Where to Find Hope in the Supply Chain Trucking Slowdown

It’s the great supply chain trucking slowdown of 2021. Shelves are empty. Cargo ships are idling. And frustrations are mounting. Our nation’s clogged supply chains are causing a backlog of undelivered freight. With the holidays fast approaching — and more reports of an expansive truck driver shortage surfacing — most insiders and consumers are expecting even longer delays. But there’s hope amid the growing panic and despair of more-severe-than-expected supply chain bottlenecks. Some trucking firms are thriving by consistently meeting customer expectations. But how?

Be good to drivers

Every organization seeks stability. For trucking firms, that means having a crew of reliable truck drivers. While there are up to 33,000 fewer CDL drivers than last year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and annual turnover rates have reached 95% according to other reports1, a few trucking companies have retained most of their top talent.

Truck driver retention is about more than who can pay the most or offer the greatest promises. Truck drivers are more likely to stick with companies that show loyalty in return. For example, some companies allow established drivers to take the rig home through the weekend. Or, they schedule routes directly with the truck driver to accommodate preferences. Or, it might be as simple as knowing the driver’s name, asking for feedback or following up on earlier promises.

Companies can thrive by doing more than simply putting anybody behind the wheel. Good drivers also improve dwell time and on-time percentage, with some trucking companies exceeding 95% on-time delivery even while battling today’s supply chain challenges. Many of the best drivers tend to be more experienced, so they’ve navigated a wider range of potential setbacks on the road. In addition, they have an established rapport with dispatchers and other internal support staff, so they can plan proactively and avoid many challenges.

Be creative with customers

Labor shortages have hit most of the country, including on loading docks for many companies where crews are often unavailable when freight arrives. Trucking companies can help by offering drop-and-hook and other specialized services. Truck drivers can drop a trailer onsite and move quickly to the next destination without lengthy detention delays. Plus, it allows the warehouse to optimize scheduling for crews and tasks. The truck driver will simply grab the now-empty trailer on the next delivery cycle. Of course, it’s imperative that the trucking company has the trailer pool assets to offer these types of services.

Be honest with everybody

It’s inevitable — freight will be late. It’s something every carrier, logistics company and customer faces. What sets them apart is how they handle it.

Customers appreciate communication more than ever. They just want to know if drivers will be available to pick up freight, and when it’s going to happen. Have your teams connect with customers more frequently. Conduct weekly, or even daily, meetings. Set reasonable expectations. And most importantly, be honest with customers whether you can or cannot make a delivery date.

It’s telling how a carrier or logistics company responds during tight capacity amid a global supply crunch. Drivers and customers are paying attention — and they’re going to remember who treated them fairly when things return closer to normal.

collins-white-blog-headshot

Collins White, President of Logistics, AMX

Collins has been involved in the trucking industry his entire life. Today, he uses that expertise to ensure AMX Logistics continues to accommodate the unique demands of its growing
customer base.

WANT TO DRIVE FOR AMX?

You’re in the driver’s seat of where you work — and who you work for. Now is a great time to advance your career as a truck driver. Choose a company that can consistently offer quality work for quality pay — both today and tomorrow.