Let’s face it, towers aren’t known for their cleaning skills. Unless you’re lucky enough to have hired Mr. Clean or Martha Stewart, you’re probably struggling to keep your fleet clean, organized, and in tip-top shape. If it was just a cubicle or your own home, the mess wouldn’t be a huge deal, but you’ve invested big bucks in your trucks and they deserve some respect, especially from your towers.
Sure, you’ve asked your team to keep things tidy and take inventory, but in the daily rush it rarely gets done. But enough is enough; it’s time to get organized and that starts with you.
Here’s exactly what you need to do to whip your team and trucks into shape:
Craft a Detailed Handbook
You can’t expect your drivers to read your mind (and do you really want them to?). A simple handbook is the easiest way to communicate policies and procedures. Include exactly what you expect of them when it comes to cleanliness. Pictures of what trucks and tow boxes should look like can work wonders. Also include the consequences of leaving trucks unorganized.
Providing a handbook to every tower means they will no longer be able to claim they didn’t know the rules. If their cleaning skills aren’t up to snuff, they can’t blame you for not telling them what to do. It makes your standards clear and sets everyone up for success.
One of the best ways to keep everyone organized and on the same page is to employ pre- and post- call checklists. These checklists require towers to go over their truck, piece-by-piece and check if all parts are clean, organized, and operational. After everything is in order, they sign-off on it and turn the checklist over to the manager.
You really have two options when it comes to timing. You can either require your team to complete the checklist at the beginning and end of each day, or before and after each job. Which you choose will depend on the size of your fleet, the number of towers, and the amount of jobs done each day. It may sound like a lot of work, but once everyone gets into the routine, it’ll become second nature.
Give and Take
A sure-fire way to encourage your towers to keep track of their equipment is to charge them for lost tools. No employee wants to pay their employer; that’s just plain backwards. If they know there is a consequence for not taking care of equipment, they’re more likely to treat it like precious cargo.
On the flip side of that coin, it’s also important to reward the guys and gals that are keeping up with cleaning and organizing. Make note of who’s putting in the effort. A small bonus is all the incentive they’ll need to break out the hose and rag.
Start out the organization and cleaning process on the right foot by taking a thorough inventory. Once you know exactly what you have, go through and label with either the truck name or tower’s name that it will stay with. Since equipment can take a beating out on the road, invest in some heavy duty tags that can’t be ripped off, or mark the equipment and the truck with corresponding spray paint. Being able to easily tell what goes where will alleviate some of your biggest organizational headaches.
Keep your towers on their toes. Do surprise truck checks and review the cab and the body. A dirty truck means some kind of consequence; a clean truck earns a pat on the back. Keeping the checks random ensures you get an honest look at how the trucks are being taken care of and they also keep your towers from getting to lax on their cleaning. Talk about a win-win.
To make these tips really work, you need to allot the crew an appropriate amount of time to tidy up their trucks. It might take some trail-and-error to work cleaning into the schedule, but it’s 100% worth the hassle. Start out with more time and shorten it as your towers get better and better at staying organized.
You might also want to set aside time weekly or monthly to do a deep cleaning of the truck to make sure they’re always nice and sparkly.
It’s Worth It
Remind your towers that all this effort does more than just keep the trucks running well, it also makes tows go smoothly and keeps customers happy. Even if a customer doesn’t remember a clean truck, they’ll certainly remember a dirty one, and not in a good way.