At Transport America, the choice to listen to and involve its drivers has helped the company drive a significant increase in their fuel purchasing patterns.
Driver input, combined with fuel optimization software, has increased the company’s compliance score from 30% in June 2018, to 74%, where it currently stands.
“Transport America has always felt like a family to me,” says Giangiacomo, “so we did what families do when you need to work something out and make it better for everyone: we listened carefully and figured it out together.”
As part of this discussion, management and drivers realized that if the company can save on fuel costs through better purchases, it can pass those savings on to both its customers, in the form of more competitive hauling fees, and its drivers, through better pay.
For most, if not all, trucking companies, fuel is the second largest expense. Since fuel costs are constantly changing and vary from stop to stop and state to state, it is imperative that trucking companies maintain a watchful eye on the best locations throughout the United States and Canada for drivers to purchase fuel.
Utilizing a fuel optimizer called Fuel&Route®, Transport America sought out the input of their drivers to provide their recommendations for the truck stops that offer the best amenities as well as low fuel prices identified by the software.
“We not only sought out information on the best prices for fuel,” says Giangiacomo, “we asked our drivers about the quality of the truck stops that we use. Are they easy to get in and out of? Do they have plenty of parking, and offer the services that our drivers need to make life on the road comfortable?”
Based on this input, the Fuel&Route software selects the best truck stops for Transport America drivers.
Fuel solutions are automatically sent to drivers when dispatched. The system alerts them where to get their fuel based on best price and best services that are within their fuel level range.
“In addition, Fuel&Route is linked to a truck’s GPS system. Transport America customized the software to allow drivers to get new fuel solutions without having to notify dispatch as conditions and routes change while still keeping them pointed to good truck stops with low cost fuel.
Giangiacomo’s commitment to fuel optimization and improved road life for drivers stems from his long history in truck driving. Giangiacomo has been a part of the industry since 1992, starting as a driver himself.
With an understanding of how drivers think about fuel and fuel stops, Giangiacomo uses his experience and expertise to develop a fueling program that changes trucking.
Using weekly fuel compliance reports, fleet leaders and drivers can track their progress towards hitting their fuel goals. For his part, Giangiacomo emphasizes the importance of listening to the company’s drivers as part of these conversations to increase driver participation.
“While other companies might just track fuel prices,” he says, “we’re taking a slightly different approach to make it right for both us and our drivers.”
In turn, these changes have forced fuel retailers to improve their pricing and make needed changes to their fuel stops due to the decrease in business when companies such as Transport America remove them from its preferred list of fueling stops.
“Transport America’s goal is to change the trucking industry for the better and enhance the experience for our drivers,” Giangiacomo says. “It is a long process with many required changes, but our drivers are up for the challenge and will continue to refine and adjust how we operate to truly change the industry.”