchase their own device. This lower cost of entry also makes it much easier for fleet companies to keep up with changes in the smart device marketplace, where new phones and tablets are unveiled on a constant basis.

Using devices that are familiar to employees also reduces training requirements, since drivers are already well-versed with the device, or something similar, and have had plenty of personal use. Instead, training can focus on business applications and procedures rather than new technical skills.

Corporate-Owned, Personally Enabled Smart Devices

Security concerns are the main reason for fleets to choose the corporate owned, personally enabled (COPE) method to mobile computing.

Using COPE, a fleet sets up a framework to support and allow personal use of company devices. The company decides on a set of preferred phones and tablets, purchases and owns them, but the employee is allowed to install the applications they want to use on the device.

Fleets see plenty of benefits by using the COPE model, including a longer lifespan for commercial-grade devices, secure access to a managed network, lower cost of ownership, increased levels of technical support, and the enhanced ability to limit the functionality of mounted smart communication devices while the fleet vehicle is in motion.
 

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The Biggest Issue Facing Trucking?

11/01/2013 by Michal Olszewski

Hours of Service (HOS) regulations are causing a lot of headaches throughout the entire trucking industry.

The federally mandated HOS procedures have become the No. 1 concern among industry executives, according to the American Transportation Research Institute’s (ATRI) annual Top Industry Issues report. The ATRI unveiled its Top 10 list at the American Trucking Associations’ annual Management and Exhibition Conference in Orlando last week.

Since going into effect July 1, the new regulations have been met with growing apprehension based on the responses ATRI received from over 4,000 trucking industry executives.

To gain an ability to deal with the HOS rules, approximately 40 percent of respondents said the industry needs to “quantify the impacts the new rule has on industry operations, productivity and safety.” Other strategies include “researching and advocating for more innovating and flexibility strategies for fatigue management than prescriptive [HoS] rules,” and advocating “for increased flexibility in the current sleeper berth provision.”

Continued concern over the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program ranked second, after being the industry’s top matter in 2012. Uneasiness over the consequences of a driver shortage ranked third. Sustained economic growth, coupled with the CSA and HOS changes may be contributing influences to the driver shortage, according to some of the survey’s respondents.

The full list of industry concerns and the percentage of industry executives who ranked it as their leading trepidation are as follows:

  • Hours of service: 30 percent
  • CSA: 18 percent
  • Driver shortage: 13 percent
  • Economy: 9 percent
  • Electronic logging device mandate: 6 percent
  • Truck parking: 3 percent
  • Driver retention: 4 percent
  • Fuel supply/fuel prices: 3 percent
  • Infrastructure/congestion/funding: 3 percent
  • Driver health and wellness: 2 percent

The ATRI’s survey results, which were commissioned by the ATA, and proposed strategies will be utilized by the ATA Federation to better focus its advocacy role on behalf of the United States trucking industry and ATA Federation stakeholders.

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5 Tips For Easier Job Management

10/01/2013 by Leslie Garcia

Imagine overseeing more than a dozen vehicles and their daily activity from hundreds of miles away. Frustration kicks in when you can’t get in touch with your drivers, view your sub fleet’s current locations or whether they’ve arrived on time to job sites and important appointments. You’re ready to give up.

GPS tracking software facilitates fleet management, especially when managers can’t be on the road with their vehicles. Teletrac’s intuitive, web-based GPS tracking platform—Fleet Director—empowers users to track their vehicles in real-time from anywhere.  Managers can use advanced features to optimize their routing and fleet efficiency, boost productivity and more. To illustrate how, here are five ways to make job management easier with Fleet Director:
 

Get Real-Time Exception And Message Alerts Sent To Your Mobile Device Or Email
With Fleet Director Mobile Alerts, receive up-to-the-minute vehicle updates on specific events, including when a vehicle speeds against a set limit or travels outside a designated zone. By creating exception conditions and linking them to alerts, users can track their vehicles at their real-time locations, allowing managers the opportunity to quickly address driving behavior. Alerts can be customized to fit the business needs of any fleet size.  

