Making it Happen
In my previous two postings I explained the need for comprehensive driver training and laid out a three-part plan for how to achieve it. In this last instalment, I'm going to focus on how to put the plan into place.
Some companies may lack the resources to fix the industry-wide driver-training challenge. However, any company can immediately adopt a measured driver-training approach to address the following three areas:
1. Hiring: Hiring any driver to get behind the wheel of one of your trucks is not the wisest of policies. In fact, the impending CSA 2010 argues strongly in favor of hiring the right driver in the first place. Hiring carefully has also been shown to reduce driver turnover, which can represent huge cost savings for your company.
2. Training: All drivers must be properly trained in the essential skills of driving a truck. Shop around for evidenced-based training solutions. Insist on solutions that have been designed by professionals with the relevant experience, and give your preference to products that were developed by teams of experts and who validate their work in the field. Training programs that “blend” technology with instructor-led, self-paced and group lessons have been shown to produce the best results, leading to substantial savings in the transportation costs mentioned earlier: fuel, repairs and maintenance.
3. Incentive Plans: Expand driver training within a total improvement program for all your drivers. For example, incentivize your drivers to achieve better fuel economy by training your drivers in the latest eco-drive techniques. Besides the obvious savings in fuel costs, these techniques are also associated with improved safety and lower crash rates, another significant dividend from a wise investment in driver training.
Drivers are the most undervalued asset of any transportation business and typically receive the least amount of positive attention. Improving driver training should create a much-needed boost in productivity within individual companies, and throughout the industry. A total-improvement driver-training program will enhance self-esteem among your current drivers and lead to improved driver recruiting results. Another side benefit to the trucking industry as a whole will be the improved public perception of the attractiveness of a career as a professional driver, facilitating an increase in the number of quality applicants to the driver pool. Investing in this approach creates a “win-win” for anyone wanting to make the effort.