The American Trucking Association estimates that the 2021 driver shortage capped at 80,000 drivers. According to experts, if this current trend continues, the trucking industry could need more than 160,000 drivers by 2030. Combined with the pandemic and the supply chain crisis, the truck driver shortage is causing major bottleneck issues in delivery. It is important for consumers and entrepreneurs alike to know what to expect in the coming years.
Issues impacting the trucking industry include supply shortages, skyrocketing prices and labor shortages. Most if not all of these problems can be traced back to Covid-19. It is especially prevalent in the labor shortage, where long-haul truck drivers are more susceptible to Covid-19 due to the distance they travel and the number of people they interact with
Scientists warn that because of these conditions, it is possible the virus will create a Covid-19-based truck driver syndemic(disease cluster). Safety concerns in the industry are huge, as companies scramble to create safer and cleaner work environments without sacrificing efficiency and truckers debate vaccinations.
Freight issues heading into 2022 and the future can be solved with tech solutions. There are a few specific steps that truck companies should take in order to begin the journey toward implementing emerging freight technology. First, companies might want to consider serious investments in new technologies for their fleets to make them more efficient.
Powertrains are an example of freight technology that can reduce fuel consumption. Due to their smaller and lighter engines, powertrains are faster and more efficient than other freight options.
Companies must also prioritize driver safety and comfort with these new technologies.
Companies must prioritize drivers.
If trucking companies want to retain drivers, they must prioritize improving driver experiences in the new year. Adequate pay remains a top issue in the trucking industry, especially in a pandemic-ridden world. Truck drivers deserve fair compensation, as well as safe work environments and adequate rest areas.
Providing a better overall experience for truckers is vital to keeping the industry afloat. Companies must also focus on their retention and recruitment efforts to optimize driver workflow. Trucking companies that incorporate fleet management, workflow and route optimization software could achieve increased operational efficiency as well asseamless, lower-stress driver experiences.
Studies have proven that companies that prioritize driver comfort see fewer drivers suffering from highway fatigue. There are different technologies companies can utilize for driver safety and comfort. One example is implementing seats with reduced pressure points. Companies can also prioritize the well-being of their truck drivers by implementing wellness checks and supplying PPE.
How can trucking companies utilize technology?
New tools and innovations that focus on predictive analysis and automation are extremely beneficial. One such tool is the use of autonomous tracking. This refers to when companies utilize technology to create vehicles that have the ability to evaluate road conditions and improve fuel efficiency. By incorporating these tools while planning for 2022, fleets and drivers can be better prepared for potential delays and more effectively optimize routes.
According to Avi Geller, CEO of Maven Machines, trucking companies must utilize training and education. Some of Geller's examples include events, reward-based initiatives and even social media posts to increase and improve proper technology adoption and use.
Challenges of implementing freight technology include a lack of data standardization, fear of long-haul investment and pandemic safety concerns. Data standardization is key, especially for the freight industry, where millions of data points are created daily. Lack of standardization can be a challenge that leads to worthless sets of data.
Fear of long-term investments is also one of the main challenges keeping companies from realizing their full potential with freight technologies. However, with a successful implementation of technology comes a return on investment.
The success of the implementation of new technology should be measured in efficiency, reduced costs and labor and staff morale. Especially when it comes to the trucking industry, driver safety and comfort are so important to the overall success of the supply chain.
In the upcoming year, fleets should continue to prioritize fully automated software within real-time route optimization and supply chain planning. Trucking companies that capitalize on data-driven route optimization software will see tremendous gains in knowledge and efficiency.
Disruptions in the supply chain crisis are not expected to be resolved in 2022. To ease the burden in the meantime, companies must prioritize driver well-being and new technologies. By investing in new fleet add-ons, as well as driver safety and cleanliness, companies can raise their efficiency and profit rates while beginning to unclog the current supply chain mess.