How Carriers Are Paving the Way for Truck Drivers

Posted - September 15, 2015

How Carriers Are Paving the Way for Truck Drivers

It’s no secret that capacity is a topic that will remain top of mind for both shippers and carriers in the near future. And in honor of Truck Driver Appreciation Week, we’d like to explore what carriers are doing to provide truck drivers with an efficient and quality experience throughout their routes, especially in light of recent capacity and driver shortages. During the 2015 Transplace Shipper Symposium, we spoke with a number of carrier management executives in truckload, less-than-truckload (LTL) and intermodal transportation modes to hear their outlook on planning for capacity.

As capacity tightens, shippers want to be sure that carriers can efficiently deliver their freight on time and carriers in turn want to ensure they will have enough drivers to meet demand. Finding this delicate balance is no easy feat, but carriers also realize that a big part of meeting customers’ needs come at the hands of their truck drivers. In addition to saluting drivers throughout this dedicated week, they also show continual commitment by investing capital resources to ensure that drivers share a positive, consistent experience for the hours of service they put in.

Simplifying and making the truck driver’s complex job as smooth and efficient as possible is always at the forefront for carriers. Truck driving is a very demanding occupation, but carriers have been working on measures to ease the stress of drivers’ responsibilities. Many carriers have implemented or plan to implement a number of enhancements geared toward supporting their drivers, including:

  • Providing automatic transmission trucks: This allows drivers to focus more on driving rather than manually operating the vehicle.
  • Standardizing each terminal: By providing consistent pick-up and drop-off terminals, drivers will find all signage and processes are the same, providing a familiar routine along each route.
  • Driver advocacy programs: By instilling a detail-oriented, driver advocacy plan across the entire company, every department can work to enhance touchpoints with each driver to offer a high quality experience – from payroll processes to accessing route guides.

Carriers that use technology to forecast seasonal, expected and geographical upticks in demand enable a smoother process for drivers, while also allowing the carriers to direct their network and better serve their customers’ needs. This preparation can lead to benefits such as empty shipper container reduction and less congested terminals, and can also allow for appointment times to be more accurately scheduled for efficient ramp flow – all of which supports truck drivers day in and day out on the road.

In the video below, Brian Parham, vice president, operations, Celtic International, Chuck Powell, vice president, operations, Old Dominion Freight Lines, Brad Taylor, senior director, national sales, Con-way Truckload and John Lower, director, strategic carrier management, Transplace, discuss capacity planning topics and their strategies to get ahead of the crunch and keep drivers moving. Check it out!

What enhancements have you made to facilitate a smoother, more efficient experience for your truck drivers?