Plan Ahead to Be More Productive

by | Apr 19, 2018 | Driver News

As one of Crete’s high productivity drivers, I’d like to share my thoughts and tips on what I do to keep myself at the highest level of productivity possible.

Communication is key

First, let me say that there is no secret method that I use to consistently maintain a high level of mileage. There is no magical group of people who treat me any differently than anyone else at Crete Carrier. However, how I treat them on a daily basis may work in my favor and increase my level of success.

The single most important thing any driver can do to maximize productivity is good communication. And that means developing a good rapport with your asset manager, your fleet manager and after-hours personnel. Communication skills based on mutual respect will foster an environment of trust and respect that can help you stand out with the people you rely on for support.

I maintain close contact with the people in operations day and night so they know:

  • When I will be empty, based on if I’m doing a drop and hook or a live load/unload.
  • How much time I will have available when I’m empty.
  • What I can do as far as mileage with my current and upcoming hours of availability.

By doing so, I am often able to be preplanned on my next load before I even arrive for my current delivery. This takes a lot of pressure off me, as well as operations personnel and planners, by giving them time to look for the best fit for my upcoming driving hours.

Take the Time to make a plan

If doing a live unload, or a 30min break after a drop and hook delivery, this means I will be able to plan out my next trip and be ready to roll as soon as I am empty or complete my 30min break. Time is the one resource we cannot have enough of, and there are major benefits to using it in the most productive and efficient way possible. Waiting until you are empty to relay this information only results in delays getting you assigned and moving on your next load.

If I am actively under a preplanned load, I will also ask for directions to the next shipper so I can plan my route while still being unloaded. Again, saving time that is our most precious resource.

Once assigned, I look at the overall time it will take me to deliver the load. If I can arrive early, I will inquire whether the load can deliver earlier than stated in the load message. If not, I will ask to set up a T-call en route to keep me productive. Again, keep the communication flowing. You won’t always get what is best for you, but if you don’t ask, you are not taking an active role in your own best interest. Don’t go along silently under the expectation that this will be done for you. Take responsibility, and try to negotiate what works best for you. But understand, we do have to meet the customers’ needs as well.

When I am heading to a customer, I may be getting low on hours and need to know how long I may be there for the loading/unloading process. Will I need parking? I’ll call and ask if they have space available or to recommend a nearby location to take my break. Knowing in advance allows me to plan my next move. Planning ahead reduces the chance of failure due to the unknown. Communication!!

Go the Extra Mile to increase your miles

If you really want to go the extra mile to increase your miles, you have to be willing to sacrifice at times. By sacrifice, I mean doing things like sleeping at customers overnight while waiting to deliver in the morning instead of at the truck stop 30 minutes down the road. You may need to be willing to do a reset in locations that have very little as far as facilities. You may spend it at a Walmart or some other place and sacrifice getting a shower. These may seem like little things, but they all add up over the weeks, months and year to put more miles and money in your pocket. As I have stated from the beginning, it all comes down to maintaining good communication with all parties involved in maximizing your success here at Crete Carrier.