Last week, TCA member Workhound reported the results of a nationwide driver survey. The takeaway for me was the driver feedback, and the focus on fleets to do a better job at valuing the time drivers are available to work. In short, the waiting time they incur during their jobs is one of the main reasons that drivers switch carriers. Under “Pay Comments,” 36.3% noted “Wasted Time” as their biggest concern. Additionally, 49.7% said the “Planning and Scheduling” that fleets do contributes as well. Drivers constantly talk about how their fleets and managers respect the time they are working. That time working involves the driving time, waiting time between loads, detention at docks, breakdown time, and wasted time chasing trailers.
This report reiterates the dynamics that we are currently seeing in this business. When asking most fleet planners, their main responsibility is to manage the load intake with respect to the truck availability. Often, they do this difficult task with software that helps track loads, both open and incoming trucks. They plan these trucks to meet the dynamic load input from their customers. We have objective measures we track inside complicated software that looks at miles of loads, deadhead miles, fuel routing, as well as toll analysis that helps the planner match the load to the best truck. However, the current state of that driver in the truck turns to a subjective conversation between said driver and the driver manager after the load has been dispatched. In my humble opinion, this key component of balancing fleet trucks to fleet loads will need to go through a substantial change. As noted throughout the Workhound survey, and many other evaluations of the state of driver turnover, respecting the driver’s time is crucial to keeping your driving force happy and retained.
Planners need to change from planning trucks to planning drivers. As an industry we need to flip the concern we measure regarding trucks such as routed miles, deadhead miles, fueling, maintenance, and appointments to driver hours, home time commitments, driver preferred routing, and even some scale of driver attitude and expectations. Plan the driver for the least amount of sitting, and the most adherence to meeting their expectations on a day-to-day basis. Planners should have tools that measure driver details versus truck details. I believe that these practices will ensure and reinforce a fleet’s dedication to management of the driver’s time versus the truck’s miles.