In times of global crisis, the world hinges on the trucking industry to deliver essential items from state-to-state.
Essentials ranging from medical supplies to restocking the racks at local grocery stores, truck drivers play a vital role in sustaining the supply chain.
To keep these essential items in motion during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, the Department of Transportation has withheld most of the Hours of Service regulations for trucks transporting essentials.
The government has imposed shelter in place in many states, which means you could only visit the market to get essentials such as medical supplies or groceries, and all non-essential stores would remain closed.
Fleet Management Through Shelter In Place Orders
With so much happening around and so much dependence on trucking and freight transportation organizations, fleet managers and owners must render strict organization of duties to handle the industry needs.
Because of imposing shelter in place, all non-essential stores have shut, and fleets can only deliver essential commodities across the country.
With that in mind, here are a couple of ways by which companies can manage their fleet while delivering essentials –
Constant Communication With Drivers
The visibility that essential telematics providers bring can be immensely helpful when tracking your shipments on the road.
Being able to stay in steady touch with drivers through messaging and dedicated contact forms and staying updated with their locations at all times enables fleet managers to make supervised decisions.
With your fleet carrying essentials of exceptional importance to some states, you must keep track of the location of your assets on the road in real-time.
It must be in your knowledge about who is available for the next load, who is closest to the depots, and who has bumped into longer detention times.
Considering the shelter-in-place orders curtailing the overall traffic, many of the states are witnessing a reduction in travel times for drivers.
As per the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), freight trucks are recording faster times overall in areas of high spread, specifically in regularly congested areas (Source).
However, because of additional route changes, border regulations, or detention delays, freight is taking more time to transport.
Obtaining access to genuine telematics and open lines of communication with drivers will be the key to planning and tracking routes.
Maintaining Proper Documentation
While logs are not obligatory to maintain while under the Federal Emergency Declaration, you must continue to make notes and annotate the daily activities due to non-compliance.
Proper documentation can ensure that logs are current when the emergency declaration would end.
It is a helpful idea to include a route planner if your telematics provider does not provide it.
A route planner can facilitate the planning of loads and tasks. It can guide you to traverse down the path that would require minimal fuel consumption and help you avoid risky terrain.
It is necessary that you adhere to eld compliance as issued by the government, which helps track hours of service. You can utilize this opportunity to digitize your fleet organization and eliminate paperwork.
Ensuring Driver Safety
For all fleet managers, the safety of your drivers should be a priority, especially when delivering essentials as the chances of theft are high.
The Department of Transportation Hours has issued guidelines to make sure that drivers are not getting overtaxed, which would help reduce the possibility of accidents.
It will help if you give your team adequate time to rest before taking the next load. Drivers must receive about ten consecutive hours off.
The drivers might want to push themselves given the current situation and delivering only the shelter in place orders, as they would feel a responsibility to their fleet manager as-well-as the community at large.
However, with the right telematics provider, you need to have data on every driver about their hours of shifts completed and when they need rest.
Besides, with people practicing social distancing, there is bound to be an uptick in e-commerce purchases, which would add more strain to fleet capacity.
A fleet tracking tool facilitates managers to review the total time a driver was on the road, how often have they completed a 14-hour shift and provide for properly scheduled rest intervals to avoid exhaustion and potential accidents.
Not only the drivers but their rigs are also pushing extra miles in the wake of the pandemic to deliver shelter in place orders.
Monitoring oil changes, tire rotation, or other regular maintenance items can help drivers and trucks to traverse safely while being in transit.
All these quick care items are convenient and more cost-effective to complete than more significant complications. Ignoring these can lead to more fatalities and wastage of your resources.
An oil change can support engines to run more efficiently and cut down the cost per mile of your fleet.
Examining tires could reveal a small leak or puncture that could have lead to a popped tire in the middle of the road, leaving your driver stuck for hours or lose control of their truck while driving.
The last thing you would want is the shelter in place orders not being delivered to their destination. Addressing regular maintenance items will heighten efficiency and conserve time in the long run.
Include Necessary Add-ons
In times of the Coronavirus pandemic and the urgent requirements of essentials, the supply chain can shift instantly.
Add-ons such as a brokerage provider integration can keep the lines of communication open with your customers and aid you while tracking where the loads are and their time of arrival.
With the extravagant demand of essentials, and lives on the line while carrying freight such as medical supplies, these up-to-the-moment notices can provide your team and customers with the formal support.
You can invest in driver cams by visiting Samsara to monitor your fleet’s progress on-road and record the entire route in case your truck meets with an accident or any other mishappenings occur.
It is no surprise that ¾ of the trucking industry is a vital player in combating this global crisis (Source).
The country is relying heavily on your fleets for delivering essentials such as medical supplies, food, and other e-commerce purchases.
Staying organized and implementing helpful telematics tools can facilitate fleet managers and owners to meet the challenge of delivering shelter in place orders on time.
When the world is facing a global crisis and is locked indoors, people are relying on the trucking industry to deliver essentials and shelter in place orders.
Fleet management companies must keep essentials ready for shipping at all times and ensure driver safety on the road with the increased chances of theft or potential accidents.
Fleet managers must invest in telematics providers that can provide them insightful data about their vehicle and driver status, be it the ideal functioning of the automobile or the behavior of the driver.