Trucking Industry Tips: 5 Tips to Survive A Global Pandemic
I think it’s safe to say that no one was ready for where 2020 took us this year. Global pandemic, quarantine, lockdown, essential workers, grocery store shortages, unemployment, federal stimulus checks… the list of coronavirus and COVID-19 terminology goes on and on. Regardless of your political or conspiracy theory opinions, we can all agree COVID-19 has had a significant impact on business, especially, the trucking industry.
So, how can we prepare better in case something like COVID-19 happens again? How do you survive a global pandemic? Truthfully, a lot of companies and businesses can’t survive. But the trucking industry is truly essential to the US economy. Every year, truckers haul over 70% of the nation’s freight by weight. Truckers are crucial and must be prepared to face even times of economic recession. Our neighbors and communities count on them every day. Here are five tips to survive a global pandemic.
1. Manage Operational Costs
Managing operational costs and running a lean business can be a lifesaver when the economy hits global pandemic status. Companies that are “lean” tend to have fewer employees but with more diverse skill sets. Managing the operational costs in trucking could mean both driving and acting as admin of your fleet. Or utilizing DVIR reports to schedule truck maintenance and reduce unexpected maintenance costs.
2. Save Money with a Fuel Card
Fuel prices plummeted during the COVID-19 global pandemic, in some places, selling for less than $1 per gallon. With many people working from home, the decrease was driven by the drop in demand for fuel during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although fuel prices dropped during the global pandemic, just like all supply and demand concepts, fuel prices will rise again. With rising fuel costs, fleets should always take advantage of a fuel discount program. Some fuel programs are able to save fleets close to $4,000 per truck annually. Utilizing a fuel discount program is a great way to save money for a “rainy day” (or year in this case).
3. Utilize Full Fleet Management System Features
Another way to survive a global pandemic or recession and save money is to utilize resources already purchased. Many companies end up spending more money because they don’t fully understand how to use the systems they have invested in. A robust fleet management system should include electronic logs, fuel tax calculations with IFTA reporting, and maps with truck-specific navigation, just to name a few. Rather than paying extra consulting fees or purchasing expensive navigation equipment, companies can save money by understanding what their current systems offer and how to utilize them to cut costs and increase productivity.
4. Be Open to Change and Adapt
I don’t think anyone could have predicted the outcome of the COVID-19. With massive lockdowns and stay at home orders, many companies had to pivot and change company policies and overall business strategies to accommodate the nature of a global pandemic. Being able to adapt to current economic needs is imperative in the trucking industry. Some driver’s regular loads were exchanged for essential loads, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and medical supplies. The ability to change and adapt loads hauled is crucial for trucking companies especially in times of crisis. Companies that are not open to change and able to quickly adapt will not survive in global pandemic markets.
5. Stay Healthy and Wash Your Hands
This one should go without saying, but your survival relies on staying healthy on and off the road. Since the beginning of COVID-19, many companies are putting an emphasis on driving health benefits. Studies show when employees go to work sick, they are less productive – costing employers more than $200 billion in lost productivity, which is higher than the costs associated with absenteeism. Companies offering health benefits with telemedicine plans can increase driver retention and reduce driver absenteeism.
It is everyone’s hope that this type of global pandemic never happens again. And while we can hope that it doesn’t, we can prepare our companies and businesses to be able to survive in case we do see an economic downturn in the future. By managing costs, saving on fuel, utilizing fleet management systems, adapting to change, and staying healthy your business will be solid and prepared for whatever life throws your way.