Jim is a fleet owner and has a few trucks. When the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate initially began his drivers had a difficult time with it, and so did he. He constantly got calls at all hours from drivers who couldn't connect to devices, drivers who could not edit incorrect statuses, and not being able to get support from his new provider. All of these inconveniences distracted him from doing his regular tasks and caused an overall bad experience for him and his company.
Jim decided he's getting a couple more trucks and drivers, but he needs help. His company is positioned to grow and he’s upgrading to better tools and resources. This will help Jim and his drivers automate much of the business and he wants his team on board with him. Jim found the right software and hardware, but what is his next step went it comes to introducing it to everyone? He doesn't want the same headache he got last time.
Streamlining businesses with new technology continues to happen at lightning speed while it also adds tremendous value to one’s business1. Regardless the size of your company, integrating new ways of running an operation isn’t easy, especially when it comes to technology. Because running a business requires an exhaustible amount of work, a solution for making things run more efficiently, as well as increase productivity, is a must.
Your drivers must know your vision and where you want to take your company. Communicating what you are working towards and getting your drivers in the right mindset rests on your shoulders.
Sell it to your team. Be absolutely genuine.
You must be strategic in your attempt to add something new to you and your truck drivers' tool box. Talk to your drivers about the process you’re going through in your search for new ways to make the company run better. For some, consider letting your drivers in on the process.
Being honest about the direction you are going in allows for better conversations about the future and finding out what pain points your drivers are having so that you can leverage that in deciding what technology is best.
Find your team captain and find them quickly.
At the very least, you will always have one or two people who are ready for something new. Let them be the example… those are your allies. If possible, introduce them to your new technology first and watch and listen to how they incorporate it into their day.
One of the best tools you have is a driver who is already technically savvy. These are the people who will be able to help other employees get comfortable with the new technology you’ve chosen. Your champion technology user will greatly influence those who have a bit of hesitation.
Technology for the younger drivers who have grown up with a phone/small computer in their hand is going to be much easier to introduce to than older drivers who are typically set in their ways. Reinforce the benefits your driver will experience because of the new technology.
Actively listen to their concerns.
For those who are resistant to change, listen to them. Don’t just look at them and nod your head. Ask them questions to find out why they are having a difficult time and be sure to empathize with them. Drivers don't want to use multiple devices and have to do multiple logins. They want to drive. Hear their concerns and understand they will perform better if you listen to them2.
Prepare ahead of time and be flexible.
Timing is everything and bending the rules is okay sometimes. If someone is having a tough time learning something new, consider baby steps. By accommodating those who are having a difficult time, resistance won’t rear it’s ugly head the way it would in the same situation if you were forcing it. As the old adage goes: Rome wasn’t built in a day.
There are ways to measure each driver's performance so that you can make changes or help them. Use your new technology to monitor how your drivers are using it. For example, if you're using fleet management software, you can login to see who is falling behind with their logs or daily inspections.
An effective training program is one way to help those having a difficult time with implementation. People learn in different ways and you have the opportunity to give those who need it an extended, hands-on approach so they can retain the new information better.
If you reward them, they will continue trying.
- a subscription to satellite radio
- gift cards to their favorite retailers
- sporting event tickets
Take every opportunity to praise them.
Everyone wants a pat on the back, even you. So it’s easy to understand why your drivers want one, too. Like the reward system, verbally acknowledging the results from the implementation of your new technology with your drivers will not only leave them feeling encouraged, but it also aids in retention. When you highlight the quick wins with someone working on adopting new practices it makes their progress meaningful3.
Choose technology and devices that are simple.
The value in technology is it is supposed to work for you, not the other way around. Managing your truck drivers should be as easy as a click on a screen. There are ways to monitor drivers, keep up with daily logs, check truck performance, and calculate fuel taxes all in one place. Having all of your tools in one place matters. Simple products that are easy to use and have the best of features will be easiest to implement.
Change takes time and change isn’t easy. So take a deep breath, do what’s best for your company and your drivers. Let technology, and the implementation of, drive the future of your business to success.