It is no secret that communication is vital for carrying out a trucking business operation successfully. Even when it comes to managing a productive fleet, communication is regarded as essential. Yet, trucking companies can face many communication pain points. Using the right fleet technology, fleet managers can avoid communication problems.
Fleet managers can experience a myriad of communication problems ranging from poor leadership to language barriers to technology issues. These problems can make it extremely difficult for people to get their message across.
If communication breakdowns are not addressed on time, they can become the norm, and that’s not good news for the trucking company. On the contrary, trucking companies with effective communication can witness an increase in productivity of up to 25 percent.
This means it is not merely about eliminating communication breakdowns; good communication in an organization can improve its bottom line.
This blog post will explain communication breakdowns, why they occur, and how fleet technology can help fleet managers avoid them. Let’s dive in.
What is a Communication Breakdown?
A communication breakdown is when two parties fail to exchange information effectively when they need to, and it can occur on various levels and within different departments in an organization.
As per the research conducted by The Economist Intelligence, 86 percent of senior executives, managers, and junior employees experience communication breakdowns, resulting in decreased productivity, missed project deadlines, and unexecuted sales.
Communication breakdown is seen as an unwanted situation that impedes the work processes and largely affects business efficiency.
Why Do Communication Breakdowns Occur?
There are various reasons why communication breakdowns occur. A few of them have been discussed below.
No Communication Plan
When no communication plan is set in place, employees, especially drivers, have to guess or use their best judgment, leading to communicating with the wrong person or passing on the wrong message to the wrong person.
This can put a strain on business relationships and give rise to workflow conflicts. It is recommended for fleet managers to have a detailed communication plan so employees, managers, stakeholders, and customers know how, when, and where they can communicate with one another.
Poorly Defined Roles
When employees have poorly defined roles in the company, they would not know whom to contact in which situation. This can cause severe confusion, delay connecting with the right person, and delay the work process.
Clear roles are significant for ensuring employees know whom they can connect with and for what purpose. By having defined roles, employees understand their responsibilities as well as those of their colleagues.
It goes without saying that the language barrier can be a huge roadblock to effective communication. It is not easy to know where your employees come from and what language they speak. It is important to know about them, especially what their native language is and what challenges they might face.
When fleet managers are not aware of the language barrier that exists between them and their drivers, the situation is bound to spiral out of control. Hence, it is vital to get complete information about your employees, their backgrounds, and the language they speak to communicate.
Lack of Technology
When technology is misused, it can cause more hindrance than help. From using fleet management tools that are not user-friendly to low bandwidth, these are some of the problems fleet managers are likely to experience with technology.
When implementing new fleet technology, it is important to ensure it fits your team’s and company’s requirements. The interface of the fleet technology should be user-friendly, easy to understand, and have adequate features to make your job easier.
For example, the fleet technology that you will be implementing should have easy navigation, a one- stop solution, and make you quickly access important data, including vehicle location and driver behavior.
How Can Fleet Managers Avoid Communication Breakdowns?
Fleet managers play a crucial role in running the operations of the fleet successfully. They are like the glue that keeps the fleet together. Using the right fleet technology, they can overcome communication pain points.
Below, we have outlined some ways a fleet manager can avoid communication breakdowns.
Provide Driver Training
When fleet managers implement fleet technology, they need to train the drivers to use it properly. A well-trained driver would know what to do and how to handle the situation if any communication breakdown occurs.
For instance, if a trucking company is using LoadStop—cloud-based TMS software, the fleet managers would have to train the drivers to use its driver app. When drivers know how to use the app, they can effectively communicate with the dispatchers and update them about the delivery status.
Pay Attention to the Team
Fleet managers should pay attention to the team. They need to look out for signs such as frustrated or troubled drivers, missed appointments or deliveries, and bottlenecks that could possibly indicate a major problem.
If something is wrong or feels incomplete, you need to provide support and feedback as a fleet manager. Take as much time as you need to form your communication strategy by ensuring your employees know all about the procedures and processes, their responsibilities, and how information is communicated.
Good internal communication is the backbone of a successful team. The more information is shared within the organization, the easier it is for employees to stay in the loop. This reduces misinformation and minimizes gossip in the workplace.
Through effective internal communication, fleet managers can ensure that the entire staff knows about their responsibilities, their vehicles, and how they are supposed to act in a specific situation.
For example, with the help of the LoadStop driver app, drivers and managers do not need to interact with each other continuously to update the status of the trip. Drivers can easily update the trip status on the app, and managers can see it in real-time.
Implement a Communication Plan
It is the responsibility of the fleet manager to devise and implement a proper communication plan. A communication plan should define how, when, and whom an employee should reach out to when needed.
Defining a proper communication plan consists of several steps such as:
- Define roles
- Establish a training program
- Create training content
- Use the right technology
Implement the Right Technology
Implement the Right Fleet Technology Last but not least, fleet managers should implement the right fleet technology to avoid communication breakdowns. Numerous fleet management software is available out there, but you need to choose the one that allows you to operate your fleet from a single window.
Fleet management software plays an important link between the managers and drivers. Drivers should be able to communicate about the issues quickly and efficiently to the managers. They should be able to update the shipment status to the dispatchers quickly.
Enterprise TMS can help fleet managers dispatch, source, and track shipments in real-time. On the other hand, GPS fleet tracking software allows fleet managers to track drivers and notify them about things, such as poor traffic, road accidents, or route changes in real-time.
With proper route planning, fleet managers can make a last-minute route change or change the delivery address, and the driver will be informed immediately. The route can be re-optimized to save the order later.
What’s more, telematics allows managers and drivers to use the applications and tools to communicate remotely. This improves fleet efficiency and prevents miscommunication between fleet managers, drivers, and customers.
About the Author: Sara Naveed
Sara Naveed is a creative and digital content writer who uses her creative skills to develop and edit professional web content. Being a writer has always been her dream. She earnestly hopes people appreciate her writing—an asset she deeply covets. Using her 8+ years of working experience, she writes for trucking industry experts who are always looking for better technological solutions to their problems.