As the economy slowly recovers from the crash of 2008, the trucking industry continues to face growing pains. In an industry primarily built and maintained by baby boomers, fleet oriented businesses are noticing more and more drivers are reaching retirement age and fewer drivers are coming out of trucking schools.
Many believe the primary cause of driver shortages within the trucking industry is due to wages. According to the American Trucking Association (ATA) the industry will face a shortage of 200,000 qualified drivers in the next ten years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics show there has been a 6% decrease in annual pay, currently shy of $50,000 a year for fleet operators in the past decade.
Neil Irwin of the New York Times believes the driver shortage is a simple economics lesson, “…when supply isn’t enough to meet demand, it’s because the price— in this case, truckers’ wages — is too low.” Irwin believes corporate America would rather focus on why there is a shortage instead of providing drivers with a meaningful wage. Irwin goes on to say drivers with safe records can make more than the average income stated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As businesses continue to experience growth, fleet managers will continue to feel the pressures of driver shortages, resulting in stunted growth and plummeting stock prices. Swift, a transportation company located in Phoenix, Arizona recently experienced close to an 18% decline in their stock price to which the company stated, “Our driver turnover and unseated truck count were higher than anticipated.” With many businesses in a similar position, fleet managers are proactively looking for ways increase driver retention.
Fleet managers can help increase driver satisfaction by implementing GPS tracking software. With GPS tracking, drivers can effectively communicate with dispatchers with pre-set messages, getting from point A to point B with turn-by-turn navigation, and easily conduct their vehicle inspections via driver vehicle inspection reporting. GPS tracking software allows fleet managers to track harsh acceleration, harsh braking, stop sign violations and other key performance metrics arming them with information needed to address poor driving and provide training.
With GPS tracking, software managers can create a working environment for drivers in which they are more inclined to stay. Providing driving incentives and constructive feedback in addition to driver training result in a safer and more efficient fleet.