Trucking executives are casting their nets wider for solutions to help them solve the burgeoning driver shortage.
As reported by Fleet Owner, executives from large and small carriers from many different segments offered up their experiences at the annual FTR Transportation Conference in Indianapolis.
Many fleet execs agreed: higher pay, designing more driver-friendly schedules, and cultural changes are all being viewed as critical solutions.
“Clearly the problem of the driver shortage only going to get worse; the demographics are shrinking and total labor pool is smaller,” noted Derek Leathers, president and COO of Werner Enterprises.
“So we’re spending a tremendous amount of thought on this problem: not only on pay and providing a great truck to drive, but the importance of the day-to-day terminal network – and that depends on the customer,” he stressed. “Our trucks have wheels and we’ll roll them to the customer that supports us.”
Leathers added that Werner is now “pricing for shipper practices” and will in some cases walk away from business if it impacts the company’s drivers too much.
“We simply cannot afford to put drivers in a situation where we’ll lose him or her over shipper practices.”
Even specialty operations are trying to change things up to make their truck driving jobs more appealing.
“Economics are a big piece, of course, but home time and work schedule predictability is our focus,” explained Randy Strutz, president of quality control for Florida-based Quality Carriers, which employs 2,500 drivers and operates a fleet of 6,000 tanker trailers.
“We’re now trying to change our business model: now we start our planning with the idea of getting a driver home every night. That means more relay systems in some of lanes,” he said.