The transportation industry experienced a rough 2020. It got hit harder than many other sectors of the economy, as the pandemic caused problems up and down the supply chain. Going into 2021, according to a recent survey, the top concerns for motor carriers are driver compliance, driver shortages and driver retention.
A proactive, automated communications system can work wonders for trucking companies. It helps increase retention, combat turnover, reduce high onboarding costs and track and resolve adverse driver behaviors.
Proactive communication to manage expectations, promote planning and head off potential issues is an established solution for raising employee morale, wellbeing and retention. Any number of easily found articles will tell you it not only follows common sense, but the concept has been verified by scientific studies.
It's true especially for the transportation industry. Drivers are isolated for long hours and generally feel underappreciated and disconnected. This leads to them continuously moving from one company to the next in search of that optimal work experience.
Just look at the numbers. Trucking companies experience an absurdly high turnover rate that goes well into the 90th percentile. Considering onboarding expenses can go up past $50,000 and the process may take 3 months or more, anything that can boost retention should be seized upon as a lifeline!
However, that brings us to the familiar "easier said than done" situation. The aim of getting the right messages to the right people at the right time is clear enough, but how exactly do you create and implement a more proactive way to communicate? One approach is to automate the process to make it very easy for all to use.
Using a platform like EOX Vantage's Enterprise Operating System (EOX), you can set thresholds and parameters based on real-time data that will kick off alerts and notifications. Since these mechanisms don't live on your transaction servers, data and operations can flow smoothly and faster with reduced turnaround times instead of straining resources. Actionable workflows can be attached to spur an appropriate and efficient response from relevant personnel, transforming an easy-to-miss note into an actual process facilitator.
For instance, you can set targeted dates for actions on the upcoming renewal for a driver's commercial license. Reminder alerts will be first triggered to the driver with instructions to respond to the chat note with updated license information to the safety/compliance managers.
You can set these alerts to then follow an escalation path to the driver manager and eventually dispatch staff, until compliance is met. Alerts can be integrated, routed and tracked through the EOX's Chat tool. Your data-triggered alerts become a call to efficient action!
Once you set up a data-based approach to driver score-carding and tie the feedback into driver behavior analysis, you'll start finding opportunities everywhere. Here are just a few examples:
- Send out a "congratulations on 250,000 miles without an accident!" or similar messaging frequently enough to help your drivers feel recognized and appreciated.
- Make contact to check how drivers are doing on the road, or find out when a potentially late shipment will be delivered and get answers back to the client.
- Happy drivers are safe drivers, so let dispatch know they should not schedule a driver after he's been on too many weekends in a row. Head off disgruntled team members and be known for caring about driver health and safety!