Seven ways to become a shipper of choice [Infographic]
By: Phil Sneed
The shipping industry is known for fragmentation, and the patchwork nature of carrier organizations across the country leads to intense competition between carriers for limited driver talent. The fight for drivers is fierce, and will only intensify in the coming years. The shipping industry is already short at least 35,000 drivers, according to recent data from the American Trucking Associations, and the demand for truck transport continues to grow. This pushes prices upward and forces shippers to compete for drivers’ loyalty.
The Journal of Commerce found the inability to find enough drivers is the biggest barrier to improved capacity in trucking during the next year. With that in mind, carriers need to consider how they can attract and retain drivers to meet their shipping needs. Money talks, and consistent and prompt driver payment should be a top priority for shipping organizations that want to maintain capacity.
A worsening issue
Pervasive driver turnover provides an indication of how entrenched the driver shortage is in the American shipping industry. Unfortunately, turnover rates are skyrocketing, and carriers need to find ways to retain a higher percentage of their talent if they want to keep pace with capacity demands.
Recent data from the ATA found the driver shortage was becoming more pronounced and turnover had hit new heights in the past 12 months. While the industry saw minor declines in turnover for less than truckload transportation and large carriers, small-shipping carriers experienced an 11 percent increase in year-over-year turnover. Small and large carriers had to replace 90 percent or more of their driver staff on average during the past year. Clearly, retention should be major focus for any transportation company, but the best way to encourage employees to stay remains unclear.
Timely payments are key
While increasing the amount of money drivers are paid can be a powerful incentive to retain driver talent, timely and consistent payment may be even more important. Truck driving is a profession full of uncertainty, so anything a carrier can do to eliminate unpredictability in drivers’ lives will be welcomed.
Software provider Lean Logistics pointed out how important consistency in payments is to drivers, and emphasized that sometimes it is the intangible benefits, such as a friendly service and on-time payment, that make drivers loyal to a certain carrier organization. To keep your organization ahead of future capacity constraints, emphasize competitive driver rates and quick payment.