Change is a constant in the trucking industry. From hours-of-service changes, the ELD mandate, and other proposed regulatory changes, this state of flux requires motor carriers to either rise to the challenge and improve or risk being left behind. Henry Ford once said, “If you always do what you always did, you always get what you always got.” Motor carriers cannot afford to adopt this mindset. Organizations either get better through continuous improvement efforts or get worse through stagnation as the industry continues to change around them.
The challenge facing motor carriers is how to successfully implement operational improvements. Changes may be made incrementally over time or all at once, depending on urgency, complexity, costs, and other factors. With either approach, here are five tips to help manage this process:
Seeking employee input helps leaders see barriers and solutions they may not have been aware of before. Asking for employee ideas also builds trust and support for initiatives because employees feel their voices have been heard.
Successful leaders keep their people pointed in the same direction by keeping them informed. Sharing progress on proposed or impending changes, how the changes will come about, who’s involved, and the reasoning behind decisions all help employees understand the change and alleviate fears.
Write It Down
Documenting a new process, policy, or procedure is the best way to avoid confusion and frustration in employees and customers. It also helps managers and supervisors communicate a consistent message.
Make Changes If It Makes Sense
Continuous improvement can certainly be good but not all the time, especially if it is done reactively, without considering all factors. A case in point: a driver is involved in a rear-end crash, so the company invests in expensive collision avoidance technology. This technology can be a great tool for drivers, but if the root cause of the driver’s distraction is constant phone calls from dispatch, then that money may be spent more wisely on distracted driving training for dispatchers.
Prioritize Opportunities For Improvement
Motor carriers must contend with change on a daily basis, and at times this can feel overwhelming. Manage these opportunities for improvement by keeping a prioritized list. Consider which to choose first, the low-hanging fruit or the big project.
Call to Action
Conduct a S.W.O.T. Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) to identify areas to improve
Create an employee survey to gather feedback on ways the company can improve
Develop a written policies and procedures manual for employees
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