Updated: May 31
The trucking industry has witnessed tremendous growth in recent years. The rise of e-commerce, economic expansion, and improved demand for goods has contributed to a higher volume of shipments across North America. As a result, more drivers are needed to meet this growing demand.
A shortage of drivers puts enormous pressure on trucking companies and carriers alike to fill positions as quickly as possible. Worse yet, once drivers are hired, fleets must concentrate on retaining them.
According to Business Insider, In 2021, the trucking industry was short 80,000 truck drivers, and that number is expected to increase to 160,000 by 2028. The driver shortage has been affecting the industry for years, and it’s only getting worse as more than 4 out of 10 current drivers are ready to retire within the next 10 years.
High truck driver turnover leads to lower operational efficiencies and higher expenses. Additionally, it takes significant time and money to find qualified drivers that meet the requirements necessary to operate a commercial vehicle safely.
Driver retention plays a significant role in the success of trucking and carrier companies. A high turnover rate harms overall business efficiency. The cost of hiring, training, and driver recruitment can be excessive, not to mention the loss of productivity that results from having empty trucks or drivers who lack experience.
Companies can take steps to boost driver retention by providing competitive pay, flexibility with scheduling and home time, and other benefits. Technology can also play a role in retaining drivers through its ability to help manage various aspects of driver relationships.
Using technology can help streamline processes and reduce driver shortage rates. Let’s take a closer look at how these 9 technologies are helping trucking companies and carriers acquire and retain more drivers:
1. Electronic DOT Applications
The first thing a truck driver has to do before they can drive for a carrier is fill out the DOT application for Employment. This application is the same across all carriers, and it usually takes about an hour to fill out, if it is not electronic. With an electronic application, drivers can fill out their DOT application online and then share it among multiple carriers with one click. In addition, the electronic application saves them from having to call or email around and provide the same info multiple times.
While going through the hiring process, the driver needs to sign many documents. Background check disclosures, drug testing disclosures, policies and procedures agreements, training agreements. The list goes on and on. If they’re filling this out by hand on paper forms at your office, you need to ensure they aren’t losing any pages or messing up any information. Everything is electronic if you have an electronic onboarding platform, so you don’t have to deal with paper forms at all!
2. Electronic logging devices (ELDs)
ELDs are a popular solution for helping to keep track of transportation data, including hours-of-service (HOS) for truck drivers. They can also help with fuel consumption logs and other tracking needs.
ELDs connect directly to a vehicle's engine control module to automatically track driving hours, which is required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA). This helps to ensure federal compliance, while also removing some of the burdens from drivers.
ELDs have been proven to increase truck driver retention rates. They automate tracking, recording, and reporting the hours of service for drivers. As per the FMCSA, if you have a vehicle built-in 2000 or later and has an engine that is the model year 2007 or later, you will need an ELD device. If your vehicle is older than that then you can use any of the AOBRD devices available in the industry.
Telematics provides a lot of benefits to trucking companies and carriers. For example, it helps to increase driver retention because it allows drivers to be more efficient and productive with their time. It also helps to improve safety for drivers. This is because Telematics will enable drivers to monitor how long they have been driving and how much fuel they have left in their tank. Many telematics systems have advanced features, including driver scorecards and crash notifications. It also helps trucking companies and carriers by providing real-time information on the location of their vehicles.
4. Global Positioning System (GPS)
With the global positioning system (GPS), drivers can now be monitored for their location and speeding behavior. This has helped companies to manage drivers better and reduce driver turnover. In addition, the GPS solution offers features such as automated vehicle tracking, real-time traffic information, and driver performance management.
5. Mobile Timesheet Apps
Trucking companies often have drivers on the road for long periods. This can make recording driver hours, not HOS, a challenging task. Fortunately, mobile timesheet apps are now available that allow drivers to clock in and out from their phones. This also can be done with the ELD mentioned above. This can save the company significant time and money by reducing human error and improving efficiency.
6. Applicant Tracking Systems
Many industries use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to streamline their hiring processes, but they are instrumental in the recruiting-intensive trucking industry. An ATS can help you manage your candidate pool by automatically screening applications according to preset criteria and assigning scores to candidates based on their responses. This makes it possible to quickly identify the most qualified candidates and route them through your recruiting process without having to do any manual sorting or resume reading.
Rig on Wheels uses an applicant tracking system such as Tenstreet, to help in the recruitment process. This ATS system makes it easy for our company to store information about applicants so that human resources or recruiters can quickly look up what they need to know about an individual who has applied for a job using Tenstreet's electronic application. Tenstreet has a host of additional uses for carriers and recruiting agencies. Check them out, it is a must!
7. Bulk SMS
The best way to keep your employees happy is by communicating with them often and making sure they feel valued. Technology makes communication easier and more convenient than ever before! Your truck drivers are on the road all day long, so it’s important that there is no need for them to waste valuable hours just on driving back home, for example, if there’s something urgent happening in their life.
The bulk texting services enable companies to communicate with their drivers and personnel more efficiently. The use of text messages has become very prominent in the past few years. The instant delivery and read receipts make it an ideal choice for fleet managers, recruiters, and drivers.
8. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
These systems help with many aspects of the trucking business, from recruiting and scheduling to communication and route management. For example, from a single dashboard, you can use CRM tools to contact drivers, view the status of your fleet, and send messages to other personnel in your organization. These technologies also enable you to create schedules and share them with drivers.
9. Fleet Management Software
Fleet management software is a system that helps fleet managers to handle their fleet in a better way to minimize Supply chain issues. It provides the managers with all the information required to run the fleet smoothly. All the data related to drivers, vehicles, and other aspects of fleet management are put together in one place for easy access for fleet managers. This software is designed to help both small and large fleets. The software also ensures that everything goes on smoothly and effectively.
There are many different types of fleet management software available in the market. Some are based on cloud technology, while others are based on traditional databases and servers. With cloud-based fleet management software, you would not have to worry about the security or maintenance of the database. However, they are more expensive than traditional database-based software because they require high-speed internet connections and powerful computers to run correctly.
Driver retention is an extremely important issue in the trucking industry, as an employee’s inability to cope with stress and pressure can have a dramatic impact on both their safety and that of other individuals on the road. However, driver retention does not need to be so difficult. With the right technologies and implementation strategies, trucking companies and carriers can identify ways for drivers to handle stress more effectively and can deliver critical information in more accessible ways. The direct result will be a reduction in turnover and a safer overall driving experience for everyone.
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