Drivers: The Unsung Heroes of the Supply Chain

Truck drivers are the unsung heroes of Covid-19. Trucks continue to operate when airlines cancel flights. Throughout the cycle of lockdowns and reopenings, the public should view drivers as critical employees and frontline responders, transporting medical supplies and equipment to hospitals and replenishing retail shelves with food and necessary commodities.

One of the most important parts of a successful supply chain is driver retention. Even with the growth of eCommerce pushing the supply chain and logistics forward as well, there has been a growing concern about driver shortages and retention. 

According to ATRI (The American Transportation Research Institute) research, “in a year marked by growing concerns about global supply chain disruptions, workforce demands pushed the Driver Shortage to the top of the list for the fifth year in a row.” Driver retention comes in second.”

In reality, truck drivers are one of the backbones of our economy. Global supply chains rely on a sufficient number of drivers to keep goods moving. Without them, the economy would literally be at a standstill. 

Challenges affecting driver retention

Quantifying the economic contribution of the trucking industry is challenging because its impact extends far beyond the company’s own employment and monetary contributions to the economy. Without trucks, majority of a nation’s industries would stop growing. Truck drivers are the industry’s most vital participants, acting as its human backbone.

The job of a truck driver is challenging because of the unpredictable nature and schedule, extended periods and distances away from family members, perceived harassment by authorities while en route, and employment uncertainty. In many countries poor road design and maintenance worsen health and safety concerns. Despite this, they are underpaid, contributing to a rising driver shortage. Drivers encounter a discrepancy in both status and skill.

Volatility in Supply Chain trends

Supply chain volatility might have a severe impact on driver retention. When the shipping process is disrupted, it adds additional strain to overworked drivers. Even under “normal” circumstances, professional truck drivers frequently experience burnout due to a mix of variables, including significant work-related stress, loneliness on the road, a lack of interaction with others, and mental health concerns.

Job Burnout

Long-haul truck drivers, in particular, encounter different job-related stressors that might result in burnout. Prolonged hours of driving with few pauses, traffic congestion, poor road conditions, improper dietary choices, a lack of physical activity, and the temptation to continue moving to earn money can all contribute to job burnout.

The Unsung Heroes: Drivers Keep Getting the Job Done

A driver’s day includes ensuring that goods and documents are delivered on time and in good condition, dealing with the demands of operators and various clients, and staying on the road with little or no breaks. They are the literal and figurative drivers of the supply chain, without which e-commerce, which thrives on convenience and door-to-door delivery, would be impossible. Drivers are an essential part of supply chains, and cannot be underestimated. 

Drivers are frequently overlooked and underappreciated despite their importance in the last mile fulfilment aspect of the supply chain. Not to mention that inattention contributes to the rapidly deteriorating driver retention.

Numerous industry participants have begun to understand this. There is an increasing emphasis on narrowing the skill gap and providing drivers with suitable en route facilities. These activities are dispersed and demand a greater degree of focus.

However, with some effort and resources, it is entirely possible to reverse the rising driver turnover rate. While expecting a radical shift in perception of drivers is unrealistic, it is never too late to begin.

Globally connected,
locally invested.