The impression one gets from the news is that the current truck driver shortage is an issue that is a problem only in the short term. However, it is anything but a short-term issue. As we stated in a previous post, according to a recent BBC survey, the reasons we have such a driver shortage are, in order of the most serious:
Reform of IR35 rules (how people working off the payroll pay tax)
Drivers moving to another industry
Apart from the considerable impact made by Brexit, and what will possibly be a short-term hangover from the reform of IR35 rules, all the other causes of the truck driver shortage are likely to be around for a long time – at least for several years, while the injection of new blood into the workforce takes place.
Of course, transport operators who play the long game will realise that the driver shortage, while definitely a crisis right now, will take a long time to resolve (barring an unlikely reversal of EU worker policy by the government) and that they must take steps not just to compensate for the immediate problems created by it, but turn it into an opportunity to make systemic changes to their processes that will benefit their business as a whole, and make their companies ones that existing sought-after drivers aspire to work for.
So, it bears repeating what we have always maintained, namely that operators should introduce/improve the digitialisation of their processes and remove inefficiencies, especially those relating to the work of their drivers. Removing redundant and repetitive tasks from drivers will relieve them of unnecessary stress and enable them to focus on driving and customer service. All this can easily be done by utilising an appropriate transport management system (TMS).
Should transport operators not undertake a radical rethink of their operational processes, the exorbitant cost of hiring new drivers will mean they need to increase prices to their customers, increasing the likelihood of those customers looking for smarter alternatives. For forward-thinking operators, using the right TMS will mean cost increases can be minimised (and customer service improved) with the potential to grow their businesses further.
If you need advice on how our own CarrierNet TMS can help you achieve the above, please contact Bashir Khan here.