Retaining employees is an ongoing endeavour for companies across sectors, and with good reason. Holding onto the talent you have is key to reducing business costs and improving company-wide performance. This is no different for businesses in the transport and logistics sector in South Africa. The alarming impact of skilled truck driver shortages in South Africa highlights the knock on effect this has on supply chains and the economic downfall on an increasingly important sector in South Africa.
Transportation of goods by road is a crucial component of South Africa’s transport system and economy. According to the Land Transport Survey, which was released by Statistics South Africa in 2018, 77.3% of freight categorised as land freight in South Africa is hauled on its roads, accounting for 73.8% of total land freight income.
Stellenbosch University and World Bank figures estimate that South Africa’s logistics sector is responsible for as much as 11.8% of the country’s gross domestic product, emphasising the importance of this crucial sector to the local economy.
Maintaining a strong driver workforce to meet demand has become increasingly important. Acute shortages of front-line truck drivers have directly impacted the supply chain. It is critical that companies nurture these valuable team members for long-term retention. Ensuring employees, particularly drivers, are happy is an initiative that every employer should take seriously.
The truck driver shortage is no secret. In fact, it’s been an ongoing issue for years. This driver shortage has a ripple effect on the economy as a whole, and businesses that rely on trucking services are feeling the pinch.
To what extent do these truck driver challenges affect organisations, and what are the available solutions? Let us explore these ideas further to find out! If you’re looking for a more hands-on approach, the MASA Specialist Drivers Division is ready to help. We are an industry-leading supplier of reliable drivers and driving solutions. Contact us now to learn more.
The High Cost of Driver Turnover
Drivers cite poor pay, insufficient revenue miles, and limited time at home as reasons for leaving their current roles. Many choose to switch employees, go solo as owner-operators, or leave the profession entirely.
For fleet management, the constant need to fill driver roles is costly. Onboarding just one driver can cost carriers in excess of R30 000 to R50 000, not to mention the initial productivity losses as the driver adjusts to new vehicle specs.
The True Price of Hiring vs. Retaining a Truck Driver
You might have an average cost for hiring each driver, but the price of taking on new truckers often is much higher than it seems. Besides hiring and training, you’ve also got:
- Recruiting costs
- The costs and losses of idle equipment
- Entry and exit
- Lost productivity
- Maintenance costs
- And more
Since driver turnover rates are high, it makes the overall hiring cost expensive. Each time a driver leaves, you have to start over with someone entirely new. And if you don’t have good recruiting and vetting processes in place, the cycle will just continue.
Here’s some solutions for Truck Driver Retention
One way to ease the strain of the driver shortage is to focus on retention. That is, keeping the drivers you have happy and employed with your company. Here are three ways to do just that:
1. Safety first
Keep trucks maintained, in excellent condition and continuously inspected. Truckers appreciate high-quality vehicles, and want to maximise uptime. In addition, the terminal location where drivers check in should reflect a clean, safe, and positive environment.
2. Understand the market for quality drivers and build compensation packages accordingly
Wages, as well as bonus structures, are accelerating rapidly as demand increases. You must remain continually competitive to attract and retain good drivers. Creative benefits, like providing streaming services, can help round out your offerings.
3. Stay in communication with drivers
This ensures that they understand the value of their job, can provide powerful feedback, and bring new ideas to management from their on-the-road perspective. Listening often is a valuable way to keep drivers happy and engaged.
4. Recognize high performance
When drivers go above and beyond in terms of safety, service, and productivity, provide incentives and formalized recognition programs to show your appreciation. It also makes sense to establish highly visible key performance indicators so both management and staff are working toward the same goals.
5. Use technology more effectively
Technology is a powerful tool that can help drivers find routes, use safer roads, and minimize traffic jam situations. Fleet tracking devices and transportation management systems can be used to optimize their drive. AI-powered dashcam programs that proactively help protect drivers from potential accidents can drive safety and compliance improvements.
Manufacturers, consumer goods companies, and retailers must get creative, smart, and strategically savvy when it comes to overcoming the challenges of supply chain demand through transportation effectiveness, and that includes a major consideration of how they attract and retain quality drivers.
While it’s becoming a balancing act between higher costs and meeting demands, one fact is certain—without a strong transportation system, backed by happy drivers, customers would not receive their products on time.
There is no quick fix, or silver bullet solution to truck driver retention. Instead, a range of strategies must be employed, and employed in an ongoing manner.
Start by considering drivers’ needs and supporting their wellbeing, acting on feedback, encouraging greater workplace connections and delivering engaging learning, and you’ll create an environment in which people truly feel safe, valued and are empowered to perform at their best, delivering the business results you desire.
MASA in it for the Long Haul
MASA is a leading national and international employment/staffing agency capable of effectively managing the vital elements of your employment/staffing needs. We are ready to facilitate seamless hiring and onboarding of new truck drivers for your company to maximise your logistic solutions.
Our national footprint and expertise allow us to deliver the finest temporary and permanent drivers for any industry or sector. We have supplied numerous companies with world-class drivers for over 40 years. With such a widespread network of regional offices, we can operate efficiently when meeting our client’s needs. Having a more extensive network of great drivers who display ideal characteristics, we can help companies hire the best possible people.