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How to Prepare Your Fleet and Stay Organized During a Global Crisis


How to Prepare Your Fleet and Stay Organized During a Global Crisis

In times of global crisis, the world relies on the trucking industry to transport essential items across the country. From medical supplies to restocking the shelves at local grocery stores, truck drivers play an integral role in maintaining the supply chain. In order to keep these essential items moving during the COVID-19 crisis, the Department of Transportation has suspended most of the Hours of Service regulations for those trucks that are transporting these essential goods.

Commercial truck drivers have had their driving hours extended from 11 to 14 hours depending on the goods being carried. With so much going on and so many depending on trucking and freight transportation organizations during this global crisis, fleet managers and owners need to be extremely organized to handle current and future industry needs. With that in mind, here are a few ways in which you can keep track of your fleet during a time of heightened demand and uncertainty:

Communication is key
The visibility that essential telematics technology brings can be incredibly helpful. Being able to stay in constant communication with your drivers via messaging and dedicated contact forms—as well as knowing their locations at all times—allows fleet managers to make informed decisions. With things being so hectic right now, knowing where your assets are, who is available for the next load, who is nearest to the depots, and who has encountered longer detention times is critical in a time when efficiently maintaining your fleet on the road is more important than ever.

Most likely due to shelter-in-place orders reducing the traffic overall, many of the states experiencing the highest level of COVID-19 spread are seeing a reduction in travel times for drivers. According to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), freight trucks are clocking faster times overall in these areas, particularly in regularly congested areas. That being said, because of additional route changes, border regulations and detention delays, freight is taking much longer to transport. Having access to accurate telematics and open lines of communication with drivers will be key in planning and tracking routes.

Documentation should continue
While logs are not mandatory to be kept while under the Federal Emergency Declaration, continuing to make notes and annotate the daily log with the reason for non-compliance is a good practice. This will make sure that logs are current when the Emergency Declaration is lifted. It’s a good idea to integrate a route planner or add-on the service if it isn’t included by your telematics provider to facilitate the planning of loads and tasks. With so much on the fleet manager’s plate and the additional hours drivers are logging, any opportunity for automation should be embraced.

Driver safety
For all fleet managers, the safety of your drivers should be the top priority. The Department of Transportation Hours of Service regulations are there for a reason. The guidelines, of course, are there to make sure that drivers are not being overtaxed, reducing the possibility of accidents. Giving your team ample time to rest before taking the next load is imperative. And while it’s required that drivers receive at least 10 consecutive hours off if they let their company know they need immediate rest, they may be inclined to push themselves given the current situation, feeling a responsibility to their fleet manager and the community at large. Plus, with people practicing social distancing, it’s likely there will be an uptick in eCommerce purchases, adding additional strain to fleet capacity. A fleet tracking tool will allow managers to review driver’s time, how often they have completed a 14-hour shift, and allow for properly scheduled rest periods to avoid exhaustion and potential accidents.

Track maintenance
While drivers are putting in the extra miles, so are their rigs! Keeping track of oil changes, tire rotation and other regular maintenance items can keep your drivers and trucks safely on the road. While you may think a global crisis is not the time to stop for regular maintenance, these quick care items are much easier and more cost-effective to complete than larger complications they could cause going unaddressed. An oil change can help engines run more efficiently and reduce a fleet’s cost per mile. Taking time to examine tires could reveal a small leak or puncture which could lead to a popped tire on the road, leaving your driver stuck for hours on end or even cause them to lose control of the truck due to the blowout. Addressing these regular maintenance items will boost efficiency and save time in the long run.

Invest in add-ons
During times of global crisis, the supply chain can change at a moment’s notice. Add-ons such as a brokerage provider integration can help keep the lines of communication open with your customers and help you keep track of where the loads are and when they will arrive. With demand high, and lives on the line while carrying freight like medical supplies, these up-to-the-moment notices can be key in providing your team and customers with the proper support.

Driving demand
There’s no doubt about it – the trucking industry is a key player in combating this global crisis. Delivering everything from medical supplies, to food to other ecommerce purchases for those in quarantine, the country is demanding quite a bit from our fleets. By staying organized and using helpful telematics tools, fleet managers and owners will be able to meet this challenge with the knowledge they need to make smart decisions. Staying in constant communication with drivers and customers will also help manage expectations and make sure everyone is on the same page.


