It is no secret that flatbed truck drivers are not all that thrilled about having to do work that doesn’t keep the wheels turning. They are not getting paid for the time it takes to load a trailer, secure the load, and cover it with tarps. They only get paid while the truck is in motion. So it should be obvious that efficiency outside the truck is key to making money.
Tips to Increase Efficiency Outside the Truck
The most efficient truck drivers limit the amount of time they spend doing things other than driving. The more efficient a trucker is, the more miles he or she can cover in a given day. It is with this in mind that we want to offer a few suggestions for increasing efficiency outside the flatbed truck.
1. Use Better Tools
We are fortunate enough to be part of an industry that continues to evolve. We are seeing all sorts of new tools entering the market every year, including the revolutionary ratchet winch bar. This tool takes the basic concept of a winch bar and makes it even better by combining it with the ratchet.
A ratchet winch bar works just like a ratchet wrench. Pulling up resets the bar; pushing down creates the force necessary to tension winch straps. Just reverse the action to use the ratchet winch to safely release straps on the other end.
2. Learn How to Use Your Tools
All the best tools offer only limited efficiency if you don’t know how to use them. So with every new tool you buy, make the effort to learn the best ways to use it. Read owner’s manuals; watch videos online; ask other drivers about their own experiences.
A good example of this principle is using the winch winder. The winch winder is a tool that reduces the time it takes to wind your winch straps after unloading. Using it is a lot faster than manual winding. But beware, you can create bigger problems for yourself if you’re careless. There is a right and wrong way to use the winch winder. Use it the right way and you will also increase your efficiency.
3. Think Things Through
One of the worst things a truck driver can do is jump right into securing a load without thinking things through. Time tends to be a major factor which could make a driver attack cargo control without giving ample thought to what he/she is doing.
It takes a minute or two to logically think through the best way to secure and cover a load. The few minutes it takes could save you a lot more time by giving you the opportunity to plan what it is you’re going to do before you start doing it.
4. Eliminate Unnecessary Steps
Last but not least, eliminate every unnecessary step from your work. Whether you are working with a ratchet winch bar, a winch winder, or heavy chains, there is no point in creating extra work for yourself. Let’s use tarping as an example.
As long as the conditions are right, don’t unfold a tarp on the ground. Put it on top of the load and unfold it as you go. This eliminates the unnecessary step of having to haul the tarp over the load after unfolding in on the ground. Unfolding from the top of the load is far more efficient.
Increased efficiency reduces the amount of time a trucker spends outside of the flatbed truck. It should be every truck driver’s goal to be as efficient as possible, so that more time is spent driving.