With a driver shortage in the logistics sector, Peter Millichap, UK marketing director at Teletrac Navman, is encouraging operators to leverage technology to attract and retain talent, whilst boosting operational efficiencies.
Currently, the UK needs approximately 50,000 additional drivers in order to fill the vast number of industry vacancies. With such a high demand for qualified drivers, the shortage is a concern for not only fleet operators, but for the entire UK supply chain as a whole.
Last year alone, more than 1.36 billion tonnes of goods were transported by road in the UK – a figure that has continued to rise over the past decade. To keep up with ongoing demand, fleet businesses across the county need to be extremely proactive in their approach to tackling talent shortages, whilst simultaneously improving operational efficiencies wherever possible to ensure we keep Britain moving.
Indeed, it is well known that the industry struggles to attract younger drivers, with only 1% of drivers being under the age of 25. However, operators who stay ahead of the technology curve with innovative training, driver reward programmes and new tech-enabled tools can ensure they are best placed to attract new, younger talent into the business.
In the era of digital transformation, younger generations now expect to work in a fully connected environment, so operators will soon be left behind if they do not incentivise prospective drivers with the latest tools and tech the industry has to offer. Equally, investing in the latest technological solutions will deliver better job satisfaction for existing drivers too, so the benefits are twofold.
Investing in fleet management software is an essential place to start. From digital tachographs that reassure staff you are following driver hours regulations, to installing in-cab mobile solutions that improve communication whilst out on the road, the latest telematics technology improves connectivity between drivers and management, and enable staff to feel valued and safe. In addition to appealing to drivers, communicating with your workforce and monitoring in real-time will improve your day-to-day business operations and boost productivity, also.
A note of caution, however: if you do take steps towards new tech-driven solutions, make sure existing workers are upskilled with adequate training. Paper methods of record keeping will soon be outdated – and whilst some colleagues will inevitably need some convincing that new technology is the way forward,if you do not take the time to bring them up to speed and train them how to use new equipment, they might feel out of their depth and de-motivated by such changes.
Additionally, using data-driven insights to incentivise drivers is a great way of attracting and retaining talent. Telematics data can provide a very clear picture of driver behaviour, notifying operators and drivers of any safety breaches (such as speeding or harsh braking), giving drivers the chance to improve performance with bespoke training. Managers can then utilise that data to create their own incentivised programmes, rewarding good driver behaviour to encourage progress. Not only do training programmes boost morale for existing staff, they can prove attractive to prospective drivers too and can set you apart from the competition.
Finally, it is not just drivers that reap the benefits of telematics technology. From fleet managers to customer service teams within any logistics business, telematics streamlines efficiencies for numerous roles by greatly increasing visibility.
Ultimately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to attracting and retaining employees, and the tactics you deploy will largely depend on the needs and scale of your business. Whatever your needs are though, telematics technology plays a fundamental role in the future and success of fleet management.
 RHA statistic 2017
 Road Freight Statistics 2018
 Road Freight Statistics 2018