The US trucking industry has recovered well from the 2009 recession, adding jobs and increasing pay consistently over the past five years. In recent months, growth has sped up dramatically, adding 7,400 workers to the industry in June alone, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The trucking industry has marked an important milestone, now employing more people than it did before the recession.
However, before celebrating this victory, there is still work to be done. The economy has picked up at a rate where the trucking industry cannot fulfill demand. And American trucking is still short 35,000 to 40,000 drivers, according to the American Trucking Associations (ATA).
Better pay and improved benefits have acted as a catalyst in this new wave of driver recruitment and recent growth in employment. In comparison to past years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics counted a total of 13,000 jobs added in the spring of 2013, among the 100,000 carriers it tracks. That is a respectable number, but it was topped in the spring of 2014, which saw 15,700 jobs added. These figures were in turn dwarfed by 2015, in which in the same three month period 18,900 new jobs were added.
Don’t let the numbers fool you. The driver shortage crisis still exists. And for many carriers, the booming employment numbers mean that finding and retaining talented drivers just got competitive.
Businesses everywhere are incorporating the latest technology to better their operations. For a trucking fleet, incorporating GPS tracking software can open opportunity to successfully compete for new talent.
In order to offer higher driver salaries, some carriers have to compensate their budgets in other areas of operations. However, carriers that use GPS tracking software can almost immediately see a substantial savings in their fleet with actionable data that encourages the chances of maintaining a strong workforce.
Among some of the greatest costs a fleet can accumulate are excess vehicle usage resulting in high maintenance costs, and fuel waste due to speeding, idling or harsh braking. Tracking these business inefficiencies with a wide range of shareable performance reports and replay safety events can help improve training and coaching drivers to improve their performance. They can also give insight to fleet managers to identify which drivers are performing well so that they can be rewarded with driver incentives.
Other helpful tools include two-way messaging where drivers can quickly communicate with dispatch while out on the road and avoid unnecessary routing that can cause major delays. GPS tracking software can also provide electronic driver logs and vehicle inspection reports that can be automatically submitted straight from the in-cab tablet, eliminating timely paper logs.
Combating driver shortage does not need to be difficult. GPS tracking software offers an opportunity to automate everyday tasks that may cause delays in service and driver frustration.