It’s difficult enough to recruit experienced drivers—keeping them around is another matter entirely. In 2018, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) calculated driver turnover in large for-hire fleets to be 89% annually, while small truckload carriers saw a 73% turnover rate. Year after year, driver shortages and driver retention are named some of the most significant challenges facing the transportation industry.
As freight continues to move and aging drivers retire, we expect to see even higher demand for skilled drivers, more aggressive recruiting packages and increased internal attempts to improve retention. When it comes to the latter, you may find some unexpected opportunities with regard to your transportation management system (TMS).
Improving driver retention doesn’t have to mean an increase in expenditures. In fact, some of the same changes that will improve the driver experience will also allow you to increase productivity and conserve key resources like fuel.
Your choice of TMS software can play a key role in streamlining your operations, eliminating pain points and increasing truck driver retention. Here’s what a platform that properly addresses the needs of your enterprise can do for the driver experience.
4 Ways Transportation Management Software Impacts Driver Retention
1. Route and Load Optimization
Your interests align with those of your drivers—they want to do their jobs and get paid, and you want to avoid inefficiencies like excess downtime and deadhead. One of the most significant advantages of an end-to-end TMS platform is that it can drastically boost productivity on both of those fronts. And when it comes to specifically improving truck driver retention, that advantage is most obvious in the form of route and load optimization.
Trimble’s Dispatch Advisor helps fleets retain drivers through a reduction in empty miles. This load-matching optimization tool decreases the need for hours of manual matching, as well as the risk of errors associated with sorting through a large volume of drivers and equipment. The result? More drivers are matched with the right jobs and sent on the most efficient routes. This boosts equipment utilization, driver productivity and retention.
2. Driver Settlements
Slow billing and incorrect paychecks can quickly lead to a disastrous turnover rate. Ensure your drivers get paid accurately and on time by choosing transportation management software with fully-integrated accounting and billing capabilities. Trimble’s TMS offerings enable users to set up rule-based contracts that automate invoices and also provides easy-to-understand statements. Providing a clear avenue for communication and a smooth process for billing will go a long way toward keeping your current drivers happy and improving your fleet’s reputation—when it comes time to recruit more drivers, your excellent payment practice will speak for itself.
3. Accessible Information
Having access to driver-centric information such as Hours of Service (HOS) and visibility of inclement weather along their routes can help dispatch streamline communication with drivers to help them stay efficient on the road. Trimble’s transportation management software offers all of these necessary features and more, because we recognize how much transparency and clear communication can affect the driver experience.
When your drivers feel like communication goes both ways, they’ll be empowered to execute trips efficiently and actually utilize the communication tools available to them. The end result of a new TMS should be streamlined communication and improved truck driver retention across your organization.
4. Driver Analytics
You can learn an enormous amount of information from data—but the hard part is collecting and displaying it in a way that allows you to identify those key learnings. An efficient TMS will do the hard work of aggregating and illustrating information. The best part? These technologies are only getting smarter and more specific. From vehicle maintenance to driver turnover, AI and advanced algorithms are being developed and implemented to better predict key fleet, truck, and driver needs.
Look for software that makes use of predictive technology. This expanded capacity includes sentiment analysis, which allows back-office staff to better identify and understand drivers with an increased potential for turnover. Algorithms will match up key words in driver messaging with operational data, making it simpler than ever for fleet and load managers to understand how their drivers are feeling. If a driver’s mood, performance or other qualities begin to shift, this key element will enable the supervisor to address the issue and ideally retain the driver.
Is Your Transportation Management Software Encouraging Drivers to Stick Around?
When it comes to driver retention, is your TMS working in your very best interest? From driver and dispatcher apps to settlements and coaching, a modern TMS is the sum of its parts. Explore a scalable solution that is the right fit for your fleet--large, medium or small.
Ready to start improving driver retention with a powerful TMS platform? Contact us today to find out how.