The Flemish Institute for Logistics (Vlaams Instituut voor Logistiek, VIL) and the Hasselt University joined forces to analyze what they could do about the acute shortage of truck drivers. Together, they launched the ‘Truck Driver 4.0’ project in search of solutions for the sector.
The project’s starting point was the problematic shortage of truckers, despite some praiseworthy initiatives. Febetra, for instance, the Federation of Belgian haulers and logistic service providers, used Mother’s Day to launch a call for more female truckers.
Today, hardly 1,66% of truck drivers in Belgium are female, although a female driver could perfectly do the job. Anyway, the sector realizes that the acute need will even increase in the coming years due to the natural outflow of the older generation.
Something has to change
The study revealed that the sector urgently needs a new and more sophisticated staff policy focused on the well-being of truckers. Another striking discovery was that it is not so much the perception of low wages and the bad image of the job but the working hours and conditions that cause the low intake. For the researchers, it is clear something has to change.
First, the sector needs a fully-fledged human resources policy and an image-improving approach. The existing initiatives must be continued and supported by transport federations and/or the Social Fund for Transport and Logistics. And it is essential to sensitize youngsters and other potential candidates and make them enthusiastic about the job.
Motivation and loyalty
A second hurdle for the sector is: how to keep truckers motivated and loyal to their employers. With a 10 to 15% staff turnover, the sector has to pull out all the stops. However, a good salary alone will not be enough.
Even in the transport sector, people expect a better work-life balance and career perspectives. So a decent staff policy for truckers needs to focus on remuneration, personal guidance, well-being, training and development, and career opportunities.
‘Perfect Driver’ app
Therefore, several project participants developed the unique ‘Perfect Driver’ app. It is intended to improve the communication between the transport company and the truck driver.
It’s the perfect tool to offer additional training and support safe driving behavior. Thanks to the two-way communication of the app, the employer can also monitor the driver’s performance and well-being.
The app was tested by Trafuco and Xwift, two of the participating companies. Other participants were Snel Logistic, H.Essers, SD Worx, Transport Gheys, Eutraco, Hertsens, Transport Mervielde, Transport Michiels, Van Moer Group, and TVM Belgium.