Innovation on a Budget: A Practical Guide for Fleet Owners

We’ve all heard about the latest trends… bots, self-driving trucks, the internet of things. But just how practical and affordable are these solutions for fleet owners in South Africa?

What many road freight business owners don’t realise is that, sometimes, small tweaks to the way a road freight business operates can make a significant impact or give you an edge over competitors.

  • Be smart about using phones. There’s no doubt about it – smartphones have changed the way we communicate forever. Why not request your drivers to share their live location with you? That way , you will be able to check whether they have arrived at their destination, are still en route, or in a possible predicament. Additionally, consider asking drivers to send you photos via WhatsApp when on-/off-loading, so that you can track the time a consignment was delivered or whether there was damage to goods, etc.
  • Put yourself in your customers’ shoes to alleviate frustrations. Why is it, that despite your best intentions, your customers will still express frustration with the way a transaction was handled?

    It could be that the goods arrived damaged (look at improving the manner in which the goods are packed), at an inconvenient time (ask for – and honour the time period that a customer would like a delivery to arrive as far as possible), lack of communication with regards to delivery (manage expectations – even if it means telling a customer that a delivery will be delayed).

    Asking existing customers for feedback – and using that feedback to improve your services – will most likely result in more loyal customers.
  • Don’t assume, make fact-based decisions. If you do have access to some sort of fleet management system, ensure that you make the most of the insights that can be generated from this data.

    For example, if your drivers visit the same pick-up points or facilities regularly, try measuring the average time it takes from the time the driver arrives until the freight is loaded, and the truck back on the road. Compare this time between different facilities. You may identify that some drivers take significantly longer on average at the same facility than other drivers, or that waiting times and loading speed at some facilities are significantly worse than others.

    Having this data at your disposal can assist you to better plan driving schedules but might also influence your decision on which contracts to accept or to adjust your pricing for specific shippers.

The points above all relate to either using technology you already have, or just gaining insight into how your customers really view your products and services. Each business is unique – at MiWay, we'd be happy to help you find the right business insurance cover for your business!


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