Hello all I hope that you all get through the holidays unscathed and that you and yours enjoy your time together. As usual it’s hard to believe that we are once again turning the page on another year.
Lets kick off with some self reflection, as we all know having a plan is the first step in improving results in anything in life whether were talking business results or otherwise. So as is my usual set of questions to my readers, what did you learn last year from your results? Were you satisfied with your results, was there and areas of your performance that you need to work on or give to someone else for their expertise?
By the way this article is not just directed to Owner Operators it is pointed to anyone reading it including trucking companies. Its time to think outside the box because we all know the definition of insanity, which is of course doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result. This only applies of course if you would like to change your results; those of you with good work habits and results who are merely fine-tuning your operations from time to time, should of course continue on with your same habits.
As for the rest of you, Isn’t it funny how when you see someone that looks as though they have their act together or if you’re a company how that company around the corner looks like they have it all together and your not looking so good? They have the same trucks the same qualified driver behind the wheel, so what do they have that you don’t?
I would bet that nine times out of ten, they have a well thought out plan and the willpower and determination to follow it. It is not nuclear science but it is hard work and determination, it is the willingness to accept that you just might need some expertise that you might not posses; it is definitely making change and taking yourself and maybe your folks outside their comfort zone. When I speak about change and how folks resist it at all cost I talk about the Bob’s that used to work for me, they were bobbing their heads but inside they thought I was nuts and had no intention of following my lead. Within a short period of time the only Bob’s that were around me were the ones born with the name Robert, all other Bob’s were down the road.
Change is inevitable and although not always good more often than not it is good it means in may cases that we are growing and learning, that is of course if it is handled properly. So what would change look like for you, change for an Owner Operator might be finally identifying where the low hanging fruit is in understanding the true running cost of your truck and seeing the opportunities to trim excessive cost. Change might look like slowing the truck down wherever possible, might be attacking some of your maintenance items yourself rather than paying a shop for every maintenance item or repair. Might be increasing your paid miles by putting in one extra trip per pay schedule, whatever change it takes to improve your results that is well thought out and you can execute within the rules is worth trying and mastering.
Change for a company that is looking for Owner Operators might be offering training on how to manage a small business to your O/O’s. It might be ran by your companies accounting staff, usually they see the differences in statements from one Owner Operator to the next, what about offering some training to all O/O’s and offer personal invitations to those who by the numbers you know are suffering? What about sharing company numbers on cost per mile for tucks, your spec for company trucks? I tell Owner Operators all the time to ask the company they work for what their numbers are for running their trucks, some share and for some reason some do not.
Makes sense right, an Owner Operator should be able to operate their own vehicle cheaper than a company truck. Here’s my logic a company driver is paid by the mile not on the profit of the truck, the fact of it, I know is that the company has to make money or the driver doesn’t get paid, I get that, but for the most past, driver’s capture as many miles as possible to maximize their paychecks. For most drivers, operating the vehicle as efficiently as possible is not their motivation, why would it be? On the other hand having a similarly specked truck, as a company unit owned by an Owner Operator who has their eye on every operating cost and is maximizing their miles should yield a higher return, make sense?
I also find it funny that most companies know that this is true and it is discussed around a boardroom table but few trucking companies share the information with their O/O’s. Does it not make sense that if you offer a way for your people to make your money that those who accept the offer and benefit from it will stay with you longer or that they will tell other O/O’s about the program? You might even attract some company drivers who might had been thinking of making the plunge, when I think about how granular profit margins have become over the past few years, it is almost criminal as a small business to not be focusing on these things on a continual basis.
So why not start 2013 on the right foot, if your not happy with the results you achieved in 2012 then stop the insanity and try something new. People have been trucking for 100 plus years, there is knowledge available to you, seek it out and make yourself better, don’t be satisfied with mediocre, your going to continue doing it anyway so why not try and be the best you can possible be! Remember this, every accomplishment starts with the decision to try! Make the Decision!
Have a safe and prosperous 2013
Mr. Ray Haight has enjoyed a successful career in transportation starting as a company driver and Owner Operator logging over one million accident free miles prior to starting his own company. After stepping down from a successful career managing one of Canada’s 50 largest trucking companies, Ray focused on industry involvement including terms as Chairman of each of the following, the Truckload Carriers Association, Professional Truck Drivers Institute, North American Training and Management Institute and the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities voluntary apprenticeship of Tractor Trailer Commercial Driver, along with many other business interests, he enjoys a successful consulting business, also sitting on various Boards of both industry associations a private motor carriers. He is also Co-Founder of StakUp O/A TCAinGauge an online bench marking service designed to assist trucking companies throughout North America focus on efficiency and profitability within their operations. All posts by Ray Haight