The early months of the year can often leave people feeling demotivated and less productive. Therefore, it’s essential fleet managers put in place strategies to maintain and increase the productivity of HGV drivers. Supporting your drivers in this way will maximise the effectiveness of their daily routine. With the right tools and tactics, managing HGV drivers will unlock multiple benefits, allowing operations to thrive.
In this article, we will discuss why managing driver performance is essential, as well as strategies to increase driver productivity and optimise fleets efficiently and effectively.
The Importance of Managing Driver Performance
A fleet manager’s delivery vehicles are only as effective as the HGV drivers who operate them. Whilst there are many aspects to fleet management, there will be no real gain or benefit if employees are being inadequately managed. Commercial drivers are essential to day-to-day operations and logistics, and ultimately, they are in large part accountable for the productivity of a fleet manager’s delivery network.
Properly managing drivers is necessary for reducing potential risks to fleets and enhancing delivery operations. HGV drivers are not only responsible for the vehicles they drive, but the goods within them too. Therefore, maintaining and increasing driver productivity is crucial to the overall functioning of a business.
Proper management of commercial drivers creates:
10 Strategies to Increase Driver Productivity
Consider these essential strategies for better driver and fleet management, and increased productivity:
The employees in a business are the backbone. By asking for feedback from HGV drivers, fleet managers can empower them with a voice to be heard. Getting feedback from employees shows them that their thoughts and feelings are valued. Not only that, but studies show that effective employer and employee communication improves staff performance by 2.4 times.
Whilst getting feedback from your team is a good first step – to simply ask is not enough. Comments from commercial drivers must be acted upon, otherwise this may backfire on fleet managers, leading not only to decreased performance and productivity but loyalty too.
HGV drivers play a huge role in keeping the global economy moving. Therefore, it’s essential to consider their wellbeing in order to keep them motivated and able to carry on doing their job effectively. AVIVA surveyed 2000 of their employees, finding benefits like wellness allowances to support mental and physical wellbeing, are favoured more than soft benefits like social events.
One of the simplest ways to increase driver productivity is via training. Offering HGV drivers opportunities for regular training to upskill, with clear lines for career progression is essential. This could include seasonal driving, backing up and staying up to date with new laws and regulations. Training videos are also a fantastic way for commercial drivers to understand what their responsibilities are and how to perform these properly.
Businesses appraised highly on their staff training see 93% less attrition. Giving commercial drivers the chance to advance skills and grow professionally increases staff loyalty. And on top of this, if fleet managers provide ongoing driver training and career development opportunities, HGV drivers are far more likely to remain motivated and productive.
Healthy workplace relationships and being able to feel like an essential part of a successful team matter a great deal. In fact, 50% of staff who have a ‘best friend’ at work relay that they feel a more solid connection towards their firm. In addition to this, research shows that having a friend at work increases performance and productivity.
There are both traditional and newer approaches to fostering these workplace relationships in haulage and logistics companies. If your business likes to do things the more traditional way – consider employee mentoring programs like ‘buddying’ up a senior member of staff with a new trainee. Or if you’re open to trying out new approaches, consider remote learning options for drivers. Not only are they a great solution when it comes to upskilling and keeping workforces productive, but they also keep commercial drivers up to date on the latest. As a result of this, they will feel more connected to their company, and be able to exchange tips and best practices with other colleagues.
Manual driver management can be time-consuming and inaccurate. However, utilising software that enhances and streamlines all your business’ management processes will contribute a great deal to your fleet’s productivity.
Fleet management optimisation tools can improve all areas of the delivery cycle for truckers. There are different types of automated software available that can create optimised delivery routes – ensuring vehicles are always on a delivery route that allows for as many deliveries as possible in a timely manner. Many of these types of software use a range of factors to determine the best routes – weight of the vehicle, type of cargo, route restrictions and limits. Taking these factors into consideration results in lower fuel costs and maintenance expenses. Whilst fleet managers can manually create and organise delivery routes – using automated software ensures overall efficiency and productivity of drivers with no concerns that time is being wasted.
Implementation of vehicle tracking systems can be an accurate way of having visibility of what HGV drivers are up to in real-time. These systems utilise GPS technology to generate maps that follow delivery route progress. This allows fleet managers to stay up to date with where drivers are without having to risk communications that are inaccurate.
It’s important for drivers to understand that such tracking is much more about business efficiency rather than constant monitoring of whether they’re doing their job properly. If the reasons and benefits for introducing tracking technology are well-communicated, most professional drivers will welcome the support it gives them, in order to do the best possible job for the customer.
Communication is at the core of managing drivers’ productivity effectively. Sometimes, drivers will have to spend long periods of time on the road, and therefore it’s important to sustain a level of human-to-human connection to keep productivity levels elevated. It’s essential for fleet managers to maintain communication with their drives and regularly contact them to ensure that they’re happy. Regular contact as such will create a culture where drivers feel like they’re being looked after rather than watched over.
To manage HGV drivers’ productivity effectively – access to accurate data and analytics in regard to their performance is required. Not only will this highlight to fleet managers if they’re hitting their KPIs, but it’ll also allow drivers to see which areas they can improve in.
Most delivery software can produce accurate reporting and data from each delivery route taken, allowing fleet managers to create reports for measuring drivers’ performance. This is another fantastic approach when it comes to how to measure driver productivity, as it allows driving conduct to be tracked. These types of software will take many factors into consideration – average speeds, breaking speeds, average fuel costs and idleness. Having access to these analytics will allow fleet managers to track drivers’ past performance against current performance. As well as this, it will show drivers which areas they need to optimise their habits, in order to be more productive. Many operators have found that adding a competitive or reward-based element to this can also help to get drivers on board. For instance, league tables with schemes such as ‘driver of the month’ can be a fantastic way to fulfil this.
Knowledge is power – and well-informed drivers make better decisions. Access to relevant and essential information increases the productivity of HGV drivers as this knowledge will allow them to take action quickly. This could include keeping drivers informed on the following:
Optimise Vehicle Maintenance
Whilst it may not seem like it on the surface, the vehicles themselves can contribute to decreased driver productivity in certain scenarios. One of the best ways a fleet manager can increase driver productivity is to mitigate the way vehicles themselves can cause inconvenience. Where possible, reduce the activities HGV drivers need to handle, in order to maximise driver and vehicle uptime. For instance, can maintenance services be scheduled for off-peak days/times? Can oil changes be planned for times where the driver will not be using the vehicle? Are there pickup/delivery alternatives or mobile service providers capable of removing the need for drivers to take their vehicle to the service facility? Optimising these areas will allow truckers to focus more on their core job functions.
Implementing a range of strategies like the above can support in increasing and maintaining commercial drivers’ productivity. With the correct tools, fleet managers can effectively manage HGV drivers. All it takes is simple measures such as considering driver wellbeing, effective communication, delivery route optimisation and training opportunities to keep productivity levels elevated and therefore operations running more efficiently.