Getting back on track for Truckers after the pandemic

As things get back to normal post-pandemic, there are a lot of Truckers and small trucking businesses that are taking strain from possibly long periods of not working. Sure, we had plenty of Trucking heroes, who continued to deliver emergency good throughout the pandemic, but it was not the case for every business.

Some smaller trucking companies, like one man carriers, now have to struggle to get back on track, and some individual Drivers will have had to take pay cuts. This article deals with both and talks about getting back on track for Truckers after the pandemic.

Getting your small business back on track

Of course, every business is different and will have been affected differently, but here, in essence, are the three phases of getting back on track after the storm has passed…

Review the damage

Do some damage control. Check what losses you have incurred, income, staff, clients etc. Be thorough and make sure your financials are right up to date, so you get an accurate report.

Go back to your original business plan. Did you have any contingency built in to help you through such times? Most businesses are encouraged to have at least a few months income available for just such times.

Redirect your operations

Look into whether you need to get some financial assistance. There has been quite a lot available during this period, and this article may help – relief and advice for SMMEs weathering the storm. Also, decide on where you will go from here from a structural point of view.

Can you change the operation to be more effective on less budget? There have been the advantages of lowered petrol prices and some businesses selling stock very cheaply. Can you benefit from these and how?

Reset your goals for the future

Now reset your goals and create a definite timeline for when you expect to be back to where you were pre-pandemic. Stick with your new budgets and plans and ensure you build in some contingency plans for any future upheavals.

4 point plan for Drivers who took pay cuts

For those Drivers who, due to the difficulties their companies are facing, have taken pay cuts, here is a simple 4 point plan to help deal with it and soften the blow…

  1. Re-adjust your budget – prioritising your most important expenses and cutting non-essentials
  2. Negotiate with creditors. Almost all creditors are extremely flexible at this time and will allow a more extended period to pay
  3. Look into other sources of income – i.e. talk to your family and look around for interest-free or low-interest loans
  4. Look into possible other ways to earn money – is their part-time work you can do – or maybe a home-based product you could sell at a market in your spare time?

FAW will be with you

Whatever your circumstances, FAW, with advice pieces like this one, our Total Quality Care initiatives and assistance and an impressive range of new and used vehicles, many offering the lowest cost per ton available anywhere, will always be there for you.

Contact us, or find a dealership near you for all the advice you will need on your next purchase of any of South Africa’s finest Freight carriers, Truck tractors, Tippers and Mixers. Like every other dark cloud, even COVID-19 will eventually pass and given time and the high resilience always shown by our people; we will get back on track – so stay positive and stay safe!

Into phase 3 – what now for Truckers?

Our recent articles have mostly focused on the Truckers who have continued to work during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic – those superheroes who have potentially risked life and limb to keep emergency supplies going.

What many people don’t realise is that there have been numerous companies in all areas of the trucking industry that have suffered a very difficult time through this lockdown. Not all companies deal with emergency supplies, and the financial toll on the trucking industry has been significant.

Some of the hard facts

An interesting IOL business report spoke about the devastating effect of the pandemic on the industry and “The effects of the economic decay are now becoming visible, as cracks in the economy start to show,” said Gavin Kelly, the chief executive of the Road Freight Association (RFA).

As far back as the end of April, when the report was released, it was said that “The results of the RFA’s recent Lockdown Survey indicated that the vast majority of trucking companies were already in a critical phase where they did not see themselves existing past the end of April in the event that the existing limitations were extended.  Many institutions have noted that it will take between one to three weeks to get back to reasonable efficiencies – some even longer,” said Kelly.

As we all know, we only went to phase three at the beginning of June, so who knows how great the financial toll has really been. Truckers and the trucking industry are tough nuts to crack though, as has been revealed in the tremendous spirit they had exhibited in continuing to deliver emergency supplies when most of the population were firmly locked down. So we are ready now to really start getting back to business.

Some words of caution

Just a few words of advice though for all those Drivers who will be back on the road now. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security; all health safety precautions still need to be observed rigidly. Many believe we are nowhere near the peak of the contamination cycle and will only reach it in July or even later. So these are the precautions required as per the regulations in phase 3 – and a couple more that we advise.

