Who’s Managing Your Drivers
When searching for best practices in managing your shipments and carriers there is a lot of attention paid to things like technology, workflow management, compliance and reconciliation. While there is always the symbolic nod to “personnel management,” we’ve always been surprised how little attention is paid to what, in our experience, is the critical linchpin – The Driver.
Don’t get us wrong all of those things are vital to the execution of a world-class supply chain process. However, it doesn’t matter how well your supply chain process is designed if you’re not getting the best drivers.
After 30 plus years in the trucking/shipping industry, we’ve come to understand that your trucking company is only as good as its human resources. Interestingly, if you’re in a rush to vet a potential carrier, and you want the fastest way to do so, simply interview their HR leaders and ask them how they manage:
- Continual Improvement
- Job Satisfaction
Jim Collins shared a secret to organizational success in his landmark book Good to Great. He said one of the key ingredients was getting the right people on the bus, and the wrong people off. How are your partners ensuring that they get the right drivers on your bus?
In an industry that is suffering from a death of qualified talent entering the workforce, it is more important than ever that your carrier bring flawless training programs to the table. At the end of the day, it is the driver that represents your company and your brand. It is the driver that makes myriad decisions that can have a dramatic impact on your costs and efficiencies. You must make sure that your carrier is preparing its drivers to make the right decisions for you.
As the change in Hours of Services regulations demonstrate, the industry is under constant change. The business is getting increasingly complex, and the margins of error have virtually disappeared. As the saying goes, what got you here isn’t enough to get you where you want to go. Your carrier must be providing ongoing programs to ensure that drivers are always learning and improving.
Are your carriers’ drivers receiving an average salary with minimal benefits or competitive hourly wages? It’s something to consider in an industry where the average pay is roughly $50,000 and the barrier to entry is a CDL. The best drivers have choices and they require unique approaches to be kept happy. While a degree of turnover is endemic in the driver workforce, the ability to measurably reduce turnover has tremendous impacts on your cost structure.
And therein lies the critical perspective. Beware of price when making vendor decisions. One of the simplest ways to lower the direct price of your trucking services is to shortchange the driver. While this strategy works wonders when trying to win bids, its disruptive effects on your company make it the most costly.