The growing consensus is that trucking is now facing a truckload capacity crunch. For carriers, that means driver recruitment and retention is even more crucial to their business.
One simple way to keep drivers happy, while also providing useful and cost-effective tools, is to provide a smartphone or tablet, or help them pay for a data plan if they already have one. While this may seem like a big investment, think about the cost of recruiting a new driver, which averages $5,000 per driver, not to mention any lost revenue from unutilized assets.
There are a multitude of apps that drivers can use on the road that will make their lives easier. For example, our free app, MyDAT Trucker, provides fast access to nearby truck stops, fuel prices, service stations, Walmart locations, CAT scales and trucker-friendly hotels.
For owner operators and smaller trucking companies, MyDAT provides the added bonus of the ability to find nearby loads on the DAT Network. Some drivers may even use this free tool to work with dispatchers to identify potential back hauls.
Other apps can provide help with navigation – for example, Google Maps now includes real-time traffic reporting. Google recently purchased Waze, another app that allows drivers to report traffic incidents, and Google Maps is now taking that data into account. This could help drivers foresee traffic problems. MyDAT also incorporates Google Maps in-app for easy routing to any of the listed amenities and waypoints.
Mobile devices can also help with one of the biggest challenges for any OTR driver, staying in touch with their family and friends. Apps like Skype, Google Hangouts, Apple's Facetime on iPhones, Facebook and other social networks can help long-haul drivers stay more connected with their home life.
Other beneficial applications include:
- Driver Workflow: It’s getting easier and easier to get business done on the road as technology improves. Document scanning apps and cloud-based document storage can help keep paperwork issues in-line.
- Health: Health is a top concern among drivers, and there are plenty of apps that can help, including fitness and nutritional apps.
- Entertainment: Entertainment options are endless, with music, movies, TV and more to keep drivers entertained in their down time.
The number of drivers using smartphones (instead of “dumb phones”) has been growing steadily as carriers and drivers realize the benefits. If your fleet isn’t part of that growing segment yet, take some time to investigate; it could help you keep drivers around, which in this day and age is the most important challenge facing the industry.