Not surprisingly, managers and executives of trucking fleets have had to get creative in finding ways to reduce costs and boost the efficiency of operations. Check out the strategies of some forward-thinking individuals in the trucking industry.
Shifting to Remote Operations
The slowdowns caused by COVID-19 created serious challenges for those in the trucking industry. But many of the changes being made have resulted in long-term positive effects. In a September 14th, 2020 article in Heavy Duty Trucking, CEO of expedited fleet Load One, John Elliot, explained, “This time gave us the chance to review all of our process and workflows from top to bottom… Amazing what you can find…when you have time to catch your breath.”
One positive change involves technology being used to ensure employees can accomplish their work remotely. Also, many trucking companies are increasing efficiency and cutting down on paperwork by bringing in electronic bills of lading. Management systems that are cloud-based are being used to boost efficiency in operations and improve collaboration.
To save money, some trucking companies temporarily suspended the purchase of trucks and trailers.
Trucking companies such as System Freight Inc. (SFI), utilize rental trailers. When the slowdowns occurred, SFI returned the rentals to cut costs.
Saving Money on the Road
The pandemic has changed many routes to relays for drivers. This means a driver hauls a load to a certain point and turns it over to another driver. Each driver earns pay and the trucking company doesn’t have to pay for hotel rooms because drivers can return home.
Mike Palmer, VP of fleet services for Estes Express Lines, explained the process of examining various departments in an effort to cut costs. For instance, all supplier costs were studied, and prices renegotiated.
Some trucking executives voluntarily cut their salaries as a way to help. Trucking companies used money from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to give drivers a bump in pay. This is proving to be an effective way to reward employee loyalty and build a solid team of drivers that will stay with the company during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.