by Tim Brady

tim bradyKnowledge is the bedrock of every success­ful business, and trucking’s no different. Success can be summed up by your profitability: Is it where it should be based on your revenue and the market(s) you serve?

Improving your knowledge in different aspects of your business—from communications, to accounting and finance, to personnel management and customer service—is part of what brings your company success, and success equals profits.

A business owner or manager should always be on the lookout for seminars and workshops to continue his education and that of his employees. What’s the biggest challenge for the small motor carrier in getting these educational profit-boosters? It’s having both the time and dollars to invest in an educational program.

You’re probably thinking that if your employees are taking a course or attending a seminar, then they are away from the business and not generating the revenue to pay the bills, right? But if you and your company aren’t keeping up with the newest methods and skills, or don’t know the tried-and-true business methods that have guided successful businesses for centuries, are you investing your time and money in the wisest and most beneficial way possible?

We all know the underlying problem, of course. Truckers need a better understanding of running their trucks as a business. This will then improve your motor carrier’s bottom line. But how do we solve the problem of educating truckers?

First, you need to determine what type of educational offering is needed. For example:
  • The program must be inviting and convenient to the trucker.
  • The trucker must see the need for the workshop or seminar.
  • The program must produce positive results for both the trucker and the motor carrier.
  • The program needs to be ongoing so truckers keep up with the latest business information and knowledge.
  • The program must be rewarding both financially and personally to the trucker.
Second, you need to determine which courses and subjects would be most useful to your employees. What do your truckers know? What are they lacking in business management knowledge? Don’t teach them something they already know or they’ll quickly lose interest and leave the class.

To identify this information, you’ll need to do the following:
  • Survey your truckers to see what they understand and what kind of information they feel would meet their needs.
  • Create business-aptitude surveys for your drivers to determine their level of knowledge in business management.
  • Develop a trucking business training curriculum that meets those needs as outlined by survey results.
  • Develop a regular schedule of courses and classes designed as 24/7, remote, mobile-learning opportunities for your drivers.
  • Make sure this educational program is simple for both the trucker and your carrier to administrate. Technology is great, but if the learning curve is too complicated, very few drivers will participate. Design the program in a technology with which truckers are already proficient and comfortable.
  • Develop a means to measure completion and comprehension of each course.
  • Create a rewards program. Upon completion of each course, the trucker moves closer to his career goals and increasing his income.
How does all of this improve the bottom line of your trucking company? Think back to all that you have learned throughout your business education, i.e., understanding cash flow, knowing for the first time that reducing a specific cost is all it would take to improve your profit, and discovering how managing your cash flow correctly could reduce costs and improve the amount of revenue available to run your operation.

Now, imagine how these could change the way a trucker approaches his career. How would your company’s cash flow improve if just 10% of your lease operators no longer needed to take advances? Picture your drivers managing their trucks like a business and not just a job—setting funds back for emergencies and anticipated expenses, not robbing their business to cover personal expenses or calling you for additional advances.

Truckers need to know that it doesn’t always require a rate increase to increase their bottom line; it’s how they manage the revenue and expenses they already have. By providing an educational opportunity, you’ll gain allies within your operation, those who’ll start understanding why you do business the way you do.

Contact Tim Brady at tbrady@write­uptheroad.com or call 731-749-8567. Join Brady in the Trucking Business Community at www.truckersu.com.