Of all the lessons learned from the pandemic, the critical role of supply chain workers remains among the most significant. Simply put, without the people keeping things moving, the supply chain suffers. Truckers are among supply chain workers who represent industry resilience, ensuring deliveries and shipments are fulfilled before, during and after COVID-19.
However, protecting truck drivers has become less of a thought and more of a formality in the new normal. We looked to Avi Geller, CEO and founder of Maven Machines, to give us an idea of exactly how truck drivers are handling the new logistics climate and what companies can do to further protect, support and retain their workers.
“The pandemic has had a substantial impact on the trucking industry, requiring fleets to accelerate digital transformation efforts like the widespread adoption of data and AI-based technologies,” Geller said. “Increased demand since 2020, coupled with an ongoing driver shortage, has forced fleets to reevaluate processes, plans and current levels of efficiency. Route optimization and planning technology can automatically provide managers with the best possible plans by considering variables such as traffic, road quality and weather. As route optimization tech becomes more advanced, driver preferences and proficiencies can also be taken into account as variables in machine learning algorithms.”
Geller goes on to explain that in 2021, the stakes are higher than ever before. Companies no longer have room for error when it comes to compliance and transport conditions. And with the surge of demand in pharmaceutical transportation for the COVID vaccine, the transportation sector is under even more pressure to quickly deliver vaccines at accurate temperatures while keeping employees safe. Utilizing technology solutions to keep up with demand and meet shipment requirements will be a significant game-changer for many.
“Companies must ensure that their drivers adhere to compliance mandates and delivery timelines,” Geller observes. “For instance, COVID-19 vaccines require super cold storage temperatures. Drivers carrying vaccines must follow the appropriate shipping protocols and reach their destinations on time to prevent costly disruptions to the super cold supply chain. More than ever, drivers are relying on fleet management software to increase productivity and using route optimization and workflow technologies to their advantage.”
If retaining drivers was not already an issue, recruiting qualified drivers continues to be a pain point for the trucking industry. And with COVID-19 now in the mix, fleet managers are seeing more of their drivers leaving and a shortage of talent to quickly replace them.
“The trucking industry’s largest challenge today is the shortage of qualified drivers,” Geller says. “We cannot afford to lose drivers, but more are leaving the field than we are able to replace. We need to continue to find ways to revitalize the driver workforce and encourage people to join the profession. The pandemic has only highlighted our dependency on these employees, who are some of the economy’s most essential workers.”
Geller reiterates the importance of providing drivers with an experience that stands out from competing sectors, including providing accommodative tech solutions to minimize redundancies and maintain driver safety as a priority instead of an afterthought.
“To stop the driver attrition and attract more drivers, fleets must prioritize the driver experience—and the right technology can help them do so,” he says. “Route optimization, ELD, and fleet workflow software foster a safer, more productive work environment by providing drivers with the fastest routes, automating the most tedious tasks, ensuring compliance, and presenting stop-based forms and step-by-step workflows that help them progress smoothly through their assigned trips and ETAs. By better positioning drivers for success, fleets can improve driver satisfaction and give drivers opportunities to be rewarded with pay increases and safety bonuses, which could lead to increased driver recruitment and retainment.
Streamlining operations and communications in the new normal is simply not an option for companies that want to last. The phases of adaptation are behind us.”
Those companies that are left standing in 2021 must continue to advocate for workers while providing a competitive edge for customers through the effective use of technology and automation. Geller’s company, Maven Machines, puts drivers first with their specialized and tailored solutions that optimize operations starting at dispatch all the way through.
“Maven Machines provides fleets with solutions that increase efficiency and elevate their drivers’ work experiences,” he says. “Our solutions for dispatch, route planning, workflow, ELD and fleet management software facilitate driver and trip management while also meeting each fleet’s unique set of operational needs. By eliminating outdated legacy solutions and processes, we are helping to increase fleet success, including driver performance.”
Among the applications tailored specifically for drivers are large, color-coded buttons, alerts, document imaging tools and other utilities that drivers can rely on for communications. Geller states that this technology provides a safe, reliable way for drivers to focus on driving and still manage communications expectations.
“A streamlined messaging system for drivers to communicate with managers, along with other smart features and intuitive user interfaces, keeps drivers safe, on task and satisfied. The driver experience is important, and we’re proud to support drivers with our software.”
For every company, the customer comes first (after the workers, of course). It is important to ensure your solutions portfolio is flexible, adding to the customer experience instead of further complicating it. Maven Machine’s adaptable solution provides solutions for different customer requirements.
“Different customers require different processes, so our flexible Maven Workflow solution takes that into account and provides drivers with the right workflow for their stops and trips,” Geller says. “It is a game-changer in terms of driver productivity. Our dispatch and route optimization software provide drivers with the fastest and safest routes so that they can make more on-time pickups and deliveries. With Maven ELD, drivers use a simple mobile HOS app that allows for faster log editing, helps them reduce HOS violations, and ensures FMCSA compliance.”
In conclusion, providing a safe, reliable, and pleasant experience for drivers and customers is not a new concept. Some would argue that it has always been a priority while others claim it took the pandemic to bring back the saying that when you take care of the workers, they take care of business.
Avi Geller is the founder and CEO of Maven Machines. Since 2014, he has led Maven’s growth as an IoT platform that serves the transportation industry through real-time, mobile cloud enterprise software. Avi originally hails from Palo Alto, California, but he started Maven in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, due to the city’s impressive innovation and technology resources. Prior to founding Maven, he held international positions with SAP and contributed to the growth of several successful software companies and startups. Avi has an engineering degree from MIT and an MBA from Northwestern University.