Gaining a fresh perspective may be able to assist with setting priorities about which issues to tackle first and may also be able to offer solutions not yet considered.
The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) recently released its Critical Issues In The Trucking Industry — 2020 report. The list included: Driver shortage, driver compensation, truck parking, CSA, insurance, driver retention, tort reform, the economy, detention, and hours of service.
Those are some heavy issues and only represent the top 10 things that fleet owners and managers worry about. There are a host of other operational issues that keep fleet operators up at night as well. Some of those issues include whether they have the right mix of equipment to meet their customers’ demands; whether their trucks are spec’d properly for fuel efficiency, performance and safety; and the solvency of their customers. I could go on and on.
The ATRI report is important in that it offers some proposed strategies to help fleets deal with each of the top 10 concerns. I think it might be wise to bring in someone from outside an organization to provide a fresh perspective. They may be able to assist with setting priorities about which issues to tackle first and may also be able to offer solutions your internal team has not considered.
I am not suggesting your own employers and managers can’t provide great solutions to address the issues your fleet faces. However, sometimes we are too close to a situation and that makes it more difficult to see the many options that are available.
Consider convening a meeting once or twice a year for discussions with some of your biggest suppliers, a representative from your truck maker, and your leasing company. Get them together (virtually if it is not possible to meet face-to-face) and ask them to parse through the issues you are facing and brainstorm strategies for resolving them. Not all of their suggestions will be workable, but there may be a gem or two among them. Worse case, you were able to spend some time strengthening relationships with your key partners. And that in itself is a good thing.
Jane Clark focuses on managing the member services operation at NationaLease as vice president of member services. She works to strength member relationships, reduce member costs, and improve collaboration within the NationaLease supporting groups.