How to deal with driver shortage – Part 2

How to deal with driver shortage – Part 2

Previously on TIP: 

Today fewer people want a career as a truck driver. The majority of the current generation of European drivers are over 45 years old and there is an insufficient pipeline of talent to replace them on their retirement. Europe faces a significant shortage of drivers.

How to deal with driver shortage – Part 2

The road transport industry has plenty of ideas and initiatives for solving the driver shortage.

  • Enhancing the imageUnit Cargo advocates turning drivers into “Supply Chain Professionals,” enabled by technology and playing a greater role in providing high-quality customer service. It believes that this transformation might justify better pay and lead to greater job satisfaction. Training drivers to be more technology-savvy could future-proof their livelihoods as the industry transits to autonomous trucks, for which technology skills will be in demand.

 

The industry needs increasingly to promote truck driving as an interesting career to young people/millennials, in general, to more diverse sections of the population.

 

  • Better pay – In 2016, in an effort to safeguard the wage levels of French drivers against foreign competition, France passed a law requiring any EU truck company to pay its drivers the French minimum wage whilst delivering in the country. Germany, Italy, Belgium, and Austria have proposed similar laws. (source: Bloomberg)

 

  • Improving working conditions – There are initiatives at all levels. At an industry level, the UK’s Freight Transport Association campaign illustrates objectives that are deemed to be practical. The FTA is campaigning for:
    • Student style loans for vocational training
    • Better driver facilities
    • Quicker turnaround of medical queries by the Driver and Licensing Agency
    • A campaign to raise awareness of the logistics sector – in partnership with the Department for Education
    • Members to come together to promote the logistics industry and engage with the public.

Truck manufacturers are looking at ways of making truck cabs as comfortable as possible, as a tool in driver retention. An October 2017 Frost & Sullivan report on the North America & Europe Medium-Heavy Truck Seating Systems Market, forecast to 2025, says that “The number of premium seats is expected “to nearly double in the next nine years as fleet managers deploy superior seats to reduce occupational fatigue as a strategy to promote driver retention.”

 

  • Encouraging women to become truck drivers – Women are an untapped labour force. Only 2-3% of truck drivers in the Netherlands and less than 0.5% in the UK are female. Truck companies are developing trucks that are more suited to women’s needs. (Source: DKV Benelux) Truck driving on routes that enable drivers to return home at night may be more attractive to potential women drivers with or without families. In some US cases, women drivers are being provided with a female mentor (source: Bloomberg)

 

  • Embracing autonomous truck technology – The advent of autonomous truck technology will represent an opportunity for truck drivers. Bob Biesterfeld, president of North American transportation at C.H. Robinson said: “Autonomous trucks may still need a driver in the cab to make sure nothing goes wrong.” (source: Bloomberg) That said, the role of the truck driver of the future will be different and require greater technical skills than today.

How to deal with driver shortage – Part 2

TIP Trailer Services – an alternative solution

      • Adopting logistics solutions – TIP Trailer Services believes that one approach to addressing the driver shortage issue is to look at current logistics solutions including:
        • 1:2 truck trailer ratios – Running fleets on a 1:1 truck trailer ratio is standard practice at many transport companies. However, it is also worth considering a 1:2 truck trailer ratio, using what is sometimes referred to as a “drop-and-hook distribution” strategy. In this case, drivers drop off one trailer at a delivery dock and then drive away with another loaded trailer. TIP has collaborated with some of its clients to implement this model with great success. Based on this experience, TIP has devised precise calculations which enable fleet managers to deploy their current driver pool with a greater number of trailers.
        • Trailer warehousing – This solution is a variation on the 1:2 truck trailer ratio approach. With trailer warehousing, you spread your own or rented trailers between different warehouse locations so that your drivers can drop off a trailer for unloading at a delivery point and then drive away either with a loaded trailer or to the nearest trailer warehouse on their route to collect a new trailer, either loaded or empty.

With both the 1:2 truck trailer ratio approach and trailer warehouse, drivers can maximize their driving time and earnings by not having to wait around for unloading.

      • Double deck trailers – With double deck trailers, one driver can carry greater loads. There are two types of double-deck trailers:
        • Fixed deck trailers have the highest load capacity, in weight and volume. However, they are only compatible with delivering to stores and warehouses that have external lifts. There is a variant on the fixed deck trailer, one with a tail lift. The tail lift has limited capacity and hence unloading is slow. This variant is best suited to multi-drop routes.
        • Moving deck trailers are very flexible with an upper deck which can be hydraulically lifted up or lowered during loading and delivery. This is a heavier solution than the fixed deck trailer because of the need to include the hydraulic lifting mechanisms. The hydraulics make the powered deck more expensive than the fixed deck. The moving deck trailer is ideal for products which do not double stack and, when loaded on a pallet, do not weigh more than 650 kg in total.

 

How to deal with driver shortage – Part 2

For more information on how TIP Trailer Services can help your fleet with solutions to driver shortages, please contact us using this form.

TIP will publish in February, Part 3 of this series; with more practical ideas and solutions to cope with the driver shortage. If you do not want to miss our industry news, sign up for the free monthly newsletter.

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