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February 2021

Benchmarking Survey Report 2021

Each month NPTC President and CEO Gary Petty writes a column in Fleet Owner magazine that focuses on the individuals, companies, best practices, and resources that make private trucking the force that it is in the American economy. Reaching more than 100,000 subscribers, three-quarters of whom are private fleet professionals, this column provides an excellent forum to communicate the value of the private fleet. Click here to view the archive.

Gary Petty | | Private Fleet Editor for FleetOwner Magazine
Gary Petty has more than 30 years of experience as CEO of national trade associations in the trucking industry. He has been the president and CEO of the National Private Truck Council since 2001.

Best practices implemented in response to pandemic included.

For the past 16 years, the National Private Truck Council has published an annual Bench-marking Survey Report as an exclusive benefit available for free to all NPTC members. The report is the foremost authoritative source of private fleet operating practices in the United States.

It is widely regarded as the most valuable benefit of NPTC membership and the gold standard by which fleets assess performance against peer operators and national standards. For most companies, the report effectively serves as a fleet justification exercise for upper management and scorecard for continuous improvement. This year, NPTC is pleased to recognize Penske Truck Leasing Co., an NPTC Five-Star member company, as the new exclusive sponsor of the NPTC Benchmarking Survey Report.

Confidentiality and trust are hallmarks of the report. Information collected from participating fleet companies is treated as privileged and proprietary and never discussed or shared within or outside NPTC. Aggregate data shown in the report itself is anonymous and without attribution as to individuals and their corporate affiliations.

NPTC retains sole and exclusive management control, including the survey questionnaire, data collection, analysis, production, and distribution to participating fleet member companies. Produced under the leadership direction of author-general editor Tom Moore, CTP, NPTC executive vice president, the report has evolved into the largest and most comprehensive research project ever conducted by the Council.

NPTC’s Benchmarking Steering Committee, made up of fleet member company representatives and NPTC staff, was broadened this year to build into the report more diverse content of private fleet operating practices. Numerous improvements were made to the survey questionnaire, allowing for a greater range and depth of key metrics.

To augment the significance of the report, NPTC offers a free service to help fleet member companies interpret their operating data against national trends and metrics. Moore, managing as the sole repository of survey data, also provides “customized data pulls” comparing participating fleets with like-kind peer operations versus national norms. Many fleets take advantage of this added-value service.

More than 100 fleet member companies will participate in the 2021 survey. Considering the disruptive impact COVID-19 has had on fleet operations, this level of participation is extraordinary. Appropriately, the report includes evolving best practices and benchmarks implemented in response to the pandemic crisis.

Surveyed companies are a representative mix of diverse business markets throughout the U.S economy. Participating fleets range from small to large but typically average over 41 terminal locations; nearly 300 each of drivers, tractors, and straight trucks; and just shy of a thousand trailers. Two-thirds of fleet participants contribute data year after year, or every other year, and 20% are first-time contributors.

Key takeaways from the 2021 report are projected to reflect long-term trends. The COVID-19 crisis has significantly strengthened the case for private fleets and underscored the need for further investment. But fleet justification and cost containment will remain high priorities. Equipment will continue to move from ownership to leasing with quicker trade cycles. Driver leasing will inch up to augment teams of full-time employee drivers.

Backhaul capacity will continue to decline. Finding talent will be an even greater challenge, made worse by an aging workforce. Pay and benefits for drivers will march upward. Fleets will continue to “right-size” capacity. In-house staff head count will continue to shrink, and more tasks will be shifted to external workers. Use of third-party service providers will grow, particularly in specialized tasks and compliance. Innovative technology will further advance safety and other driver performance targets. Conclusively, private fleets will experience steady growth and continued business model success in the years ahead.

Publication of the 2021 Benchmarking Survey Report is set for Aug. 1. A preliminary recap of this year’s survey findings will be presented at the NPTC Annual Conference on June 15 in Cincinnati. Webcasts conducted by NPTC, the first in July and the second in August, will be made available to participating companies and all members to learn details and ask questions.

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