Be the best you can: Part 3

The third part in the se­ries of how to be the best pro­fes­sional trans­port op­er­a­tor you can be

Owner Driver - - Driving Your Business - Lynette Gray

AS I PRE­VI­OUSLY WROTE, there comes a time when you are look­ing for some­one to work with, ei­ther an em­ployee or a sub-con­trac­tor, who will spend a sub­stan­tial time on the road, driv­ing from point A to point B and in­ter­act­ing with the gen­eral pub­lic on your be­half.

What are the three most im­por­tant things you look for in a per­son? The feed­back I re­ceived from a com­mu­nity of 50,000 driv­ers and trans­port own­ers and oper­a­tors was:

• At­ti­tude of the per­son: 44 per cent

• Cus­tomer ser­vice and com­mu­ni­ca­tion: 21 per cent

• Driv­ing abil­ity and record: 15 per cent

• Per­sonal hy­giene: 12 per cent

• Me­chan­i­cal skill: 8 per cent.

We have dis­cussed the first four things that peo­ple ‘look for’ in a per­son be­ing at­ti­tude and cus­tomer ser­vice/ com­mu­ni­ca­tion, driv­ing abil­ity and per­sonal hy­giene. This month, let us talk about the fi­nal area of in­ter­est when em­ploy­ing or en­gag­ing a per­son for a job.

BE ME­CHAN­I­CALLY MINDED

The pro­fes­sional trans­port op­er­a­tor is not only about driv­ing but also un­der­stands the ba­sic me­chan­ics of how their ve­hi­cles op­er­ate, and they can fix most mi­nor is­sues while on the road. They can per­form re­pairs as nec­es­sary, such as chang­ing a tyre or light bulb, to help en­sure the truck meets com­pli­ance and other road and in­dus­try safety stan­dards.

A pro­fes­sional trans­port op­er­a­tor has an un­der­stand­ing of mod­ern ve­hi­cle dy­nam­ics. Not only must they be alert me­chan­i­cally but also be able to eval­u­ate and as­sess their con­di­tion and be aware of fa­tigue fac­tors.

They also know when to re­port some­thing is wrong and get the as­sis­tance that they need. An ap­ti­tude for op­er­at­ing the rig is a gift, as is an abil­ity to ‘feel’ what is hap­pen­ing to your truck and trail­ers – not only see and hear.

They are tuned in to their sur­round­ings and will no­tice a strange sound, vi­bra­tion or an odour which may in­di­cate an early warn­ing sig­nal of a more sig­nif­i­cant prob­lem.

Com­plete daily checks be­fore leav­ing to en­sure the ve­hi­cle is safe to drive. A pro­fes­sional driver un­der­stands how im­por­tant the safety of the freight and other users on the road is.

They con­trib­ute to safer roads not only for them­selves but for ev­ery­one who is sharing the road with them.

Now that we have cov­ered off on what typ­i­cal em­ploy­ers look for in an em­ployee or en­gag­ing a sub-con­trac­tor, let us re­verse this sce­nario and ask what three things em­ploy­ees or sub-con­trac­tors look for when choos­ing a com­pany to work for.

Upon run­ning a short poll in the same group of 50,000 driv­ers and trans­port own­ers and oper­a­tors, what came through loud and clear was:

1. Pay rates

2. Pay­ment terms

3. Con­sis­tent work

4. Com­pany’s at­ti­tude

5. Work­place health and safety. Ev­ery­one who owns more than one truck doesn’t need to be told this, as we al­ready know it. How­ever, it is con­firmed loud and clear.

Sub­con­trac­tors, even if they only have one truck, are in busi­ness for them­selves. They are not an em­ployee and can­not ex­pect the same priv­i­leges as an em­ployee. To pro­vide a freight ser­vice from A to B and have the freight ar­rive in ex­cel­lent con­di­tion and on time, trans­port com­pa­nies need to over­come a con­sid­er­able num­ber of chal­lenges to make the money flow.

CUS­TOMER EX­PEC­TA­TIONS

Let us tackle a sig­nif­i­cant is­sue head on, which has a flow-on ef­fect to ev­ery­one and has an im­pact on all these ar­eas of con­cern. This is meet­ing your cus­tomer ex­pec­ta­tions. Let’s face it – with­out cus­tomers you have no busi­ness, no pay­ments, no need for any em­ploy­ees or sub-con­trac­tors and no cash flow or life­style. How­ever, as time­frames get tighter and tighter, some cus­tomers may ex­pect from their trans­port com­pany faster and faster de­liv­ery times, which is never fea­si­ble nor safe.

It is es­sen­tial to be trans­par­ent with cus­tomers and make sure all par­ties are on the same page – from the ware­house, driv­ing oper­a­tors and ad­min­is­tra­tion per­son­nel. In the lo­gis­tics in­dus­try, it’s keep­ing up with the lat­est in­no­va­tions in tech­nol­ogy. The best trans­port com­pa­nies are un­der­pinned by tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tions that help to stream­line and im­prove their busi­nesses.

Trans­port com­pa­nies face dif­fer­ent chal­lenges when it comes to de­liv­er­ing goods from A to B. There’s a lot to keep in mind, from fuel and other run­ning costs, cus­tomer ex­pec­ta­tions and the lat­est tech­no­log­i­cal de­vel­op­ments. Trans­port com­pa­nies can flour­ish with mea­sures to over­come these com­mon prob­lems.

These are some of the things that I wanted to share with you. If you would like to know more se­crets of my 25 years of in­dus­try ex­pe­ri­ence, I am pleased to of­fer you a 30-minute free dis­cov­ery ses­sion where we can talk about “what is your plan, so ev­ery­thing doesn’t fall back to you” in your busi­ness. Or we can go deeper into your busi­ness, your fears, your story or your bat­tles within these 30 min­utes. It is up to you and guess what, it’s ab­so­lutely free!

Feel free to share this ar­ti­cle if you think it can add value to your fam­ily, friends or col­leagues. Thank you, and I hope you learned some­thing new from this short read.

“Some cus­tomers may ex­pect from their trans­port com­pany faster and faster de­liv­ery times.”

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