Whether you believe the U.S. has a severe truck driver shortage or not, the main problem impacting trucking capacity these days is much more complex:
There are just too many inefficiencies in transportation operations. And those inefficiencies often impact truck drivers’ quality of life and driving experience at a time when they feel free to switch employers.
Yes, the driver base has changed: The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that the trucking industry lost 1% of drivers between late 2019 and late 2021. But at the same time, turnover for drivers in fleets with more than $30 million of annual revenue reached 92% in a period buffeted by global supply chain disruptions.
How to become more driver-centric in 2022
Are you striving to keep your drivers? Then it’s essential to get serious about prioritizing driver experiences and elevating drivers’ training and career education programs, as well as your use of technology.
Here are some fundamental approaches to consider in driver retention (strategies that happily also increase your transportation efficiency, improve customer service, enhance your company reputation, and increase profits):
- Increase driver pay and benefits. Commercial drivers continue to rank pay as a top industry concern. While many trucking companies increased pay and bonuses during the pandemic, truck driver salaries haven’t always kept pace with the times. According to Business Insider, today’s truck drivers earn 50% less than their 1970s counterparts.
- Focus on driver retention and change how you treat drivers. You can increase operational efficiency by offering better career development, education and training programs and adopting a little creative problem solving by using modern technology. It’s good to provide drivers with technology like fleet management and route optimization software, which reduces their stress. Why not think about using training and education–combined with events, reward-based initiatives, or social media–to improve overall technology adoption and use?
- Avoid wasted hours and inefficiency with technology that fosters and includes machine learning, automation, and smarter routing. The perpetually annoying issues of facility and detention delays and driver parking have come back to bite carriers—especially when combined with recent supply chain bottlenecks at ports and warehouses. Excess detention time prevents truck drivers from maintaining a more productive delivery schedule, as do hours wasted locating safe overnight parking. Automated software uses real-time route optimization and supply chain planning based on predictive analysis and automation to counteract inefficiencies. Your data-rich decisions help you better prepare for possible delays and optimize routes.
Getting to maximum efficiency can be a process. But one worth the time and investment. As fleets incorporate more software technology into their workflow processes, they reduce driver attrition; ensure better customer service; gain higher profits; and reduce communication, compliance, and planning gaps.
Trucking companies generally pay drivers by the mile. But some start-ups are starting to pay their drivers as salaried employees in an effort to retain them. What do you think is best? Regardless, the Axele TMS can improve efficiencies in transportation operations so that your drivers are fully utilized. Contact Axele today.