Analyzing Your Customers and Routes Could Reduce Truck Driver Turnover
If you’re losing your best drivers to excessive turnover, perhaps you should be looking at your truck driver turnover through a different lens. A traditional approach to managing your truck driver turnover rate assumes that the relationship between the company and the employee is the primary cause. This is part of the equation, but drivers are not like other employees. Their workplace is the road and the customer’s docks. Trucking software may help you diagnose the reasons they don’t want to be there anymore.
The Truck Driver Turnover Problem
Drivers are like other employees in some respects. Any HR study will cite the same factors in managing turnover, like reasonable compensation, opportunities for advancement, and a good relationship between managers and workers.
But drivers are not like other employees in every way. The American Trucking Association’s Bob Costello recently issued a statement about alleged flaws in a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics article on driver shortages and cited some things that anyone with much experience in the industry already knows, like the difficulties of finding qualified drivers with CDLs and clean driving records. Costello also said that “truck drivers are often away from home for long stretches as part of the job,” and mentioned “work-life balance” as a factor in truck driver turnover.
What areas could you look at which would make life better for your drivers? Assuming you’ve already addressed purely internal matters like pay, safety, and management, it may be time to look outside your own yard. The things that are making your best drivers think about another company may surprise you.
Difficult Routes and Customers Are Tough for You and Your Driver
Trucking is never easy. Every segment of the transportation industry, from last-mile deliveries to long-haul, has its challenges. But rather than chalk them up to “driver grumbling,” consider how these factors are eating into your bottom line and increasing your truck driver turnover rate:
- Congestion and safety – our bridges and roads are in need of upgrades and repairs everywhere. If you think of problem spots, you might think about places like Florida and Texas. But it might surprise you to learn that MSN listed Colorado as the state with the worst interstate problems. Congested and unsafe roads slow down your freight, which increases your costs and frustrates your drivers.
- Delays in getting loaded – busy docks inevitably keep drivers waiting in line. But some of your customers are more prone to creating longer waits than others, because of inefficient practices. Some of them may prioritize other traffic over the type of freight you’re delivering or shipping out, delaying your driver further and creating a sense of unfairness for them. Meanwhile, it’s costing you money in time, fuel, and maintenance for idle time.
- Long hauls that are just wrong – routes that make sense on the map may create unusual (and sometimes cruel) conditions for your driver. They may also contain hidden costs for you. When the 11-Hour Rule plus a traffic jam in Atlanta puts the driver two hours from home four times out of five, you’re paying for accommodations and the driver is upset that he or she isn’t home. It may also put equipment and drivers out of position to pick up the next load, which costs both you and your driver money.
Trucking Software Helps You Find Your Way
Congestion, delays, and long-haul runs are inevitably part of trucking. But if you’re only charging your customer based on standard mileage, dimensions, and weight formulas, you could be failing to see what customers you’re really not making money on. To compound the problem, these could be the same customers and loads that are increasing your truck driver turnover.
Trucking software allows you to analyze the data you already have on your customers, loads, routes, and other metrics. This analysis helps you see the bottlenecks in your productivity. Armed with this information, you can take steps to correct or compensate for these issues:
- Give drivers a break – no one can control the state of the highways. But a better understanding of which routes are chronically congested and frustrating to drive can help you plan routes better and reroute drivers to routes that may be somewhat longer but still more economical when all factors are understood. Congestion surcharges may also be in order for customers who require you to pick up or deliver in these areas. If you know what routes are the most difficult, you can also vary the routes for your drivers so they can enjoy some easier days along with the more difficult ones, or give them financial incentives for dealing with it.
- Modify the customer’s behavior – if the customer is chronically making your driver wait an excessive amount of time, you should be charging adequate wait or detention fees. The threat of these fees may move your driver up the line faster or encourage your customer to get their loads organized before the driver arrives. If not, the fees can help fund incentives that you can pass along to your driver.
- Plan your long hauls in a data-driven way – trucking software can help you connect up long-haul routes in more optimal ways that don’t leave drivers at loose ends. This can help them make more money and get home more often.
Truck driver turnover eats into profits, and so do all the problems described here – long waits, congested roads, and inefficient long-haul routes. Trucking software can help with both of these issues in a way that increases your profits and decreases your truck driver turnover rate. TruCosting® Trucking Software from Trincon Group can help you identify where problems may exist that are preventing you from maximizing your potential profitability. Integrating operating and financial information from existing systems, check out TruCosting® today.