A recent article in Fleet Management Weekly noted that when the COVID‑19 pandemic hit the United States, many fleets were riding the high of an economic boom. The fall from full‑time employment and growing fleets to lengthy lockdowns presented fleet management with new challenges. The ebb and flow of restrictions across the country means that safety is still a fundamental concern — but in business, productivity matters too.
Fleet Management Challenges
Throughout the various stages of the COVID‑19 pandemic, fleet management has found new challenges and solutions for keeping drivers safe. Of course, the first line of defense is following advice from health experts: Practice social distancing. Wash hands. Wear a mask.
One of the most challenging essential worker safety measures for fleet management is social distancing. The absence of face‑to‑face conversations complicates several aspects of the workday:
- Asset tracking
- Employee safety
How Two‑Way Radios Keep Fleet Drivers Safe and Productive
Clear, constant communication is key to keeping drivers safe at all times. Communication is essential during the COVID‑19 pandemic, but it is also necessary for following protocols set forth by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
PTT: safe and legal. Two‑way radios outfitted with Push‑to‑Talk (PTT) technology enable drivers to report from the road. They can report or advise on delivery status, road closures, weather conditions, traffic jams, and more. Unlike cell phones, PTT is safe and legal in all states. Equipping your drivers with this type of communication means they can keep their eyes on the road without compromising communication to dispatch.
Constant communication enables contact tracing. Contact tracing is essential to slowing the spread of COVID‑19. Two‑way radios speed up the process. Suppose dispatch gets a call that an employee or customer has tested positive for COVID‑19. In that case, radios allow instant PTT communication to re‑route drivers and avoid exposure. Enabling “track and trace” also facilitates risk disclosure to any patrons who might have been exposed. Track‑and‑trace is good for safety and good for business.
Stay productive with GPS tracking. Fleet managers know that it’s essential to know the location of the fleet. This year, budgets and timelines are tighter. GPS tracking eliminates uncertainty so that you can streamline drop‑offs, pick‑ups, repairs, and incident reporting. When you can communicate with your drivers in real‑time, you can shave off minutes each day. Over the long term, these minutes add up to significant time and financial savings.
The Future of Fleet Management
As your company navigates the pandemic and the resulting “new normal,” remember that upgrades you make out of necessity today will still serve your staff tomorrow. Fleet management will need to continue finding creative solutions to keeping costs down and production levels high.
Think of your two‑way radios in the same vein as your trucks themselves: essential to continued business. Communication is not the only key to safety and efficiency. It is also key to fostering a company atmosphere that values community and collaboration. In these times, company loyalty matters. Equip your drivers with what they need to feel safe and connected.
Please remember to check all advice against expert information sources and government orders:
- Your state government's website, such as the Illinois Department of Public Health
- Your local government's website, such as the City of Chicago