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Innovating R and R

By: Doug McElhaney, VP Innovation, ACS Expedited Solutions

When most people think of R and R, they think of rest and relaxation. However, this letter takes on an entire new meaning inside the trucking industry. The double R stands for recruiting and retention. With the driver shortage becoming worse, many carriers are now realizing their problem will not be solved by recruiting alone. Thus, enters innovation. Innovation is a wonderful tool which spreads new ideas and energy in an industry known for its status quo. With technology developing at record pace, many carriers are capitalizing on mixing innovation with technology. What are some of the technologies that are keeping drivers with their present carriers? This question is best answered by focusing on a driver’s quality of life. Being out on the road 275 days a year can take a lot out of a driver. The world of innovation needs to focus on delivering a better quality of life through these areas:

  • More home time
  • Faster pay
  • Real time traffic and routing options
  • In-cab technologies

With dispatch software becoming smarter, there needs to be some ideas where home time and utilization can be optimized. Let’s face it carriers have to make a profit, but with the right software a driver’s quality of life can be respected. Can you imagine making $1,200 dollars a week and seeing the house two to three times per week? Giving the driver the ability to stop and say hello and eat dinner with his family, goes a long way. Faster pay usually pertains more to owner-operators than company drivers. A constant cash flow is important with any business. With today’s technology, there is no reason why owner-operator payment should take over 30 days. A healthy cash flow gives the owner-operator the ability to pay bills on time and thus reduce financial stress.

One of the most difficult tasks of driving a truck is to find the right route to the shipper or consignee. Today’s technology and innovation is now looking at routes along with traffic conditions to enhance the driver’s decision making. With traffic studies becoming more intense, the difference of waiting five minutes to enter a city could realistically save a driver thirty minutes. Finding the fastest, safest and less congested path could have a positive impact on a driver’s stress level.

The last area of focus will be in-cab technologies. Trying to find a bank or post office with a large truck is not the ideal task. More companies are starting to focus on the in-cab aspect of the truck. In return, the driver’s lives will be improved through accessibility.

The driver’s job is to drive, route plan, process paperwork and maintain the vehicle. In order to make the driver’s job easier and less stressful, innovation has to improve the driver’s quality of life. When a carrier can distinguish itself with improving the driver’s quality of life along with adequate pay and benefits, the recruiting dilemma will be eased by retention. What other areas need to be addressed inside the trucking industry? There are many, but we will start with these areas. Stay tuned.

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