A Good Routing App is the Best Solution for Driver Retention
Keith LaBotz - February 17, 2022
Routing optimization can significantly reduce transportation costs, carbon emissions, and raise customer satisfaction. Did you know it can also increase truck driver retention?
Companies with trucking operations understand the importance of retaining great drivers and the challenges of a chronic driver shortage. Each year the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) lists the top 10 issues facing the transportation industry. Driver retention is the second most crucial transportation issue, right after the truck driver shortage.
source: American Transportation Research Institute
The list reads like a driver complaint list and the interesting thing is, a good routing app can resolve several items listed. Wow.
Routing optimization can solve the biggest challenges facing the
If your goal is retaining good drivers, route optimization must be selected and implemented with a focus on driver satisfaction. Focusing on this will not only cultivate more loyalty but will strengthen their commitment to the project’s success and encourage them to drive continuous improvements.
In this post, you will learn how to use a routing optimization app to increase driver retention and transportation efficiency.
Think Like a Truck Driver
The first step is understanding transportation from the driver’s point of view. Ask a truck driver to explain the nitty-gritty details of pickup and delivery and about their pain points. Better yet, ride along with a driver to experience their world first hand. I did that early on in my career and it profoundly altered my view of logistics.
Truck drivers know the truth - transportation bows to the whims of weather, traffic, and unpredictable humans, not the CEO, customer, or master plan for a digital supply chain. Pragmatism rules and an experienced driver can smell buzz a mile away.
That’s why a driver can tell you how a routing app should work for your company’s situation and point out details no one considered. It's those little things that lead to big gains. This may just save your project from joining the 60% of IT failures that didn’t bother to ask a driver.
View Drivers as the Customer Interface
Who are Amazon, UPS, and DHL to you? For many people, these large multinational corporations are personified by the delivery driver they’re familiar with. I know it might seem hard to believable, but a driver is often perceived as more than a representative; they’re the face of the company in the eyes of some customers.
Drivers interact with customers, know their personalities, and vice-versa. Customers will judge your company on the appearance and attitude of its drivers. Just one more reason for promoting driver satisfaction in the routing optimization process.
View Transportation from the Driver's Perspective
Drivers have a different perspective of the transportation process, and it can reveal new opportunities. They operate in the gap between real-world chaos and the Pollyanna plans created by enterprise business systems. Lean logistics, KPIs, and operational metrics are gibberish in this zone.
All that matters is satisfying the delivery expectations of customers and business managers. Whoa. Isn’t this what a good routing app is supposed to do? Isn’t that the primary purpose of every supply chain?
Make Life Easier For Truck Drivers
A good routing app should make life easier for truck drivers. Ask a driver how you can make their routine easier and describe what that looks like. In addition to items listed in the ATRI report, here are a few common headaches for truck drivers to help you get the discussion going:
No relief from racing against the clock and fuel gauge.
Unexpected traffic snarls, inclement weather, and uncooperative humans constantly threaten to ruin the plan.
Facing upset customers who blame the driver for weather and traffic delays.
Facing upset managers who blame the driver for weather and traffic delays.
Verifying the accuracy of paperwork and packaging at every stop is a hassle.
Costly fines for violating driving regulations hang overhead like a cloud.
Finding parking can be difficult and waste time - especially in urban settings.
The stress from overtime, hurried breaks, and too much time away from home.
Look for Driver-Friendly Functionality
Driver Compliance: Compliance with driving regulations, like the ELD mandate and Hours of Service (HoS) rules in the US, and digital tachographs in the EU, make life difficult for drivers and transportation companies. It’s easy to forget about infringements, and an innocent slip-up can result in stiff penalties for the driver and transportation company. A good routing app removes this burden. For example, flexis ProfiTOUR automatically bakes these rules into each route, so delivery plans ensure compliance.
Appointment Accuracy: Software should consider scheduling parameters that affect appointment accuracy at each stop: drop-off hours, delivery windows, appointment times, holidays, traffic patterns, weather, road conditions, equipment requirements. Sequencing stops so appointments are easier to keep means fewer exceptions, less wait time, and drivers who greatly appreciate going home on time.
Dynamic Routing: Route plans and navigation systems must adjust in real-time as conditions change. Delays from traffic congestion, road construction, and inclement weather can quickly invalidate a route plan.
Without dynamic routing, a driver may attempt to get back on track by driving through backstreets. Fumbling around with a mobile phone to read mapping apps, communicate with dispatch, and call customers are all part of the act. Driver distractions are not only stressful but unsafe. Dynamic routing ensures success no matter how conditions change, allowing drivers to relax and safely focus on their mission.
Minimizing Wait Time: When a driver sits idle, each passing minute can feel like a pressure cooker. Waiting for dock time not only undermines the route plan, but it costs transportation operators and drivers. Truck drivers who are paid by the mile or job lose income when they are not driving. Wait time is reduced by routing software with dynamic routing and routing parameters for opening and closing times for pickups and deliveries.
Driver Equality: A driver may suspect dispatchers of assigning easier routes to others. Justified or not, gossip can undermine morale and higher driver turnover. Automated routing eliminates the possibility of favoritism, assuring drivers of fair treatment.
Maximizing Driver Earnings: An optimized routing plan reduces wasted time, maximizing productive miles and stops covered. More miles and stops can increase a driver’s income when their pay scale is based on miles or jobs.
Routing technology alone won’t increase driver retention, but your approach to routing optimization can. A good routing app like flexis ProfiTOUR fulfills the requirements presented and ProfiTOUR can reduce planning and scheduling labor costs by 60%.
Making life easier for truck drivers is good for them and your business. That’s what a good routing app should do.
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