Editor's Note: The following blog post was written by Chuck Melton, Owner of Melton Technologies. MTI is a leading provider of trucking software, covering all aspects of fleet management operations, from dispatch operations to billing and settlements to maintenance and driver compliance.

In this blog, Mr. Melton describes how the transportation industry has evolved and why it is mission critical to focus on engaging your drivers. 

Today's Truck Driver

The trucking industry is facing a multitude of issues in 2015, but that’s not so unusual when you look at the past. My entire career has been spent both in the trucking industry or serving the trucking industry, and at the risk of dating myself, I have seen some major changes over the years.

The trucking industry I entered out of college was basically a government sponsored oligopoly, meaning the industry was run by a group of powerful trucking companies who were allowed to collectively set rates. The truck driver was likely to be a member of the Teamsters Union and was extremely well paid compared to workers in the rest of the economy.The problem with this system was since the carriers could pass through their increased labor costs by increasing their rates collectively, this system was cited as one of the primary reasons for the inflation woes of the late 70s.

This system was abolished with The Motor Carrier Act of 1980 and most of the unionized carriers of that time are gone. Today’s truck driver no longer makes more than his or her fellow workers and in 2015, we find ourselves in an economy where drivers are leaving the industry at a much higher rate than they are entering it.

Why Truck Drivers are Leaving Their Employers

Most industry surveys put the truck driver shortage as one of the major issues facing the industry. So why are drivers leaving? 

There are many reasons cited.  Among these are: 

  • Pay is not good enough to be frequently away from home
  • Tougher regulations imposed by the Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) Program
  • The EOBR/ELD Mandate (requiring in-cab devices to track driver logs)
  • The “Big Brother“ effect of in-cab technology

ATA Overview of Driver Shortage Trends

 ATA Overview Fleet Owner Technology 

How Technology Can Increase Driver Engagement

Unfortunately, although it certainly isn’t the only problem, technology is perceived to be part of the problem. As a technology provider for the industry for many, many years this is very troubling.  However, we believe you can also use technology to reverse this trend. Here are some ideas on how you might use technology in the trucking industry to reverse those trends:

Create a Driver-Friendly Website

Use your website to profile drivers, discuss driver issues, and talk about things that might interest them, other than the job. 

Actively Engage Your Drivers through Social Media

Pam Transport actually hired a social media specialist, Shaylan Harris, who serves as a driver advocate within the company, speaks with drivers daily and maintains their social media platforms. Consider creating a Facebook and/or Twitter account for your company.

Bring Your Drivers into the IT Discussion

Today’s transportation IT systems must develop more driver based interfaces and include the driver in those discussions. What can we do to make his or her life better and more productive? Mutually create reward systems to recognize drivers who are performing at a high level. 

Consider Cloud-Based Technology

The business world is steadily moving from desktop systems to cloud-based systems.  These systems are ideal to incorporate any device or mobile user into the system and are great platforms for better integration of the driver into your IT system.

Transportation - 5 Tips to Increase Driver Engagement - C.A. Short Company

Create More Transparency

Drivers want to know they are being treated fairly.  Without divulging corporate secrets, provide as much information to the driver as possible. Detail his/her pay information, how it was calculated, and ensure fairness.

The most successful fleet owners must use every tool in their arsenal to recruit and keep quality drivers.  We, as technology providers, owe it to the fleets we serve to help them use technology to attract drivers not to push them away. Fleet owners and managers are our partners in addressing this very serious issue.

MTI is a leading provider of trucking software, covering all aspects of fleet management operations, from dispatch operations to billing and settlements to maintenance and driver compliance. MTI has recently developed a cloud application to integrate technology and transparency into the driver relationship in order to engage drivers and create winning teams. For a complimentary demo or to learn more - click here!


About the Author

Chuck Melton

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


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