DAILY NEWS Oct 18, 2012 1:45 PM - 3 comments

Shortage of available talent will constrain industry's capacity, says Day & Ross CEO

TEXT SIZE bigger text smaller text
By: James Menzies

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. -- There will be many factors limiting capacity growth in the Canadian trucking industry, but chief among them will be a lack of qualified drivers.

That was the message from Doug Harrison, CEO of Day & Ross Group, when speaking to a full house at the 2012 Surface Transportation Summit, hosted by Motortruck Fleet Executive, Canadian Transportation & Logistics and Dan Goodwill & Associates. Shippers on-hand heard that trucking capacity is likely to remain tight, due to the rising cost of new equipment, forthcoming regulations, increased consolidation and a reluctance among the carrier community to add trucks in an uncertain freight environment. But Harrison added “One of the greatest capacity issues we have going forward is talent.”

Citing numbers from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Conference Board of Canada, Harrison said the Canadian transport industry is short 27,000 people today, with that expected to grow to 74,000 people by 2015.

“I can order trailers, I can order power, I can buy fuel, but I can’t manufacture people,” Harrison said. “To me, the greatest constraint going forward will be the people side of the equation, not the equipment side or the fuel side.”

Day & Ross is looking to position itself as a “preferred employer” in hopes of attracting more drivers and support staff to its operations.

“It’s people that deliver the value that you provide,” Harrison said. “For us going forward, we’ll be spending more time on our culture, focusing on how we bring people in and how we look at succession plans to ensure we’re a place people want to join.”

Harrison also said the company will be developing relationships with post-secondary schools and First Nations groups to raise awareness of the career opportunities available at the company and within the industry.

Even if drivers were readily available, Harrison said Day & Ross would be cautious about adding capacity in the current environment.

“As an industry, we’re all watching very closely for when is the right time to invest in capacity?” Harrison said. “We certainly have to invest in renewal, but when is the right time to invest in capacity? The pragmatic view is caution as we move forward.”

He also warned shippers in attendance that simple supply and demand will put upward pressure on trucking rates. So too will infrastructure deficiencies, he added.

For its part, Harrison said the trucking industry will need to continue to innovate, whether it be through the adoption of alternative fuels like natural gas, or the deployment of technologies such as for the remote monitoring of equipment.

“I think the summary is, this is certainly a period of change and evolution and like most industries, leading providers will be required to focus on cost management, people and innovation, along with understanding and anticipating customer needs,” Harrison concluded.

Monitor These Topics

Horizontal ruler

Reader Comments

Most recent firstOldest first

Les Howlett

The employer of choice is one that develops a relationship with their employees from day one. This starts by listening to them and hearing what they have to say on a regular bases. They are the front lines in the business and if customers hear it right from the drivers/ dispathers how great it is to work for D&R. Then that word of mouth travels faster than any job ad. Its a culture that takes time to change and sometimes to make those changes, it requires someone to climb over mountains.
Respect, Honest and integrity are core values to any company. If these core values are added and reminded to everyone each and everyday in the work process, then an employer of choice is born. Mr. Harrison has a culture to change with many years of bad management contributing to their demise. Unless he gets infected from the inside disease, He will make the necessary changes to make D&R the employer of choice again. Good Luck Mr. Harrison

Posted October 29, 2012 10:25 AM

Owner Op's Wife

I think Mr. Harrison has it a little backwards. He states "Day & Ross is looking to position itself as a “preferred employer” in hopes of attracting more drivers and support staff to its operations." As a wife of an Owner Op that works for Day & Ross I can honestly state that before they start looking outward to hire, they need to look inward at their operations and how to make it more attractive for the "talent" to stay. My husband and many others are fed up with many aspects of how they are treated and many have moved on and we are likely not far behind if things do not change shortly. I am sure that is not just Day & Ross alone, if companies would look at the cost of turnover vs keeping their talent happy, they would see the savings there. It's not all about money, the simple directness of honesty, communication and keeping them productive goes along way.

Posted October 22, 2012 09:04 AM

Total Ripoff

Here in the States they have been treating the drivers like DIRT for so long they have NO Clue how to RETAIN anybody...drivers put up with the crap as long as they can stomach it and move on to some other scumbag trucking company.....106% annual TURNOVER rite NOW in USA truckload business......the pay is Very Low for the amount of time spent out on the road 12 days on and 2 days off.........execs treat drivers with CONTEMPT and pass it down to dispatchers to ABUSE the chump driver....good luck finding SUCKERS to work in your crap industry....LOL

Posted October 21, 2012 11:20 PM

Horizontal Ruler

Post A Comment

Note: By submitting your comments you acknowledge that Truck News has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that due to the volume of e-mails we receive, not all comments will be published and those that are published will not be edited. However, all will be carefully read, considered and appreciated.

Your Name (this will appear with your post) *

Email Address (will not be published) *

Comments *

* mandatory fields