Hiring and retaining drivers has become much easier for Bright Mountain Trucking since it began employing a systematic approach to hiring and retention. Still, the specter of the driver shortage continues to rear its ugliness in the headlines.
“We need to change some driver requirements”, says Bud in a staff meeting. “We can get more drivers if we tweak our standards a bit.”
“Why do we need to do that now,” asks Fritz. “I thought we were doing okay. We’re 100 percent utilized.”
“ATA says turnover is reaching 106%. It’s getting worse. There’s steady growth in hauls but the number of available truckers isn’t growing. ATA is saying we’re 30,000 drivers short; other industry experts are saying 200,000, maybe 300,000 short. We got to do something or we’ll have a parking lot full of tractors with no drivers.”
“Do something. Like what?” asks Belinda.
“Well, we require an age of 23 for drivers and a year’s experience. If we dropped the age to 22 or 21, we’d get drivers before the other carriers can get them. We could ask for six months of experience instead of a year,” explains Bud.
“We have a rule that you can’t have more than 2 driving violations on your record in three years. If we raised that to 3 or 4 violations, we’d have more drivers to choose from.
Those are just a couple of examples…maybe we can take another look at accidents… but we just need to get a jump on what other carriers are doing so we have more drivers eligible to work for us”.
“So what you’re advocating is that we lower our standards for drivers so we can get more hired; is that right?” asks Jack, President of Bright Mountain.
“Lowering our standards sound harsh. We’re just trying to stay ahead of trends so we won’t be short.”
Jack’s not buying it. “It is lowering our standards. Getting a few more drivers on board isn’t worth it. Every time we allow a lower age or sanction minimal experience or permit more violations or more accidents, we raise our risk. It’s not worth it. In fact, we need to think more about getting better drivers, not worse drivers. They’re the ones who give good customer service, deliver on time, avoid accidents and make a bigger, better company.”
There were a mixture of nods of approval and questioning looks around the table.
Lou Graziani: creator of Bright Mountain Trucking
“transportation guru, training expert, and imagineer.”
This story continues…