• 10 min read
  • September 2018

Did you know that truck drivers average 130,000 km a year? Every day, 5 million truck drivers take to Europe’s roads to deliver and collect goods. The experience is not a pleasant one, for most of these drivers. So how can we make life easier for them?

1. Limit wait times

Did you know that trucks are idle almost half of the time? After losing time in traffic, they spend time queueing at reception to check in before they can load or unload their truck. And naturally there are dozens of other drivers waiting to be processed. Then they have to wait their turn until they can drive up to the warehouse gate. Once there, it can take up to an hour before they are on the road again.

According to research, 63% of all drivers lose three to four hours on average waiting for the loading or unloading process to commence at the gates. Nine percent even indicated that a waiting time of 5 hours or more was quite common.

Planning is often such a tiresome process because the dispatchers and planners often have no idea which trucks have already arrived, which drivers are on time, who arrived too late, who should be given priority access to the site, etc. A process that can become much smarter and more efficient by using mobile communication, real-time insights about the trucks in the waiting area and simple dispatching, connected navigation, better tactical and operational planning and by relying on better data insights and dynamic dock allocation.

2. Use drivers and trucks smartly, reduce workload

You can reduce the number of trucks and drivers on the road by 10 to 20 percent by increasing the reliability of the truck turn time (the time trucks spend onsite), thereby improving the productivity of the distribution centres.

Does this mean that drivers will be out of work? Most certainly not. In the next 10 to 15 years, 40% of all European truck drivers are expected to retire, resulting in a shortage of 150,000 truck drivers. The UK even expects a shortage of 52,000 drivers in the next two years. Such a shortage in transport capacity may give rise to empty shelves in supermarkets and would also have a major impact on industrial production. Logistics and industrial companies must therefore deploy their drivers as efficiently as possible.

3. Make the check-in process easier

A truck cab often resembles a driving office with piles of paper everywhere: stacks of CMR documents that are up to 5 cm thick. A driver spends the majority of his time filling out documents, registering, checking in, etc. The process is often complicated by the fact that they don’t speak the same language, meaning a lot is lost in translation. Or because the employees at the reception desk do not have all the information, which allows them to assess whether a transport is on time, too late or simply wrong. So why not do things more easily? With Peripass a driver can check in with the PO number of their shipment in their own language. All other communication takes place in this language. Every driver receives a text message with a personalised access code and instructions or assistance to get to the right gate.

4. Clear signage

When you spend every day on the road, clear signage can make the difference between a foul mood or a big smile. This starts even before the driver is onsite: make sure they can easily get to your company and once onsite, can seamlessly drive to the right location. Indicate clearly where the check-in or waiting area is located. Use digital signage to guide a driver to the right gate, using dynamic LED screens for example, which indicate for every truck whether they must turn left or right on your site.

5. Reduce the administrative burden

Make sure that the administrative process is aligned, where possible, with the actual flows onsite. Avoid drivers having to check in first, after which they are referred to a gate, upon which they must return to reception to take care of their paperwork. This flow-through time can be avoided and even significantly reduced.

6. Simplify the safety procedures

Every company has different safety rules. These are often posted at the entrance and drivers do not pay that much attention to them. Rather like the on-board safety procedures on an airplane. Make sure that every driver has understood all the rules by talking to them in their own language. Does your supplier need to be onsite a few times a week? Then add an expiry date to the security test result, so he/she only has to take the test once every three months.

Professional Truck Driver Appreciation Week
“Professional Truck Driver Appreciation Week”, 10-15 November, commemorates and supports the industry professionals who work hard every day to deliver road passengers and goods.