Pinpointing the factors that determine if a driver is unhappy

by Truck News-West

HOUSTON, Texas – Wouldn’t it be nice if you could predict which drivers were planning on leaving your company and why so you could take action to retain them?
This is what Trimble is attempting to do with its Driver Retention tool that is now integrated with TMW.Suite to offer driver predictive scores, a retention predictor, trip history, pay, hours-of-service, and a myriad of information to help carriers identify which drivers could be planning to move on.

Chris Orban, vice-president of data science for Trimble Transportation, said during a session at today’s in.sight User Conference in Houston, Texas that there are several factors that determine whether a driver will leave a carrier, the most important of which being the number of hours they are on the road.

“If we overwork drivers, it’s just a bad as if we underwork them,” said Orban, adding how fleets must find the sweet spot when it comes to drive time, which differs depending on the carrier and driver.

Other factors that come into play with driver retention include pay, home time, freight type, and respect, something many in the industry have historically neglected when it comes to how drivers are treated.

“Do we actually appreciate what the drivers are doing and treat them in a positive way?” questioned Orban. “It would be nice if we treated drivers as human beings instead of numbers.”

According to Orban, the average cost to replace a driver is between $8,000 and $10,000 USD, and with the average U.S. truckload fleet experiencing close to 100% driver turnover each year, retention becomes a key facet to a business’ bottom line.

Orban said understanding why drivers leave is just as important as who, and using data as a predictive model has long been a challenge.

But the data can only go so far, as companies must use the data in a way that helps retain drivers by addressing the “why” in the model.

Each factor that steers drivers away from a company can be addressed, according to Orban. One of the most important actions carriers should take to retain drivers is to do what the company says it is going to do when it comes to how it treats drivers.

Paying drivers for good performance, guaranteeing home time, offering accessorial pay, and monitoring fatigue are all areas where carriers can do better to keep operators engaged and in the driver’s seat.

All of these efforts boil down to showing drivers respect.

Drivers should be offered a clear career path, have a voice that is heard by the company, and be shown the same level of trust they are expected to show the company, said Orban.

Trimble’s Driver Retention model integrated within TMW.Suite helps maintain a record of several of these key factors that go into driver retention so carriers can address potential departures before they happen.

“If you have the right conversation with the driver who is about to leave,” said Orban, “you can change that driver leaving by 50%.”
The first month of the service is free, enabling carriers to determine the accuracy of the Driver Retention model, and can then decide whether to continue using the platform.

in.sight User Conference Chris Orban
Chris Orban.

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