Sunday 17th Feb 2019 - Logistics Manager Magazine

Don’t get caught out in the driver shortage

The lack of drivers and other skilled workers continues to be a major challenge for the logistics industry for the third year running, according to Paragon Software Systems’ annual UK customer survey.

The survey found that over half of respondents believe this to be a major issue. Figures also show a 20 per cent increase from last year’s results and a 62 per cent increase from 2017 figures. This is clearly a growing concern amongst businesses. Other issues highlighted were rising transport costs, Brexit and urban transport restrictions.

“The results of our survey suggest the road transport sector faces another tough year with a number of continuing challenges that are compounded by the current economic and political uncertainty,” said Paragon Software Systems managing director William Salter.

“As a result, logistics operations are looking to integrated technology solutions that deliver real benefits in terms of better resource utilisation, improved customer communications and real-time visibility of fleet performance,” he added.

Indeed, 97 per cent of respondents said they are using some type of telematics solution and 45 per cent are interfacing it with their routing and scheduling software. 95 per cent said their fleets use vehicle tracking, 40 per cent use 3G/4G vehicle cameras and 20 per cent use workforce management apps.

Likewise, catering to growing consumer demands are becoming increasingly complicated. Survey results showed that just under half of respondents admitted that their planning resource had changed in the past 12 months. 22 per cent said it’s become more centralised and 16 per cent have grown their team.

Maria Highland, reporter.

With technology being one option to alleviate driver shortage issues, further driver training is another option. The Henderson Group Training Academy in Northern Ireland has taken steps to further improve its LGV driver training programmes with the help of the RTITB Instructor Academy, which delivered Driver CPC Instructor training to Henderson Group two trainers.

Having qualified as Driver CPC Instructors, they are now delivering the required training to the company’s 136 LGV drivers internally, as well as offering quality training solutions to third parties. The instructors have delivered Driver CPC Periodic training to more than 100 individuals over 4 months.

The Henderson Group also joined the RTITB Master Driver CPC Consortium which has enabled it to deliver training to their own fleet of drivers. Henderson also gain access to a library of training topics to cater to more diverse customer requests.

“Being part of the RTITB Master Driver CPC Consortium has really benefitted us,” said Henderson Group driver & operations training manager, The Academy, Garry Cairns. “It has given us opportunities to grow our business and enabled us to secure new training customers for our own academy.”

Likewise, the British International Freight Association understands the pinch companies feel with labour shortage. It launched a freight apprenticeship microsite which focuses on helping both employers and potential recruits to better understand apprenticeship opportunities in the freight forwarding industry.

The site aims to create a support network and provide a range of materials for employers including information about funding and hiring such as the International Freight Forwarding Specialist Apprenticeship scheme, advice on potential career pathways and case studies with tips all of which come from the experiences of BIFA members and their apprentices.

“After meeting with various employers, BIFA wanted to provide a support system that means its members have the accessible resources to enable them to confidently reach out and engage with local communities. The website aims to be a basis of materials to support them in doing so,” said BIFA training development manager Carl Hobbis.

“One of the big attractions of choosing a career in freight forwarding is the different pathways that your career could take you. On the microsite, visitors can read a range of case studies from established BIFA members which demonstrate some of those fascinating career paths. They can also see top tips from existing apprentices as to why an apprenticeship should be considered.”