Being an established brand in the US trucking industry can be highly rewarding. After all, this industry surpassed $700 billion in annual revenues in 2017, according to a report published by the American Trucking Association.
On the other hand, developing a fleet brand can be hugely challenging, with stiff competition, a tough regulatory environment and highly discerning customers. Amid this landscape, there are a few critical factors that can define the success of a fleet brand. Here’s a look at them.
Get the Right Vehicles
For a fleet brand, procuring the vehicles represents the biggest capital investment. So, this is a critical decision. Here are a few things to consider:
Buy, finance or lease the vehicles: There are pros and cons of each, and the decision would depend on your current finances, terms you’re able to secure for financing and leasing and market projections.
Vehicle size: While this will depend on the freight being transported, the total cost of ownership of a light-duty vehicle is significantly lower than that of a heavy-duty one. Fuel costs as well as maintenance and repair costs will be higher for larger vehicles. On the other hand, larger vehicles may have a longer service life.
Carrying capacity: The most painful cost for a fleet brand is operating vehicles carrying freight under their full capacity
Terrains: Consider whether the routes will be mostly lengthy highway commutes or off-road travel.
Capital versus operating costs: For instance, a diesel vehicle costs more but is more economical in fuel consumption as compared to gas powered vehicles. Moreover, diesel vehicles have lower emission and can project your brand as being environment friendly.
Operating costs are probably high for your fleet brand. These may include fuel costs, insurance, costs related to maintenance and repair of vehicles, driver costs, vehicle downtime costs, expenses related to providing customer service and many more. The best way to have a real-time view of these costs and measure everything is to select a powerful software solution. This can underline the success of your fleet brand.
Focus on selecting a software solution that gives a comprehensive view and is user customizable, while also being straightforward to implement, say experts at Key Software Systems. They explain that such a solution eliminates the cost and hassles of managing multiple components, while ensuring that your employees have a good experience with the software, which will encourage them to leverage it to the fullest.
Choose a solution that can manage last mile, same day and next day deliveries for providing a top-notch experience to your customers. The software should help you determine the ideal route and schedule work to drivers accordingly.
Compliance will also become easier with the right software. Moreover, you could choose a solution that enhances your brand by allowing you to customize email and SMS alerts for customers and consignees.
Invest in Driver Training
This is probably the most ignored aspect by fleet brands. With some training, it’s possible to increase their productivity, improves fuel efficiency and reduces vehicle accidents and breakdowns. Driver training can focus on:
- Driving in wet, snowy or hazardous conditions
- How to efficiently brake, accelerate and reduce excess idling
- A basic understanding of the vehicle
- What do to in case of an accident
- How to deal with customers efficiently and courteously
Finally, what makes a fleet brand successful is having a sound business plan and achieving the perfect balance between executing the plan effectively and being flexible enough to grab unexpected opportunities, says a report by Harvard Business Review.