At a recent Driving for Profit seminar, industry consultant Dan Goodwill urged fleets to "Think offensively as well as defensively, because opportunities are presenting themselves that you may never s...
At a recent Driving for Profit seminar, industry consultant Dan Goodwill urged fleets to “Think offensively as well as defensively, because opportunities are presenting themselves that you may never see again.” If you’re hunkered down in survival mode, it may seem like a daunting time to take risks or chase down new business. But as the recession drags on, there are opportunities emerging that simply didn’t exist before the economic implosion.
At a subsequent Driving for Profit seminar, former Truckload Carriers Association chairman Ray Haight shared a few such opportunities, which are worth repeating here:
Speed limiters: Love’em or hate’em, speed limiter laws in Ontario and Quebec create an opportunity to partner with solid US fleets that have lost their appetite to run into Canada, according to Haight. As chair of TCA, he is well plugged into the US trucking industry, and Haight said many carriers would prefer not to limit their trucks to 105 km/h for those few runs into Canada. Instead, they’re open to the idea of turning loads over to Canadian carriers at the border. Why not offer to help out and relieve those US fleets of their Canadian-bound freight at the border? “I always found it easier to negotiate with another trucker than a shipper,” pointed out Haight.
Driver training: Training drivers has always been a moving target for fleets that had to contend with annual turnover rates ranging anywhere from 20-100%.With trucking jobs drying up and stability returning to most fleets’ driving force, now’s the time to deliver meaningful training that will deliver long-term results, Haight pointed out. It’s often been said there’s a 30% difference in fuel economy between the best and worst drivers in any given fleet.
“You can train your drivers when you have a stable workforce,” said Haight. “It’s hard to train them when we’re constantly turning them over.”
New technology: You think fleets have it tough? The recession hasn’t been any kinder to equipment and technology providers. Here’s a chance – especially for small fleets – to negotiate good rates on new equipment or technology that would’ve previously been unaffordable, Haight advised. You may find companies are willing to accept terms they would’ve rejected in better times. Why not invest now, when there are deals to be had?
Weed out problem drivers: Many fleets are downsizing – or right-sizing – during the recession. Here’s a chance to get rid of the drivers who contribute the least to the company, Haight pointed out. He referred to a 20/60/20 rule in trucking with the first 20% of drivers achieving the greatest success for the company and themselves, the middle 60% getting by and making a reasonable contribution and the final 20% being a drain on the company and a general “pain in the butt.”
Haight said fleets can now retain the cream of the crop of their driving force while getting rid of the non-contributors. “This is a great opportu-nity to elevate the quality of your driving force,” he said.
Elevate hiring criteria:Finally, you can be more selective about who you hire in the first place. Driving jobs are scarce these days, so rather than looking for a warm body to put in the seat, you can focus on hiring drivers “with the highest skills and the best records.”
Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry. All posts by Truck News