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Driver Turnover cannot be reduced with a magic formula

Driver Turnover in the truckload industry cannot be reduced with a magic formula. Industry veteran, Mark Dixon is addressing this problem and providing strategies for maximizing driver retention.

Trucking companies are experiencing an all-time lack of qualified drivers while their cargo volumes increase every day. Every company is different, and so are individual drivers. The simple pressure of industry demand is forcing long haul operators to pay either top dollars or recruit apparently inexperienced drivers - both of which are not helpful in taking the companies out of the mess.

So, how can your trucking company be a magnet for attracting and retaining top driving talent? Here are five simple strategies adopted by some smart truckload operators that make the grade.

Hire on Values

One of the leading trucking organizations, Kriska group of companies always hires on values and also invests to train the new hires. They believe in the principle that skills can be taught, which gives them access to a greater number of potential hires. These comprehensive training programs are conducted to assure that all the new hires meet the company standards before they start working, irrespective of their experience. Kriska's deferred profit-sharing strategy also creates a sense of partnership between staff and business.

Identify Good Drivers

Sieve through the dirt to find gold. Companies need to know which drivers they need to keep within the organization, which can't be done if they don't know each of the drivers personally or haven't kept an accurate track of their records. Given that most over the road or long haul trucking companies have hundreds of drivers, it is quite impossible to monitor the drivers manually. Fleet management system helps in this case, having automated and regular reports on the activity of drivers are valuable.

Find out the Needs of your Drivers

There are obviously those universal demands like good pay, time-off's etc. However, there are also various things that individual drivers may require. Companies should either conduct a primary research or have one-to-one communication with their staff. In this process, companies end up getting the valuable insights on what helps in driver motivation and retention. This makes the staff feel valued and happy since they are regarded as a key part of the company.

Improve Working Conditions Further

Rim Yurkus, the CEO of Strategic Programs Inc., Denver had rightly said, 'the payment of forty-two cents a mile tend to look quite different when the driver is having a good day rather than when he is having a bad day. When the company already has a collection of good drivers, and has an idea about the drivers' expectation, the company should then take action. The action would vary with different responses from different drivers; however the common outcomes could be offering a competitive pay scale, keeping equipment in excellent conditions, better work-life balance etc.

Know How to Spare the Rod

Many successful trucking companies believe that behavior cannot be corrected as well by discipline and documentation as by education, employee development and employee training. Companies should train their staff and provide them with the equipment, the environment and schedules which will help them meet the expectations and demands of the company. It is also important to clearly communicate with the staff about the company's expectation and listen to their expectations as well.

Maybe, the best question is not, 'how can companies find more drivers?' but is, 'why can't companies retain the good drivers they already have?' and if companies spend an estimate of around $5000 on recruiting and training a new driver, then it makes perfect sense. It is time companies up their game, and make suitable changes to improve driver retention.


Driver shortage makes capitalizing on low oil hard for truckers

A chronic shortage of drivers means America's long-haul trucking companies are struggling to capitalize on cheap fuel prices that could allow them to take goods shipments away from railroads...


A chronic shortage of drivers means America's long-haul trucking companies are struggling to capitalize on cheap fuel prices that could allow them to take goods shipments away from railroads.

Driver shortage makes capitalizing on low oil hard for truckers

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A 50 percent fall in oil prices from their peak last year should have erased some of the cost advantage railroads enjoy, especially for longer hauls.

But for customers hoping to save money by switching from train to truck, the lack of drivers makes that harder.

"It's a nice theory, but the math doesn't add up because of the driver shortage," said Jason Seidl, a Cowen & Co analyst.

An increasingly common way of shipping freight is by "intermodal" standardized containers that can be hauled by truck, ship and train. Goods coming from China, for instance, are hauled thousands of miles from the West Coast by train and then put on trucks for a shorter haul to their destination.

The lower the price of diesel goes, the more competitive standard shipping by truck becomes versus intermodal transport, so long as carriers can get enough vehicles on the road to achieve economies of scale.

During a Jan. 28 conference call, truckload carrier Knight Transportation Inc. said if diesel fell by about $1.50 a gallon from the $3.80 the firm paid last September, trucks would be more competitive than intermodal for hauls of up to 750 miles, versus around 500 miles last September.

Whether diesel will fall that far remains to be seen. But with prices down around $1.00 per gallon from six months ago, carriers are still complaining of trucks sitting idle due to a lack of drivers.

Last year lobby group the American Trucking Associations (ATA) said the industry is lacking 35,000 drivers and that shortfall could grow to around 240,000 by 2020 if not addressed. The shortage comes amid rising demand for freight, as the ATA said truck tonnage rose 3.5 percent in 2014.


Driver shortage makes capitalizing on low oil hard for truckers