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truck drivers

Not Enough Truck Drivers? Or Better Retention?

Not enough truck drivers? Or not using them efficiently? It’s debatable based on a variety of opinions in the industry, such as:

  • Per FTR Vice President of Trucking Avery Vise, “we probably have more truck drivers than we did before the pandemic based on the recovery of headcount in payroll employment along with a surge in new for-hire carriers dating back to July 2020.”
  • The American Trucking Association (ATA) has been touting a truck driver shortage for over a decade. Pre-pandemic, the ATA said the industry was short 60,000 drivers and forecasts that by 2028, the industry will be short 160,000 drivers.
  • According to Todd Spencer, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association president, “There is no shortage.” The group’s focus is on improving driver pay and livelihood, which conflicts with the goals of the ATA.

If the US has a truck driver shortage, then why are most grocery shelves stocked appropriately? Why do state governments issue more than 450,000 new commercial driver’s licenses each year? Some say it is a driver retention issue.

Retention of truck drivers

According to the ATA’s statistics, the average annual turnover rate for long-haul truckers is greater than 90%. One problem is that entry-level trucking positions are horrible, with truckers working long hours for little pay. While the entry-level salary averages $47,130, drivers who work more than 40 hours/week are not paid an additional salary.

Many truckers are paid by mileage instead of hours. That means if they are delayed by weather, heavy traffic, or insufficient staff to help with loading/unloading trucks, they make the same amount of money. Long-haul truckers also have considerable out-of-pocket expenses they are not reimbursed for, including parking fees and hotel stays.

So, is it a truck driver shortage or a driver retention issue? The answer is that trucking companies are not using their current drivers efficiently. It takes technology to do this – an intelligent transportation management system (TMS).

The answer is an intelligent TMS.

The Axele TMS is built on an innovative optimization engine that combines AI with human intelligence from decades of experience in the trucking industry to deliver a cloud-based, easy-to-use, one-stop solution, unlike any existing product. The Axele TMS eliminates paper-based functionality to streamline and automate day-to-day tasks that improve trucking operations.

The Axele TMS searches all connected load boards to find the best loads for each driver. The technology knows each driver’s remaining hours of service (HoS) so that drivers aren’t assigned loads they cannot complete. That way, drivers don’t get stuck out on the road because they must wait their required time to meet HoS requirements. Plus, you can squeeze more drive time from your drivers with appointment times and transport plans that factor in efficient driving and rest time.

Because all trucks and loads can be viewed on maps, dispatchers can see what drivers can pick up a return load to avoid traveling with an empty truck. This improves asset utilization and bottom-line profitability.

How can a TMS help with driver retention?

The industry average drive time in an 11-hour on-duty shift is 6.5 hours. Decreasing idling at stops, loading/unloading times, and required paperwork adds driving hours to the day, making it possible for your drivers to be more efficient. A mobile app that communicates load assignments, directions, and instructions improves driver productivity and efficiency.

Reducing the need to handle paperwork gives hours back to the driver. The ability to upload documents directly to the home office while out in the field speeds invoicing and shortens driver settlement times.  

You can run scenarios of loads, origins/destinations, HoS requirements, and real-world ETAs to see how a driver’s assigned current and future loads mesh with your business plan. Better predictability around drivers helps you understand how drivers can stay compliant with their HoS requirements while assigning various load plans. All of this can add more drive time for your drivers, so you don’t need to search for more drivers to take your loads. With the Axele TMS, you can meet your business requirements without needing more drivers or trucks.  

The Axele TMS is the right solution for the driver shortage because it improves the efficiency of your operations and your drivers.

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