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Stay Updated On Vehicle Activity With Driver-Fleet Manager Communication
Fleet Director’s two-way messaging capabilities allow drivers to stay in touch with canned (or pre-set), form-fill and free-text messages sent directly from the vehicle’s in-cab display; managers can send customer information for last-minute jobs or other important details. Through driver messages—such as “Lunch Start,” managers can keep track of work hours, availability and vehicle activity without having to ask, “Where are my vehicles?”

Quickly Send Routes And Important Job Detail To In-Cab Displays
Use the Send Route feature to guide your fleet in the right direction. From the Fleet Director interface, managers can update routes and quickly send them to a driver’s in-cab display. This time-saving approach is beneficial for last-minute routes and in case of emergencies. Once a driver receives new route information, the in-cab display’s software instantly provides turn-by-turn directions, including lane guidance, enabling drivers to choose the safest roads and stay focused the entire way.  

Plot Time-Saving Landmarks Across The Map
Landmarks are another way to guide your fleet while reducing costs. Managers can use preferred locations to actualize time-saving routes and cut unnecessary daily vehicle use by creating and customizing travel points across an interactive map. Managers can click on the landmarks to find the nearest vehicles and their proximity to targeted areas.

Monitor Engine Performance And More With Daily, Weekly Or Monthly Reports
Fleet Director users can better manage on-time delivery, billing, vehicle performance and more with a variety of reports. The Fuel Usage Report compiles travel distance, PTO and idle time, allowing managers to track an entire fleet’s speed and fuel usage for a selected time frame. If receiving a vehicle performance overview is a priority, the Delivery Performance By Site Report helps track delivery time, customer invoicing and any possible disputes; driver work hours can also be tracked and recorded—perfect for scheduling and payroll.

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10 Ways Fleet Managers Can Cut Costs

09/24/2013 by Michal Olszewski

Businesses must constantly find new and innovative ways to trim operating costs without sacrificing quality, and fleets are no exception.

Whether it’s a short-term fix or a long-term savings plan is the goal, fleet managers can use a wide range of ideas to increase production at a lower cost.

Top Methods to Lowering Fleet Operating Costs

Fleet Analytics
Fleet companies need to manage people, vehicles, services and a seemingly endless list of other items. But how can a fleet manager understand where money is being wasted if these items aren’t being watched?

Many of the items on this list are analytics based, which is why it is important to use the data you already have to your advantage. The key is to not get caught in a pit of data that you can’t even process. Identify areas where you believe there is room for improvement and see how they perform. Keep a short- and long-term eye on these and also add new areas to analyze as well.

Fuel Policy
A fuel policy could develop into a long-term project, but there are some steps that should deliver immediate savings.

Because drivers either have company cards or are reimbursed for fuel expenses, the need to find a cheaper gas station is often not a top priority. Training drivers on the importance of fuel spend can go a long way in reducing these costs. Larger companies would even benefit from employing a fuel analyst who would be able to find more in-depth ways to save money for their business.

Service Fees
Having a large fleet means that there will always be a vehicle that needs to be taken in for routine maintenance. However, these costs can add up quickly if they aren’t properly monitored. Even if the costs are being managed by a fleet management or leasing company, you still need to be sure that you are getting best value.

Taking a vehicle to an independent garage could cost far less in labor charges than a franchised dealer. Still, it is always worth checking that what you get for your money and whether parts prices match these savings.

Bulk Purchases on Fleet Vehicles
Talk to vehicle manufacturers about the types of discounts they would be willing to give you and promote the exclusivity that you would be giving back to them.

After obtaining the best manufacturer markdown, discuss any other add-ons that your supplying dealer may be able to add. Then take the deal to the contract hire companies for the final saving on the actual lease rate. Fleets can successfully save large with this three-way discount.

Fleet Software
Time is money, so it makes sense that something that saves time would also effectively save your fleet money.

