3 Ways to Streamline Your Drivers’ Days

Truck drivers face a challenging task each time they roll out of the yard. Besides the personal stressors of being away from family and friends, with each load they enter the world of unpredictable drivers, changing weather conditions, road construction and delays, compliance rules and regulations, and much more.

A recent study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics listed truck driving as sixth highest in fatal work injuries, reaching around 30 deaths per 100,000 workers. That fact – coupled with the concerning rates of turnover in recent years – is prompting fleets to take a closer look at how they can make a driver’s day safer, more efficient, and more rewarding.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a truck driver who’d agree that he or she enjoyed the paperwork part of the job, or the worrying about compliance tasks, or the trying to reroute through narrow off-route streets. The good news is that modern fleet management solutions can offer substantial improvement in these areas – and more – during a truck driver’s day.

1. Reduce their busywork

Completing forms and paperwork may be unpopular tasks, but they are necessary in order to stay compliant, maintain and improve processes, and gather the data needed to track change. That said, redundant tasks and inefficient processes can slow down a driver’s day and lead to frustration and burnout.

Modern fleet management software helps fleets reduce the impact of paperwork on drivers by offering automated tools and streamlined processes. For example, fleets can reduce the tedious tasks of inspections and form completion by offering features such as auto-fill capabilities for redundant fields. Visual form builders help fleets create shortened, custom fleets that require only the information the back office truly wants and needs, leaving out extraneous fields.

Additionally, certain tasks can be scheduled and automated to run throughout the driver’s day. For example, fleets can automatically launch vehicle inspection apps during key points in the workday, reducing context switching and ensuring DVIR reports are consistently submitted. Jobs can also be automatically completed using configurable geofences with task auto-triggers and auto-complete features. Streamlining the small but important tasks can add up to big time savings over weeks, months, and years.

2. Support safer navigation

Rerouting a large truck is not only stressful but can be dangerous, and digging around to access a nav app only adds to the pressure. Fleet management tools can alleviate some of this stress by launching the fleet’s navigation app on your device to automatically update routes as needed to ensure drivers are always on the most efficient and safest route. Centralizing all of the most-needed apps in a central location reduces the taps it takes to move between key interfaces, and ensures all vital tools are working together for the driver’s benefit.

Additionally, fleet management tools can assist in generating valuable preplans that offer the driver extra information before rolling out. A preplan may include the route, suggested stops, overall timing information, and more. This increased situational awareness supports a more efficient shift, and helps the driver plan accordingly for food, rest, and other needs. Being more prepared is key in supporting mental health and reducing stress, which in turn promotes job satisfaction and fights fatigue and burnout.

3. Reduce distractions in the cab

Technology can be a useful asset in the driver’s cab but it can also become overwhelming and dangerously distracting. A recent study by the FMCSA focused on distractions for commercial vehicle operators and the likelihood of crashes and, not surprisingly, the leading risks involved drivers having to take their eyes off the road. The act of talking or listening to a call, for example, was not as risky; it was the act of reaching for the device or looking down at the nav tool that seemed to increase the likelihood of a crash. The most dangerous activities in the cab included interacting with a dispatching device, dialing a cell phone or text messaging, and looking at a map.

Fleet management tools help streamline the driver interface to centralize the apps drivers need the most and eliminate excessive scrolling, redundant logins, or portal hopping. Heads-up notifications from the back office can prioritize and read aloud urgent messages to ensure drivers are always aware of the most important notifications when it comes to weather updates, route changes, or more. Finally, certain apps and browsers can be automatically silenced when wheels are rolling to further decrease distractions and ensure your drivers make it home safely.

Added benefit: improved data quality

While these features can make an immediate improvement in the driver’s workday, the value of improved data quality from automated tools should not be ignored. By reducing redundant tasks required in the field, fleets are actually supporting higher quality information coming into the back office, where it can be processed and used to improve operations. This directly benefits drivers as new policies, training programs, and tools can be developed to make their jobs even more efficient and safer. Additionally, more efficient operations leave more room for driver career advancement or better work/life balance, since less time is spent on busywork and burn-out inducing tasks.

How Platform Science supports the driver’s workflow

Among its suite of telematics and fleet management solutions, Platform Science offers a tool specifically aimed at improving efficiencies and streamlining tasks in a driver’s workday. PS Workflow automates data entry, reduces steps at each stop, and virtually eliminates all manual data entry tasks so drivers can focus on getting their real work done. It also includes features that support team driving and multi-user workflows, including group chat messaging. Finally, it simplifies operations for the back office with dispatching sent directly to driers from the fleet trip management system. PS Workflow has been proven to save drivers 5 minutes per load, a time-saving can add up to a significant savings over weeks, months, and years.

Explore PS Workflow and other fleet-focused tools from Platform Science now.