How Transportation Optimization Can Solve Driver Shortages

There is a severe shortage of truck drivers in America. The profession can be unpleasant because of the difficult road conditions, long working days, and deteriorating safety and health of the driver. Most importantly, the wage is not enticing. Previously, truck driver wages fluctuated with "per mile pay" because there was no guarantee of how many miles per week a driver could drive especially with the unknown number of breakdowns and roadside inspections.

Since truck drivers are usually paid per mile, trucking companies are now implementing new ways to attract more drivers to the industry. They are creating salary pay with a base pay, with added bonuses. This will increase shipping cost, which will affect the overall cost of doing business with the trucking companies. Shipping companies need to prepare for the wage increase's impact by creating a transportation management plan.

Creating a Transportation Management Plan

Companies should ask themselves how they are treating their drivers. Drivers are an extension of the company because they deliver product to clients. Shippers need to improve internal communication with their truck drivers so that the drivers are not wasting time and energy. Shippers also need to create flexibility for the truck drivers and employ a Transportation Management Plan so the drivers are not left to figure out the time frame of transporting the goods on their own.

For example, truck driver Amanda Jones believes time is money. She claims, "They [shipping companies] were always giving us heck for things that were totally out of our control." The shipping company would create a very tight schedule, and it would cause Amanda to rush. If she arrived early, the customer would not be prepared, so she would have to sit and wait for two days for the load to be ready. This type of treatment is not appealing to any driver. More importantly, if her company had simply communicated with her before-hand, time would not be wasted.

The Benefits of a Technology-driven Environment

Another direction companies are looking at to obtain enhanced optimization and asset management is by getting a better understanding of their freight profile or footprint. Knowing volumes, trends, customer expectation and building a program that can lead to efficiency will help contain rate challenges that occur. When drivers' wages increase, shipping companies will have to cut costs somewhere. Technology can improve efficiencies and thus alleviate costs because it is a huge factor in achieving optimization.

Creating a tracking system and using mobile technology in the shipping facility itself will create increased communications and reduce mishaps that cause inefficiencies. Companies that are not tech-savvy have to pay for errors made by the facility while companies that use technologies and strategies to modernize supply chains have improved efficiency.

Additionally, companies that focus their investment on mobile technology will benefit because managers can communicate to the employees regardless of where they are in the warehouse. Bluetooth technology also allows employees to work hands free and get work done efficiently. They can multitask while speaking with the manager about what needs to be done. A technology-driven environment will achieve efficiency and further advancement.

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