As we enter 2018, fleet managers are addressing the issue of driver shortages that has been a hot topic in the industry for several years. Delivery work remains a challenging job that many underestimate. With this lack of understanding has come a divide between seasoned fleet drivers and new recruits. The best way to avoid the dangers of an under-skilled group of drivers – and actually cultivate your workers into becoming your greatest asset – is to implement a comprehensive training programme.
A Better Business Model
The positive effects of investing in an intensive training programme are simply a matter of common sense. Improved driver performance equals an improved company reputation which in turn increases profits. Making delivery work a lucrative and viable option for the Millennial generation is both possible and absolutely in the best interest of haulage companies.
The first step in creating a comprehensive driver training programme is to identify and utilise the tools that you already have. Use, and enhance, the telematics data that your fleet already employs to identify areas of weakness within your drivers’ behaviours. For example, if your drivers consistently exceed speed limits in an effort to expedite their delivery work, analyse its impact on fuel consumption and use any predictive risk assessment data that you have to calculate the probability of accidents.
By increasing monitoring systems with the use of the latest technology, managers can better understand and prioritize where and when to implement training protocols that best suit their employees’ needs.
Once managers identify their fleet’s particular priorities, it is important to gain the support and commitment of upper management in the implementation of in-depth training programmes. A multi-disciplinary approach will ultimately appeal to a variety of learning styles and personalities.
As with any learning process, consistency and commitment are imperative. With a new generation on the cusp of entering the world of delivery work, it is important for fleet managers to lay down a concrete foundation of expectations for everyone.
Ultimately, a haulage company’s greatest assets should be its employees. The investment in their training is an investment in the company’s future. Programmes should incorporate performance evaluations, refresher courses and incentives to excel in necessary skills. The payback will not only affect a company’s bottom-line in a positive way, but will also increase the safety of our roads for everyone.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching delivery work with available drivers. Over 4,800 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.