  • Wear a mask at all times in public and maintain social distancing from all you meet outside your own home. This is especially critical if you are paired with another Driver.
  • Use high alcohol (Min 70%) base spray to continuously spray the cabin of your vehicle and anything you carry and touch in the course of the day – including the packaging of fast foods or drinks you buy. (Avoid eating or drinking the alcohol spay though!)
  • Continuously use hand sanitiser and wash your hands for a minimum of 20sec with soap and water – and immediately remove your clothes and have a shower when returning home if possible.
  • Most importantly, don’t even think of reporting for work if you feel sick, particularly with flu-like symptoms. Stay at home, isolate and if it gets worse, then call the emergency hotline number – 0800 029 999 – to arrange to get tested. 

In a Positive Light

As one of the leading truck manufacturers and key role players in the trucking industry, FAW has also had to take our knocks, but can only say we salute all those truckers who have kept the flag flying in this critical time and congratulate everyone who is now back to work.

We have for many years been building a wide range of great quality freight carriers, truck tractors, tippers and mixers in South Africa for Africans and we won’t stop now. If you are ready to hit the trail again then visit our website to find a dealer near you, or contact us for any advice and assistance, we may be able to give you to get back on your feet and up and running again.

Be careful, be alert and especially – be safe!

Good habits for Truck Drivers to relieve stress

We all applaud the deeds and efforts of health workers and those at the front line of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic – and rightfully so. One of the groups of pandemic heroes though that are often not recognised are our Truckers who tirelessly and unselfishly have continued to ensure that essential supplies have been delivered, in spite of the health risks that they face.

Stress is a health hazard too!

We recently posted a two-part series on good habits that truckers can adopt to fight health hazards, and not the least of these is stress. The stress of long hours of staying awake, staying alert, staying fit in spite of spending hours cooped up in a confined space – these all take their toll.

So what are some good habits for Tuck Drivers to relieve stress?

Eat and drink well

Just like maintaining general health, stress is greatly reduced by the body being filled with the right nutrients. Foods like Brazil nuts, containing selenium which calms the brain, fatty fish like sardines or salmon which contain omega 3 – and anything high in antioxidants like dark chocolate and green tea – are all good calming agents.

Caffeine, like that, found particularly in coffee and high caffeine drinks, creates mood swings and anxiety, and although many truckers use it to stay awake, it is not a good idea to have too much. Moderate this and drink juice and teas – especially Chamomile tea – which is very soothing.

Breathe

One of the best ways to control stress is to breathe – nice and easy and deeply. If you find yourself getting very tense, as being on the road can often cause, just breathing in through the nose slowly for the count of eight and then out through the mouth slowly for the count of 10 – can work wonders!

Keep it smooth

Play soothing, calm music on the radio, or listen to any audio that tends to make you relaxed, possibly something spiritual? Just be sure it is not so soothing that it makes you drowsy. Classical music or smooth jazz is always good and will have you smiling at that lunatic that keeps honking at you so he can pass on a blind rise!

Exercise breaks

As any traveller knows, sitting and concentrating too long can become tiresome and stressful. Even if you pull over into a lay-by from time to time and walk around the truck a few times – try to get some regular exercise breaks. If you are feeling very stressed or anxious, even try a short ‘power nap’ to calm the brain.

Plan ahead and leave on time

They say the biggest stress (and one of the most significant causes of accidents) that Truckers face is the impatience and recklessness brought on by fearing you will not deliver in time. The golden rule for Truckers is to plan your route and the timeline of your trip (allowing for comfortable stops) well in advance.

Don’t leave anything to the last moment and leave in plenty of time to deliver on time. Remember that being late means you won’t take those very important exercise breaks and find it hard to breathe easy.

Drive a reliable vehicle

Knowing you’re in a good, well built, solid, reliable vehicle with a good warranty, gives you a lot of peace of mind and that’s the best way to beat stress. FAW South Africa have been building Freight carriers, Truck tractors, Tippers and Mixers in South Africa, for Africans, for many years – and all come with great warranties and 24/7 backup.

Visit our website, and you could find all manner of great deals on used and brand new vehicles – like the FAW 6.130FL for only R239 000 excl. VAT. (Chassis Cab only). Which means – this 3.5-ton workhorse, complete with a Cummins engine and an optional 3year/180 000km Service Plan could be yours for the price of a 1 ton. This is the lowest cost per ton anywhere!

Contact us directly or find a dealer near you to find out about this and many other great vehicles available – and all the benefits that come with purchasing a FAW vehicle.

 

Stay calm – stay healthy – and especially, stay safe!