Marco Encinas, Senior Product Manager at Teletrac Navman, plans the product strategy and roadmap releases globally for all of Teletrac Navman’s software platforms. He gains industry insights from customers, integration partners and R&D to improve current Teletrac Navman product features and tools, and drive development of new product requirements. Before joining the Teletrac Navman team, Marco planned product strategy and roadmap releases for both commercial and consumer product lines, developed sales training tools and product curriculum at Magellan GPS and Mitsubishi.

small business

How to Lead a Small Business Through Coronavirus and other Troubling Times

With the coronavirus shaking up the economy and upending the day-to-day operations of businesses, it’s perhaps more critical than ever that corporate CEOs and small business owners summon up all their leadership skills.

Employees who usually are just down the hall are now working remotely from home. The supply chain is disrupted. And customers and clients may be changing their spending habits.

But, as important as business savvy and financial expertise can be in riding out all the economic effects of the pandemic, other traits also come into play and maybe just as essential, says Marsha Friedman, a successful entrepreneur who still leads a business she launched three decades ago.

“One of those essential traits is courage,” says Friedman, founder and president of News & Experts (, a national PR firm. “Thirty years ago when I started my company, I probably would never have said it takes courage to lead a small business, but without it, I assure you, you’ll fail.”

Friedman, who is also the ForbesBooks author of Gaining the Publicity Edge: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Growing Your Brand Through National Media Coverage, understands this first-hand. Her firm, like many businesses, endured tough economic times after the 9/11 attacks. Revenue dropped and bankruptcy loomed as a real possibility.

“I had to figure out how to turn my company around,” she says. “It took courage, endurance, and perseverance, but I knew I could not go back, so I had no choice but to go forward.”

Courage is just one of what Friedman calls the 5 C’s for building and maintaining a successful business through good times and bad.

“They’re the guiding principles I’ve learned through the ups and downs and all the mistakes,” she says. “They can work during the difficulties we now face as well.”

In addition to courage, Friedman’s other C’s are:

Caring. First, care enough about yourself and your dreams to believe you can achieve success even in these daunting times, Friedman says. “Just as important is caring about your staff and creating a positive work environment for them despite the troubles we face,” she says. “Be supportive of them throughout this situation that is bringing additional stress to everyone’s lives.” Finally, a good business leader cares about customers, Friedman says. Be willing to listen to their concerns, take responsibility for mistakes, and correct them.

Confidence. Most people have faced and overcome challenges in life. The confidence that allowed them to prevail over those challenges needs to be brought into play in business more than ever right now, Friedman says. “Believing you can reach for and achieve your short-term and long-term goals is essential to getting you there,” she says. “Maintaining your confidence is important to get through these unsettling times.”

Competence. It’s critical to stay up on the disruptions in your industry that the coronavirus is causing. “If you’re forced to downsize, this may be the time to reorganize and tap into the skills and abilities of your remaining team that are different from the roles you hired them for,” Friedman says. “That’s why it’s always important to have hired competent people who you can rely on no matter what the situation.”

Commitment. Stay dedicated to your goals no matter how difficult that becomes during these challenging conditions. Friedman says there may be times when this will be not only difficult but downright painful. That was the case for her during those tough times after the 9/11 attacks. “I had to make drastic cuts, including letting go of beloved employees,” she says. “But I never wanted to suffer a failure, and so I stayed committed to the goal and succeeded in pulling the business through those rough times.” 

“As we face the current challenges, you have to stay the course, remain positive and show caring for everyone related to your business,” Friedman says. “Most of all, no matter how dismal it seems right now, you need to have confidence that you are going to get through it.”


Marsha Friedman, ForbesBooks author of Gaining the Publicity Edge: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Growing Your Brand Through National Media Coverage, is a successful entrepreneur and public relations expert with nearly 30 years’ experience developing publicity strategies for celebrities, corporations and professionals in the field of business, health and finance.  Using the proprietary system she created as founder and President of News & Experts (, an award-winning national public relations agency, her firm secures thousands of top-tier media placements annually for its clients.  The former senior vice president for marketing at the American Economic Council, Marsha is a sought-after advisor on PR issues and strategies, who shares her knowledge both as a popular speaker around the country and in her Amazon best-selling book, Celebritize Yourself.