By Mary Motzko | June 24th, 2021 | | 0 Comments

If you were given $1,440 to spend each day, what would you spend it on? Before you start thinking of items – there’s a catch. Whatever you don’t spend, you have to give back. You cannot save any money or roll it over to tomorrow.

Would you spend every dollar, or would you waste it?

You would spend it, right?

The $1,440 represents the number of minutes in each day. As RTA CEO Josh Turley’s mentor, Fred Kroin, told him, each day you are given 1,440 minutes. It’s up to you how to use them – but if you waste them, you can’t get them back.

At your fleet operation, you have a finite amount of time and money. To be successful, you cannot afford to waste either of these.

That is why we named Resource Efficiency as our third pillar of fleet success. Turley, former trucking executive Jeff Jenkins and Fleet Hall of Famer Steve Saltzgiver defined Resource Efficiency as “making the best use of your two finite resources – time and money,” in the fourth episode of our podcast, “The Fleet Success Show.”

As the trio discussed in the podcast, no fleet operation has an unlimited amount of time and money. If we did, you could buy as many vehicles as you need, or hire as many technicians as you wanted to make sure all of the work orders got done on time.

However, this is not the reality we all live in. If you’re like most fleet managers, you are always struggling to find more money in your budget, or time in your day. Because of this, you need to learn how to get your job done with the resources you have.

You can do this by becoming more efficient.

Listen to our podcast to learn how Six Sigma tools and techniques can make your fleet operation more efficient.

In the podcast, Turley discussed a study his grandfather, RTA’s founder Ron Turley, did at UPS. Their fleet operation needed about 12 hours to rebuild an engine on their UPS trucks. Ron wanted to figure out how they could become more efficient to trim that time.

One of the things he did was observe people working in the shop. He watched a technician work on a truck and watched for inefficiencies. Some things he noticed were he kept forgetting parts, and then each time he walked back to the parts room someone stopped him to talk. He also saw that people kept taking his air hose, so he’d have to spend time trying to locate another one. The wash bay was around the corner, so he needed to take time to walk over to it.

He used these observations to look for more efficient processes. What steps could they cut out to save time? How could they rearrange the shop to make key items and locations closer to the technicians?

Making small changes and eliminating inefficiencies let Ron save UPS $100 million.

Jenkins experienced a similar situation when he was CEO of a trucking company. When he entered the company, they were losing around $5 million a year. After a deep dive into the P&L statement the company was overpaying vendors, lacking operational efficiencies, over staffed, underpaid for their services, and through the roof maintenance costs. Within three years of taking over they turned it around $6 million annually just by getting back to the basics and being more efficient with what they were doing.

What does running the 100-yard dash have to do with making your fleet more efficient? Listen to the full podcast to find out.

So, the $1 million (or $100 million) question – how do you make your fleet more efficient?

In the podcast, Saltzgiver discussed how he used process maps to make his fleets more efficient. If he thought some jobs were taking longer than necessary, he validated his hunch by watching the technicians work, like what Ron did. This allowed him to ask them questions about why they were doing certain things and help them perform inspections in the right order to eliminate wasted time. Then he used flow charts to map out the processes and see what steps he could cut out.

You can also use new technology to make your fleet more efficient. Technology, like fleet management software, can help eliminate time-consuming tasks by letting you automate information and processes. This can include automatically getting your fuel information through an electronic fuel interface, or easily tracking your parts inventory through the software instead of having to go to the parts room to check how many parts you have in stock. It can also eliminate paper forms that need to be manually entered into the system and then filed away.

Making positive changes at your fleet operation, both big and small, can help you save valuable amounts of time and money, and prevent you from wasting any of the 1,440 minutes you have each day.

To learn more tips for making your fleet more efficient, listen to the full episode of our podcast, “The Fleet Success Show.”