Truck companies have been sounding the alarm regarding the shortfall of qualified truck drivers for many years. Now a combination of COVID-19, Brexit uncertainty and on-going issues related to driver retention and sourcing has brought the topic to the fore.
For a truck fleet manager, a major question needs to be answered: how can I recruit and retain qualified drivers to keep my vehicles on the road and my company in business?
And, increasingly, fleet managers are turning to digital solutions to help meet that challenge. This article looks at some of the factors behind the driver shortage and how increased digitisation can support you in solving them.
One of the key problems is that, simply, there are not enough qualified candidates entering the industry. Around 30% of truck drivers are over 50 and, as this group retires, there is not enough younger people willing to replace them.
So, as well as the problem of recruitment, truck fleet managers also have to deal with the problem of retainment: keeping hold of the qualified drivers they already have.
A difficult job
In the end, driving long distance is a tough job. HGV drivers spend extended periods of time away from friends and family, dealing with the stress of tight deadlines and the dangers of the road. Add to this things like traffic, delays and poor roadside facilities and you can end up with a very pressurised working environment, one that can turn off people entering the workforce.
And this is where digitisation can help.
A better life on the road
Adding digital solutions can make the job of driving long distance simpler, safer and less stressful, meaning a better working environment and happier, healthier and more productive drivers. And that makes for a more attractive line of work for new candidates.
Here’s five key ways digital solutions can make this happen.
1. Driving on better routes
A fleet management solution like WEBFLEET can do more than just track vehicles. It can offer regular, accurate updates on things like traffic, weather conditions, road incidents, diversions and other information that could lengthen a driver’s journey and add to their workload.
2. A less stressful working day
Digital solutions can help transport companies automate many of the tasks related to driving. This takes some of the pressure off the driver’s shoulders and lets them focus on their core job.
Also, WEBFLEET can automate the recording of your drivers’ working times, which gives you a clear view of how long each of your team has left in their day. This will stop you from setting them tasks that are unrealistic for them to attempt in the current shift, cutting down stress.
3. Simpler communication
The driver’s in-cab device can make communication with the office a much simpler and less distracting process for the driver. The PRO 8475 TRUCK, for example, offers text to speech, reading your messages aloud so the driver doesn’t need to stop to get a change of plan or vital update.
4. Proof when another road user causes an accident
In-vehicle cameras can record when another road user causes an accident with your driver. This helps the driver stay calm on the road, knowing that if they are in a collision and it’s somebody else’s fault, the video will prove them right.
5. Better development and training
A recent report from the UK’s Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme highlighted some reasons drivers give for leaving their employer. Amongst them, a lack of training opportunities and little chance of personal or professional development were cited.
Vehicle telematics and fleet management solutions can help to deliver more focussed and effective training and improvement programmes. With accurate visibility over how your drivers are using your vehicles, you can focus on things like speeding, harsh braking and idling to identify where each driver needs to train and then track their progress as they improve towards their goals.
Want more insight into how to help your drivers become happier, healthier and more productive and use technology to deal with the driver shortage? Read the full report here.