The use of fleet software is only as good as the data you put into it, but it can transform your understanding of the entire fleet, identify potential savings instantaneously, and even allow you to focus on exception supervision rather than unforeseen crisis management.

Monitoring Mileage
When one of your drivers or employees needs to meet with a client, it is difficult to argue. But understanding the amount of miles that the company is covering and why, can offer valuable insight into how a company is performing.

If you consistently educate managers from the different departments to ask whether mileage is necessary and show them the prospective time benefits of not spending hours on the road every day, the business can benefit in the long run.

Lifetime Cost of Vehicles
The answer for how much each vehicle in the fleet costs is usually based on the list price or leasing rate. Yet, other factors like fuel economy, mileage, service, maintenance, repair, damage and taxation drastically alter the final costs for the lifetime of the vehicle.

So when you include all of the relevant factors that affect a vehicle’s true cost of ownership, a bargain vehicle can quickly morph into a burden.

Reducing Accident Rates
Risk management is a constant challenge, but a fresh perspective and new strategies can mean the world for a fleet company. Managers giving the same money-saving message of low accidents can fall on deaf ears, especially in a growing business.

The impact on the bottom line can be dramatic for any company. Dodging one serious accident could very well pay for the company’s entire risk management efforts in one fail swoop.

Improving Management
Professional training is the groundwork of a cost-effective fleet. Managers who are constantly learning and developing new ideas help not only the operating costs of the fleet, but also encourage a culture of new thinking for everyone in the company.

In addition, fleet managers will benefit from networking and sharing ideas with others from the industry.

Tax Breaks for Vehicles

Every fleet could benefit from a few more tax breaks. And a tax-efficient fleet is a cost-effective fleet, which is why fleet policy and government policy should be closely aligned in any manager’s overall strategy.

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Q&A With Birnie Bus Service Inc.

02/13/2013 by Shazia Haq
Birnie Bus Service Inc., a transportation company based in New York, operates over 900 school buses as well as corporate charter and long distance motor coach services. Their entire fleet, which spansover 1,600 vehicles, travels over a combined 700 million miles a year. Birnie Bus Service is the 18th largest bus company in the United States, transporting over two million passengers annually. The company's corporate fleet supervisor, Harvey Hawkins, spoke with Teletrac about the role that fleet safety plays within Birnie Bus and how he got the company to reduce daily harsh braking from over30 a day to less than six a day.

Teletrac: How did you choose Teletrac to be your company’s GPS tracking solution?

Harvey: I looked up probably 60 different GPS tracking companies on the internet and did a WebEx on all of them. Teletrac was the only one that could meet all the needs of our company. 

Teletrac: What are some way that you utilize Teletrac on a daily basis?

Harvey: We keep the hard braking issues that go through our mobile site. When we receive a notice of harsh braking, we call in on the radio and check in to see if everything is okay. That actually does a couple of things: sometimes with hard braking, drivers don’t even realize they do it. The others drivers actually hear that when you’re calling and it slows down the hard braking all the way across the fleet.

At the beginning, we used to have about 30-40 hard braking incidents a day. And now we probably have maybe 5 or 6 a day. We also use mileage report to update our fuel records. We use the detailed stops report to compare suggested routes against the actual route. We monitor idle times and fuel mileage. We also monitor the location of buses during trips to assure they are on track and running on time. This is very helpful on weekends when we have buses out and the customer calls and asks for the status of a bus. We can remotely pull up and locate buses and give an approximate time-frame of when the bus will get to them.

Teletrac: How do you utilize safety analytics software?

Harvey: We actually monitor the analytics report and bring it up during our monthly safety meetings. We recognize the top 10 drivers that have the best safety score during and of course, we also explain how  drivers end up on our report with low scores.  It’s kind of a competition, they’re all trying to do what they can do to get in the top 10. The terminal manager and I have been discussing different things to present to corporate to recognize drivers. Although we are not there yet, recognizing these drivers in the safety meeting alone makes a huge difference.

Teletrac: Would you recommend Teletrac to another customer?

Harvey: Yes, absolutely!

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