Without exception, every transport operation debriefs drivers in one way or another. For some it’s informal and ad hoc – for others it is a more formal process.

Either way debriefs are very important to understand when and why routes and schedules aren’t being adhered to, or driver performance is not up to standard. This is vital to know if and how improvements can be made to achieve the very best customer experience.

The debrief is also the driver’s opportunity to raise any issues with routes/trucks/life in general and they are your best source of information of what is really happening out in the real world.  It’s a very valuable bit of intel rarely exploited to the full.

Debriefs can also be an excellent opportunity to praise a driver for good work – and incentivise others to follow their lead.

The majority of the time journeys do go as expected – with deliveries and collections made as expected – but it’s when things don’t go to plan that a driver debrief can be really valuable.

Debriefs have never been the most popular activity from the driver’s perspective – often occurring at the end of a long shift. But carried out effectively, the valuable information they provide is too good to pass up.

So here’s our advice for making sure you make the most of your debrief programme, without becoming Billy no mates.

Only Debrief When Needed – It’s important that your drivers understand that they are not wasting their time. If all information is pointing towards a journey going to plan let your drivers finish their shift without any interference from the transport team.  You could instigate a simple one-step clocking off process for drivers who adhere to planned routes and are on time – or if their performance is above a threshold on the Microlise A to G driver performance rating system.

Get Your Drivers’ Feedback on the Go – If you are anything like me, I can’t always remember what I had for breakfast, let alone the reason for a 15 minute delay eight hours ago. Using Microlise Journey Management drivers are prompted immediately after they have completed a drop or collection, before they set off. A pre-populated list of potential reasons allow the driver to leave notes immediately after an unexpected incident. This ensures accuracy and really helps you to understand if and how improvements can be made.

Make it Clear What the Benefit Has Been – If you’ve managed to consistently improve punctuality, let your drivers know. If debriefs have contributed to an improvement in driver performance or a reduction in fuel consumption, communicate it to your team. If they know how their input is directly resulting in better performance for the company then they are more likely to be on-board, collaborative and cooperative. This is also a great opportunity to praise drivers who are performing well.

Share the Fruits of Your Labour – The drivers are doing a lot of the hard work. Their actions are integral to the improvements you are trying to make, so when they succeed, consider rewarding them for their efforts either as a team or individually. If they get straight A Microlise driver performance grades – you could consider giving their pay packet a small boost. If, as a team, they improve punctuality statistics you could reward them with food vouchers at their favourite coffee shop. You will know what your drivers want most – you can reward them with something they will value without breaking the bank.

Let Your Drivers Self Debrief – With the Microlise Driver Performance Management (DPM) app you can let drivers see for themselves how well they have been driving and even compare their performance with other drivers. Once they’ve finished their day, they can open the app and see if they left their vehicle idling for too long, went too fast or took a corner at an unacceptably high speed. Giving them the knowledge, at their fingertips, will empower them to make improvements.

In summary, gone are the days of getting every driver to report in after a shift with feedback from the day.

This can result in lots of wasted energy and potentially bad blood. Debrief smart and keep everyone informed of the benefits and you will be on to a winner.