It’s a classic conundrum that many business owners find themselves facing: where should resource investments go? Should employees be the focus, or should infrastructure be the focus? As a fleet manager, you have likely had to deal with the same challenge in deciding whether to pay more attention to driver needs as opposed to the needs of your fleet. The issue is further complicated when you look at it as a chicken-and-egg scenario; if your drivers aren’t happy, you won’t have anyone to drive the fleet, but if the fleet isn’t taken care of, the drivers won’t have work and will be unhappy.
Although it can seem daunting when trying to balance these two factors, the simple answer is that your drivers are more important in the equation. Why? Because you can replace parts on a truck, it’s very hard to replace dedicated, hardworking employees. As you may have already felt yourself, the driver shortage has proven that it can be quite difficult to retain top talent, and as a result, many fleet managers have been left scrambling to come up with ways to keep drivers happy.
How Technology Factors into Driver Satisfaction
One of the most popular solutions that fleet managers have been employing is the addition of technology, both at headquarters and in trucks. Many of today’s drivers, especially younger ones, rely so much on technology for everyday tasks. As a result, they expect to be able to enjoy technology on the job. On top of that, today’s trucking technology, including cloud-based software services, creates greater efficiency, allowing drivers to get more done with less hassle. Drivers also like to use technology to keep in touch with loved ones while on long runs. For example, video conferencing technologies have greatly advanced in the past five years, and drivers can now have face-to-face conversations with family and friends on the road.
But Does Your Fleet Matter?
Although keeping your drivers happy should be your top priority, your fleet does matter. As mentioned, finding the right balance can be a struggle, but you can actually kill two birds with one stone by keeping your fleet updated with new technologies. Because drivers prefer to work at companies that employ modern tracking technologies, you can keep them happy and maintain your fleet by taking advantage of things like EOBRs and cloud computing. Using cloud computing can allow you to receive important information about the number of hours that a particular truck has been on the road in between servicing, but it can also give your drivers the ability to quickly send back billing information from clients, allowing them to have payments processed faster, leading to happy drivers who are more likely to stick with your company for the long haul.
What are some ways you use to keep your drivers happy? Do you agree that your drivers are the most important element? Leave your comments below to sound off, and don’t forget to share this content on Facebook, Twitter, and your other social media accounts.
About the Author
Chuck Melton is a pioneer in the transportation technology field. Founder of one of the early PC-Based trucking software companies – Integrated Transportation Software in 1984, he developed one of the first links to satellite-based onboard systems including Qualcomm’s (at the time) OmniTracs system. He sold the assets to Qualcomm and has managed a successful software company for over 30 years serving trucking companies across the nation.
Chuck continues to see plenty of pioneering opportunities to create value for trucking companies. With the advent of web-based database systems, low-cost EOBRs, tablets, and smartphones, the 21st-century trucking company can become a seamless part of the supply chain… anywhere, anytime on any device! READ MORE