Anyone who arrives at a Trucking Company for Orientation has come for only one reason. Nobody drives for a living just for the pure joy of driving a big rig, it's all about money. The new hire has an expectation to drive for a living that will enable them to put food on their family's table. It's a simple fact of economics which based on driver turnover statistics, trucking companies do not understand.
According to numerous articles written under the heading of Driver Turnover the numbers are on the rise.
The annualized turnover rate for large truckload fleets rose two percentage points in the fourth quarter of 2015 to 102 percent — the second straight quarter it was at least 100 percent and the first such streak since 2012. ~ Trucking News Online.
The fact that Trucking Media is reporting this indicates that it is a real problem within our industry but it seems to me that the solution is closer at hand than most companies realize.
As one half of a Truck Driving Team with a Dedicated Route I am not planning to become part the Driver Turnover Statistic. I am making good miles and am capable of putting food on my family's table with some left over for the Savings Account. However, not very long ago I found myself in a truck as a Solo Driver, my wife was sick at the time and I found it hard to get the miles I needed to keep my family fed. It was a sobering time because I had been separated from my fellow drivers who were suffering with low miles and I was relearning what it meant to run solo and be left to sit for too long wasting my time.
At the beginning of our week we have a number of federally mandated hours available to work. These hours represent our potential which is either used or wasted. A driver who arrives at a customer, makes the delivery and is left to sit for the rest of the day while someone looks for another load is not only wasting the driver's potential, they are wasting the company's potential too and once gone it can never be recovered.
I have read many articles about Driver Turnover but have yet to see it referred to as "Poor Driver Potential Management".
I am not about to quit and add myself as a Driver Turnover Statistic, why not? Because my potential is being well managed, I am not wasting time. I run all week and come home at the weekend. My wife and I hit the road and don't stop until we come home at the weekend. The only time we sit anywhere is while waiting at one end of our run for our load to be ready and the only reason we have to wait there is because we don't waste time on the way, preferring to be at the customer taking a nap or catching up with email.
Turnover at LTL Companies is far less than at OTR Companies. LTL Drivers go home most days and are in most cases at home every weekend. Its more like a regular job to those Drivers. OTR Drivers are away from home making a living to provide for their families, they don't want to sit around anywhere, they are at work 24 hours a day for weeks at a time and if left sitting they are wasting their time and wondering if giving up a regular family life is really worth it.
If we are to reduce turnover which makes our industry unstable, we have to address the waste of Driver Potential. Properly managed potential benefits both the Driver and the Company bottom lines so I can't imagine why it is being ignored.
Happy Drivers don't leave, busy Drivers don't add to the Driver Turnover Statistics. Make it worth staying out on the road and we will immediately notice a dip in the Turnover levels. Keep it up and the dip will become deeper and more permanent. We wont ever see everyone happy but we can't suffer under these numbers anymore. Fix this because Drivers don't leave for a better job if they already have it.
Just a Thought.