In 2018, the trucking industry has a shortage of 60,000 drivers. Worse, that figure is slated to reach 100,000 by 2022 according to USA Today. This shortage is hurting the transportation industry and leading to more missed deadlines.
Late shipments are becoming more common while transport firms are being forced to raise their prices. Is there any way out of this problem, or are you doomed to fight this profit-killing trend for the next few years? We have the answer, and it doesn’t require drones or self-driving cars.
The Surprising Answer to Improving Performance in the Transport Industry
Keep up your efforts to recruit and retain more drivers. However, that approach alone probably won't be enough to produce results. You'll need another strategy to help your company grow.
That solution lies in boosting productivity. Just imagine what could happen if you increased productivity by 10% this year. You could avoid raising your prices and stand out as the value option among other logistics firms. You could also invest more in marketing and sales. Alternatively, you could leap ahead of competitors by offering above-average compensation to attract workers.
Achieving a substantial productivity improvement requires creative thinking and a variety of options.
Go Faster with These Transportation and Logistics Productivity Strategies
There are only a few fundamental ways to increase productivity in a company. You can increase revenue, decrease cost, or save time. When you save time, you're indirectly reducing expenses. That’s the theory of productivity, but what does it look like at the ground level?
- Work longer hours: In some cases, you can ask your staff to work longer hours. This is a simple way to increase the amount of work that gets done, so you may have attempted it already. However, it's of limited usefulness in transportation because there are restrictions on how many hours drivers can work. Besides, if you work your employees too hard, they'll leave for other opportunities.
- Optimize your vehicle fleet: Through careful preventive maintenance, you can reduce unplanned downtime for your trucks, cars, and other vehicles. The only challenge is that you need to be consistent in carrying out inspections and equipment checks for this strategy to work.
- Optimize your transport routes: If a driver has 20 deliveries to be completed in a day, carefully planning out the route is a good way to save time. Using a GPS and your expertise with traffic patterns will help. There are also software solutions on the market that help with this approach. It’s a good way to save on your fuel costs.
- Improve your data collection and administration: Typically, this is one of the least used strategies to increase productivity. Using this strategy means eliminating time spent filling out paper forms. It also means fewer mistakes by managers and supervisors because they'll have better quality data to use in their decisions.
The Data Collection Productivity Strategy
For transportation and logistics firms, improving the way you collect and manage data helps the bottom line in several ways. Frontline employees save time by only having to enter data on forms once. Management receives higher quality information quickly.
To gain those benefits, you need a reliable data collection solution to automate the process; working with paper forms is just too difficult and slow.
Your Hidden Productivity Advantage with Mobile Forms
While your competitors struggle to improve productivity through hiring and working longer hours, you'll take a different road. With an enterprise data collection solution, your firm will become more productive in the following ways:
- Improve customer service and retention: By receiving data from the field quickly, transportation managers can make better decisions. For example, you can improve maintenance and give customers warnings for delays.
- Save time in your operations workflow: By using mobile data collection, form data can be automatically added to Salesforce, Google Drive, and other systems. That means you don’t have to copy and paste data between systems. It saves your support staff major time and hassle.
- Leverage rich media from the field: How many times has the main office received a report of a problem from the field that was unclear or vague? You can eliminate that problem by attaching photos to forms to provide a richer description of the issue.
- Focus on high-value forms: Your company probably has dozens of paper forms. Some are used every week, while others might be used annually. To help you make smart choices on digitizing your forms, read this article, “Construction Forms: Which Should You Digitize First?”
Continuing to rely upon paper forms in 2018 will only cost you more over time. You might wonder if mobile data collection will work for your transportation company. Why not find out how a comparable company is already improving its operations? Find out how Arlington Heavy Hauling is improving efficiency.
Learn more about how mobile data collection can benefit your logistics company.