To any small business or startup that employs drivers there is nothing more important than efficiency to maximise the number of jobs your business can do. But efficiency alone can’t be the only measure, safety and driver behaviour are key components too.
Whether you have ten vehicles in your fleet or a hundred, here are our top tips to help you and your team improve driver behaviour and better your business.
Why is driver behaviour important?
If you run a business with a fleet of vehicles, there is only so much you can do from your business’ headquarters as a backseat driver. Trust in your drivers will only take your business so far, especially as they might not be aware of potential room for improvement in their driving.
The best way to look at driver behaviour and make realistic and fair assessments is to gather data. Once you have a clear picture of where your drivers excel and where they could use help, you can implement fixes.
Fleet management software tracks all the data you need
One simple way to find out what drivers are already getting right and what they might be getting wrong is to use telematics fleet management software. Businesses can use telematics software to collect accurate real-time data on their drivers’ journeys.
After installing satellite tracking boxes in your fleet, telematics software collects a live record of exactly what each driver is doing on the job. Top software provider, Movolytics points out: the software can help improve driver behaviour by giving drivers live prompts on correcting inefficient driving while displaying updated “scorecards” on their dashboards with points awarded and deducted for good and bad behaviours respectively.
This data is then collated, with other features like fuel usage, speed and stop times, for further analysis and review by your team.
Depending on your provider, your business should be able to purchase fleet management software with a bespoke deal based on the number of vehicles in your fleet. And even if the cost does seem high initially, telematics can be used to increase fuel efficiency, saving you a fortune on petrol in the long run. Many fleet management companies are now becoming grey fleet management, this means your employer is now responsible for your vehicle.
Talk positives to encourage change without lowering morale
No matter how well-intentioned you are, some drivers may see your attempts to improve their behaviour as confrontational or demoralising. Driving is their chosen vocation, after all, and they may well pride themselves on their skills.
Using the driver behaviour data you have collected from your telematics software as a foundation, you can create an open forum to discuss drivers’ strengths and weaknesses in an objective, fact-based way.
Instead of chastising drivers for poor practice and telling them they are not good enough, encourage them to do better by setting targets and celebrating their victories, successes and achievements. Entrepreneur.com says “every company needs a strategic rewards system for employees,” and that system should focus on these four key things: “compensation, benefits, recognition and appreciation.”
Find the faults and address issues
As Pacific Standard magazine reports, long haul lorry drives can be taxing to the mental and physical health of drivers. With issues as serious as this possibly in play, it is crucial that you find out why your drivers are struggling or engaging in unhelpful behaviours. Once you have a database of live-updated driving information, you will be able to look into the underlying causes behind any negative behaviours and act accordingly.
On their journeys, drivers could be having various problems, from struggling with the method for directions, or finding sustaining snacks or break spots on their routes.
The Balance blog has some driver diet tips that you could share with anyone who is struggling with this. For very long journeys, a lack of sleep may become a serious problem. Make sure your drivers take breaks when they are tired avoid any dangerous accidents. Running through plans and getting your drivers to note where they plan to take breaks and for how long can help them feel supported, while also giving them much needed time to rest.
Talk to your drivers about all of these issues to determine whether they are affected. This could be done at regular meetings or check-ins, held on a monthly basis or after a set number of jobs have been completed. In these meetings you can help drivers work through their issues and get back to excelling on the road. It is important to be on your drivers’ side. After all, you are all on the same team, and you all have the same goal: to make your business successful.