While truck drivers may be the most visible part of a transportation company, they’re far from the only essential team members. Behind the scenes, trucking managers make sure the people and equipment needed for running a successful trucking or transportation company are operating at peak efficiency.
Depending on the job and the company, duties of a trucking or transportation manager can vary. Typical duties include hiring personnel, tracking shipping forms, maintaining informational databases, and providing assistance to other units such as legal, maintenance, and even advertising and marketing. Duties of a trucking manager are split between managing the people in a trucking company and managing the equipment used by a trucking company.
Good people are the heart of any trucking company, and a good trucking manager knows how to get the best out of the staff. In addition to day-to-day aspects of a company such as scheduling shifts, handling paperwork for HR, and ensuring driver and staff compliance with regulations, trucking managers handle more personal duties as well. Kelly, from Bison Transportation says on their company blog that relationship management is one of the major aspects of a trucking manager’s job.
“Fleet Managers have substantial influence over driver retention levels. Building professional relationships that foster open communication and trust can improve a driver’s work experience, often leading to retention,” she says.
Having a great staff of drivers doesn’t matter much if they don’t have anything to drive or anything to haul. A trucking manager makes sure the trucks are well-maintained, compliant with all applicable regulations, and in ample enough supply to operate the company. For cargo, they’ll maintain the shipping logs and may even use software to spot inefficiencies in operations. They also monitor and adjust driver schedules to ensure reliable and on-time delivery without burning out or overworking the drivers.
What Makes a Good Trucking Manager?
The skills and characteristics necessary for success as a trucking manager include:
Patience – Fleet Managers must accept and tolerate delays and uncertainty. There are many factors that come into play in the operations of a transportation company. Although it is a fast paced position, sometimes there are factors out of a Fleet Managers control and they must remain patient and work towards finding a viable solution.
- Good Listener
- Strong Communicator
- Proven work experience as a Transportation Manager, Shipping Manager or similar role
- Solid knowledge of supply chain management
- Experience preparing and tracking orders
- Familiarity with logistics software, like Freightview and 3PLink
- Excellent organizational skills
- Ability to supervise and train staff
- Problem-solving abilities
Trucking managers can work in small trucking companies all the way up to large logistics corporations. They can also find work in other major corporations in the food and beverage, automotive, and e-commerce industries. They don’t spend much time on the road and work a steady schedule between 7am and 6pm, though situations may call for weekend or holiday work occasionally. Most trucking managers will work in an office, though they may spend significant time in garages or warehouses supporting drivers and their cargo.
Job Pay and Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the average hourly wage for a transportation, storage, and distribution managers was $108,910 in 2022. Those in the top 10% made $169,070 annually.
Training and Education
A formal degree isn’t necessary for work as a trucking manager. On the job experience and knowledge of the industry can help, but the US Department of Labor notes that 70% of those working as managers in the transportation space have a bachelor’s degree.
For those looking to pair their experience and knowledge with more formal training, a shorter program in business administration or logistics could be beneficial. Career School Now can connect you with accredited programs at schools in your area.
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