Tech-Savvy Trucking: Attracting the Next Generation of Drivers
Lindsey Trent, President, and Co-founder of Next Generation in Trucking, advocates the strategic use of technology by trucking companies for effective recruitment and retention. A recent study conducted by the Nebraska Trucking Association, American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), University of Nebraska-Omaha, and Nebraska Trucking Foundation highlighted the positive impact of technology-focused advertisements on high school students' perceptions of trucking careers. The findings revealed that the incorporation of technology into the industry could change outdated perceptions, making it more appealing to the younger generation.
The Shift in Perception
The study revealed that showcasing the technological advancements in modern trucks captured the attention of high school students. Participants expressed excitement about the evolving nature of trucking, noting that it appeared to be a forward-thinking and technology-driven career. This sentiment was echoed in direct responses, with participants recognizing the appeal of a career that embraces innovation and technology.
Embracing Mobile-First Technology
Marilyn Surber, Transportation Adviser at Tenstreet, emphasized the significance of mobile-first technology in attracting younger generations to trucking. Surber, with 15 years of experience in transportation, highlighted the importance of apps like Tenstreet's Driver Pulse, which allows drivers to complete tasks easily and streamlines the hiring process. The younger demographic expects a modern, digital experience, and fleets that fail to provide it risk losing potential drivers.
The Influence of Generation Z
Generation Z, born between 1997 and 2010, has grown up in a world immersed in technology. Their familiarity and comfort with digital tools make them a key demographic for the trucking industry to attract. Surber stressed that providing the latest tools and technology is essential to appeal to this generation, ensuring they are engaged and interested in pursuing a career in trucking.
Effective Communication Strategies
Kevin Survance, CEO of Eleos Technologies, emphasized the importance of effective communication strategies to attract and retain younger generations. Gathering feedback from drivers through mobile technology and apps allows fleets to connect with their drivers and adapt to their needs. Survance highlighted the positive impact of technology on productivity gains and the potential to overcome the current U.S. driver deficit.
Success Stories with Custom Apps
Central Oregon Truck Co. (COTC), faced with driver communication challenges, collaborated with Eleos to develop a custom driver application. This app helped reduce driver turnover from 94% to 76%, showcasing the positive outcomes of leveraging technology to meet the expectations of millennial drivers.
Safety Technologies Appeal
Fred Andersky, Director of Demos, Sales, and Service Training at Bendix, emphasized the appeal of safety-based technologies for both drivers and technicians. As the trucking industry evolves with electrification and automated driving technologies, younger drivers can contribute to the advancement of these solutions. Andersky highlighted the opportunities for technicians to expand their skill levels and expertise with the introduction of new drivetrains and power sources.
Recruiting and Retaining Young Technicians
Modern diagnostic technologies serve as recruitment and retention tools for younger technicians entering the workforce. Jason Hedman, Product Manager at Noregon, stressed the importance of providing modern tools that enhance efficiency. Offering free access to software solutions like JPRO and NextStep Repair helps ensure that technicians are equipped with the necessary knowledge for success.
The trucking industry is undergoing a transformation, driven by the integration of technology. To attract the next generation of drivers and technicians, fleets must embrace digital tools, mobile-first technology, and innovative solutions. The success stories of companies like COTC and the insights from industry experts underscore the critical role technology plays in shaping the future of trucking, making it a more appealing and dynamic career choice for younger generations.