20 Oct 2021
Addressing the driver shortage with technology
Taking the hassle out of drivers’ jobs
The long queues, fuel rationing and closure of forecourts recently in the UK shouldn’t have surprised anyone in logistics. This was the result not of a shortage of petrol, but of drivers to transport it. The shortage is a historical problem, exacerbated by Brexit and covid-19.
Yet this is a worldwide problem that reaches across every industry that depends on logistics to operate. The log jam of shipping containers at commercial ports have diverted ships to other ports, but they’ll face the same problem at their new destination: the lack of drivers to move the goods. Grocery stores are slow to restock. Toy stores are worried about Christmas. Farmers, the construction sector, and manufacturers operate on tight delivery schedules – they sit and wait.
Globally, testing and training new drivers shut down as a result of the pandemic – not that applicants were beating the doors down to begin with. Across Europe alone, there was already a shortage of 400,000 drivers. The average age of drivers is over 50. (The UK Department of Transport is so desperate that they asked a retired 81-year-old driver to return to work.)
So why is this career failing to attract new drivers and keep the ones already working? Pay and difficult working conditions are mostly to blame. You pay what you can afford, of course. But if you could expand your margins, stop revenue leakage and reduce your operating costs, that could enable you to improve salaries. Furthermore, the means to lowering your costs could also help improve how drivers work, making their jobs easier.
Easing the problem starts with technology
The shortage of drivers means you must retain the ones you have. Employee engagement is key. Addressing their concerns and making their jobs easier should be a priority. How can you make it less stressful? How can you remove the hassles? At the same time, how do you attract new drivers?
Look at it from their perspective. Handling and maintaining paper trails, paper-based delivery notes and the whole proof-of-delivery process of getting signatures is a fussy process. It demands organisation and attention. And then there are the deliveries. What orders need fulfilling? How does the driver figure out how to reach customers, and then where do they go upon arrival? Which load, where to unload, who to talk to, who to get signatures from – it’s time consuming and draining.
AMCS Driver Support is about giving your drivers just that: support. These are digital technologies designed to make their jobs easier. You can adopt one, two or all three solutions. The added benefit for your company is that in this context, easier means more efficient. And when there are efficiency gains to be had, you reduce operating costs.
Getting there: AMCS Guided Navigation
Turn-by-turn navigation guides the driver as the journey progresses. This is incredibly important for new drivers, who aren’t familiar with the routes, let alone driving trucks. The driver doesn’t have to worry about missing exits or turns – the software delivers the instructions. The fact that drivers don’t have to figure out the routes is important. They can relax. AMCS Guided Navigation also makes the road safer, as they don’t have to stress about where they’re going. The system can also record loops covered on a regular basis and ensure every segment is completed in order. And if they deviate even slightly from their route, they’ll be guided right back.
Make it easier: doing away with paper
AMCS Mobile Web simplifies the multiple tasks a driver has to undertake. Using a tablet or smartphone with AMCS’s intuitive app, the driver can receive information, such as route lists and order details and send status messages back once the delivery is completed. Routes can even be re-calculated and optimised as orders change. The driver can also communicate any relevant information to customers, which raises your service levels.
The driver doesn’t have to carry paperwork or risk losing delivery notes – everything needed is on the mobile app. The customer provides a digital signature and just like that, the delivery note is sent electronically to the billing department. Organising and physically delivering paperwork to the office are tasks drivers don’t have to think about.
Example: mobile technologies at work
Where does the driver go once on-site? Is there a particular gate that should be used? Where should the driver park? What safety actions need to be enacted? What about the paperwork?
AMCS’s Mobile Web presents this information in a straightforward, user-friendly way. The specific place to park and unload is right there. The story is told in photos, including the need to wear a helmet and hi-vis vest and put safety cones around the vehicle. The driver doesn’t have to store information in their brain – they’re given the necessary prompts.
Safety first: show drivers you value them
AMCS Telematics monitor the data recorded by vehicles. These recordings tell you about driver behaviour. Are they driving in a safe manner? Did they speed? Brake too hard? This is an opportunity to emphasise safety – you want them back in one piece, and you want the public kept safe too. Knowing that you value their safety makes you an employer they want to work for.
Monitor driver behaviour: performance
With AMCS Telematics, you can celebrate drivers for meeting the benchmarks set for them. Showing drivers that you appreciate their efforts encourages them to stay with you. It also enables you to see where improvements can be made. Is the truck idling for too long, wasting fuel? Using AMCS Telematics can help improve driver productivity by up to 12%.
AMCS Telematics is especially helpful for onboarding new drivers, making them feel appreciated for a job well done – and helping them to become better drivers by encouraging good driving habits.
Support for drivers is support for your business
Identifying and correcting concerns through AMCS Telematics has been proven to reduce fuel consumption by up to 10%. It also enables preventative maintenance. AMCS Telematics can tell you when vehicles will need maintenance or repairs. You can schedule work on preferred days to reduce vehicle downtime costs. It also prevents your drivers from wasting time on the side of the road, waiting for help.
AMCS Guided Navigation keeps deliveries running smoothly when drivers are on holiday or out sick. Without it, other drivers will struggle to cover an unfamiliar district. Once they arrive, the mobile app tells them exactly where they need to go and all the other information they need to know. The delivery note is sent electronically and just like that, the efficiency of each action expands your margins.
AMCS Driver Support isn’t just support for your drivers. It’s support for your entire operations.