Trucking industry has ranked the driver shortage as its top critical issue again in the US. According to the American Transportation Research Institute, this is the fifth year in a row. Overall, driver retention has been ranked as the No. 2 industry issue.
Multiple factors are contributing towards these issues. The industry in general needs to evolve to become more driver centric. this can be achieved by increasing driver pay, benefits, offering access to better education and training programs, providing more career development opportunities, and adopting driver-friendly technology. With modern technology, operations will get stabilized and move the industry forward.
Trucking companies are required to make changes as to how they treat and look after their drivers in 2022 and beyond. The pay structure of the drivers is a top industry concern. Despite companies increasing pays tremendously during the pandemic, with bonuses and 25% or higher pay rate increases, truck driver salaries haven’t been justified at the same scale. contrarily, nowadays truck drivers maybe earning approximately 40% less than their counterparts did as early as in the 1970s.
Driver retention can be considered as important as recruitment, if not more so, and keeping drivers means that trucking companies must work towards enhancing their driver experiences. But improving drivers’ work lives requires more than just pay increases.
Technology plays an important role in recruitment and retention, for instance fleet management and route optimization software. These are not options but “must haves”, owing to software’s operational efficiency and reducing driver stress by providing a seamless experience and necessary resources. Of course, drivers will need training on the software, too.
Some issues within the trucking industry to watch in 2022 will include facility and detention delays and driver parking. The supply chain issues at ports and warehouses are adding to the problems. Cargo unloading congestion and staging and the process of moving containers from port to their next location are impacting drivers.
Trucking companies will continue to adopt and use fully automated software for informing real-time route optimization and supply chain planning. Trucking companies that capitalize on data-driven route optimization software will gain both efficiency and knowledge. We’ve already witnessed advances in automation, where software uses AI to incorporate historical and predictive analysis and offers fleet managers updated information on: Stop times, real-time traffic and weather, fuel efficiency, and accident prevention and safety. But how can fleets realistically keep pace with demand? A question that lingers.
Trucking companies will start to expand their thinking to reach their drivers wherever they are. Companies will need to make use of training and education, combined with events, reward-based initiatives, or social media, to improve overall technology adoption and use.
While many trucking companies haven’t moved digital transformation to the top of their list of priorities yet, the most successful ones have implemented it. Industry’s future success hinges on implementing technology designed to make work lives easier for drivers — and teaching them how to use it.
It is indisputable that since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chains have struggled. To stay on top of the game, trucking companies must future-proof themselves. This can best happen by incorporating technology with machine learning and automation capabilities. This can help resolve some of today’s challenging supply chain issues.