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Your Business Could Minimise Waste and Increase Profits By Effectively Managing Driver Behaviour

David Nickerson Founder of Drivernetics

David Nickerson
Founder of Drivernetics

Hello, I’m David Nickerson. I run Drivernetics, the independent driver behaviour specialist business.

The fact that you’ve found this website suggests that the behaviour of the drivers in your business and the management of their behaviour and performance are topics that concern you.

And rightly so—managing driver behaviour is an issue that every business owner, financial director or fleet manager needs to consider. Here’s why…

Your drivers’ behaviour is probably having much more of a detrimental effect than you even begin to realise. And it’s likely that most of what you spend on trying to rectify the situation—if you do anything at all—is being wasted.

It doesn’t have to be like that. Effective management* of driver behaviour can not only stem the losses but also make a positive contribution to the success and profitability of the business.

*I’m using the term management in the broadest sense of being in control of an issue, not just to indicate the practices of business managers.

Driver behaviour

Let’s be clear on what we mean by driver behaviour. We’re not just talking about the knowledge and abilities that drivers possess (although deficiencies in those areas may be part of the problem). Those elements determine their potential performance. Rather, we’re defining what drivers actually do, day to day.

Often drivers have adequate knowledge and skills to perform effectively but various factors generate dysfunctional behaviour—behaviour that leads to the losses that result from unsafe, careless or uneconomical driving, and that can have all sorts of other detrimental effects in the business.

Is this normal?

In some businesses those losses are just accepted as normal. The situation is regarded as inevitable, a fact of life, just the way it is. But while such losses may be normal—in the sense of typical—they’re certainly not inevitable and they’re definitely avoidable.

In other businesses the losses are regarded as unacceptable and so attempts are made to rectify the situation. The problem is that these attempts are often misguided and ineffective. Then, not only do these businesses suffer the losses that arise from the initial behaviour but they also waste resources on their failed or weak attempts to change that behaviour.

Why does this happen?

This undesirable situation of compounded losses comes about because few business managers have knowledge and expertise in the field of driver behaviour. Lacking understanding of the real issues, they make poorly-informed purchasing decisions and implement “solutions” that are unnecessary, ineffective or wrongly targeted. Basically, they end up accepting whatever their service providers want to supply—a case of the tail wagging the dog.

The costs

In the current economic climate and with all the rising costs of operating a fleet, no business can afford to erode its profits by doing nothing. Or by doing the wrong things.

And that’s just the financial loss; human costs are another matter. Nobody wants to see employees get hurt and, if they do, their absence causes disruption in the business, considerable unplanned expense and, quite likely, loss of revenue.

Perhaps the main reason that businesses don’t demand better performance from their drivers—and from the suppliers of “fixes”—is that they vastly underestimate the true costs of dysfunctional driver behaviour. The harder-to-recognise, consequential costs far outweigh the more obvious, direct costs.

Are you being served?

The human and financial cost argument provides the justification for the entire “at-work road risk” service industry. However, this is an industry that doesn’t really help you in managing driver behaviour.

It’s an industry in which everyone is selling so-called solutions when what their customers really want is to understand the problem. Suppliers’ advice on managing driver behaviour is, understandably, biased towards what they have to sell (most likely training, software or telematics). Their focus is on tactics rather than strategy.

A knowledgeable driver behaviour specialist could analyse the situation within your business, formulate a strategy for dealing with it and ensure that tactical interventions contribute to your strategic objectives. Without that, either you do nothing or you’re being lead by suppliers.

So what’s involved in effectively managing driver behaviour?

These are just a few of the key questions (not an exhaustive list) that every business needs to ask:

  • What effect—quantitative and qualitative—is driver behaviour having on the business?
  • What standard of driving performance may we reasonably expect from our staff?
  • Have we communicated that standard, and how effectively?
  • Which of our drivers are currently performing below that acceptable standard?
  • Are those drivers incapable of performing to the required standard and, if so, in what specific competencies are they deficient?
  • If drivers are capable of performing to the required standard but don’t do so, why do they fall short in their actual behaviour?
  • What incentives or disincentives to behave appropriately currently exist, and how can we increase the former and eliminate the latter?
  • How effective are any current policies and interventions we have in place for the management of driver behaviour?
  • What sort of policies and interventions could be more effective or as effective but cheaper?
  • What sort of interventions work best for whom—and which don’t work at all or may even be detrimental?
  • How can we deal with suppliers so that we get the optimum interventions tailored to individual drivers’ and the organisation’s needs, rather than what suppliers want to sell us?
  • How should we deal with any remaining dysfunctional driver behaviour?
  • How can we continue to manage driver behaviour over the long-term to maintain improvements?

For a comprehensive overview and discussion of the issue, please download my free 45-page Special Report How to Manage Driver Behaviour and Not Get Taken for a Ride: Costs, Causes, Dead Ends and What Works.

The bad news and the good news

The bad news is that you probably don’t have anyone within your organisation with appropriate knowledge, experience and skills to provide the answers to most of these questions.

The good news is that there’s an ever-growing body of empirical knowledge related to driver behaviour. The problem is that there’s a massive gap between that knowledge and what most businesses actually do about the issue.

By understanding and applying the science of driver behaviour and proven methods of behavioural change (rather than working on unproven assumptions, habit, tradition or folklore), Drivernetics can help you to bridge that gap.

How Drivernetics can help you

Drivernetics draws on extensive practical experience and academic grounding in driver behaviour and education to help businesses at both strategic and tactical levels so that initiatives, policies and interventions work together to maximum effect.

  • You’ll gain a real understanding of driver behaviour, of what works in changing behaviour, what works most effectively and efficiently, and what doesn’t work at all.
  • You’ll be able to deal with suppliers from a controlling position.
  • You’ll be able to sift the evidence from the hype and purchase only what will work best in your situation.
  • And you’ll be able to manage the whole process.

Please explore this website to see the variety of ways in which Drivernetics can help you, including:

And if you’re curious to know what makes Drivernetics different from everyone else, I’ve laid it out here.