Last week, during the Food Shippers of America’s annual convention in Orlando, I was honored to moderate a driver panel. The content of the convention was very well done, and the speakers were all addressing the theme of the convention — “Rethink Everything.”
The drivers and I were appreciative of the time dedicated to hearing each respective drivers’ views and ideas to rethink the things that waste their time, ways to increase drivers coming into the market, and reduce the driver turnover. However, I must say that I believe we were somewhat “preaching to the choir.” The event featured mostly carriers and some shippers; it was desperately missing the receivers and brokers. I was very impressed with the conversation, and the thoughtful ideas that the panel suggested for rethinking! For those that might have missed the session or the convention in general, here’s key points to be shipper of choice with regards to the driver population:
- Rethink your pickup and delivery appointment policy. Windows that can accommodate the drivers’ delivery time. Give windows when possible. Eliminate onerous late delivery fees. Invest in people and software that tracks drivers’ delivery windows, and move things around as road challenges are incurred, and drivers proactively communicate.
- Move detention across all markets to one hour. The drivers are not interested a stiped penalty for abuse, they would rather get the supply chain to alleviate time for drivers in actually executing on the one hour in and out.
- Unload the trailers when required. Drivers hate the surprise that a dropped trailer is assumed empty, and it is not.
- Facilities with parking that are friendly to the driver community. Accommodations for restrooms, vending machines, and maybe even free coffee – strive to be the “Best in Class” for freight receivers.
- The surge of drivers being asked to complete a survey of each facility and visit is gaining traction. The drivers will be willing to do their job in completing the surveys, the carriers can supply the results, but the shippers and receivers need to know their scores and do something about it.
- Let’s go back to the Golden Rule with the human interaction at pickup and delivery: Treat drivers as you would want to be treated. If we are all in this together the better the supply chain will work for now and into the future.
We owe these drivers a debt of gratitude thru this pandemic. The supply chain still needs some attention, and let’s listen to the drivers versus the federal government coming in and adding their solutions.
Is that list of six items above that tough to complete? To those shippers and receivers that hold the notion that these ideas will lose their motivation when the proverbial “freight world turns,” I hope your crystal ball is short term, because I believe this supply chain challenge is very much long term, and the ability for all the players to gain more driving hours is a win for all participants. It just takes some rethinking!