MOOSE JAW, Sask. — It’s a new age for the trucking industry, and with that comes different ways to find new customers, monitor trucks, save fuel, and find new employees.
For Favel Transportation out of Moose Jaw, Sask., dealing with the current driver shortage – one that most agree will only continue to get worse in the coming decade – has been a challenge, yet also manageable.
With plenty of candidates looking for work and the diversity of tools companies can utilize to find potential employees, Scott Smith of Favel Transportation said it’s a matter of finding the right people to drive for his company.
“Looking into the future we understand the need for the ‘right kind of people,’ ” said Smith. “In today’s world we have the ability to pick the most qualified applicants to put our customers and consumers’ minds at ease.”
Smith said the days of having to locate qualified candidates from just one or two sources is gone, as there are now several options, such as online job postings, social media, newspapers, job boards, and even from colleagues.
“These days we have people inside our company who actively seek out drivers with good employment records and glowing references,” Smith said.
However, the challenges of finding “the right kind of people” in a labor pool lacking an adequate number of qualified commercial drivers remains.
A study by the Canadian Trucking Alliance predicts a driver gap of up to 33,000 by 2020 – only two years away – and, “based on plausible combinations of different trends that could affect industry demand, labor, productivity, and occupational attractiveness, that number could be 48,000 by 2024.
In the U.S., the situation is even bleaker, with the American Trucking Associations saying there would be a driver shortage of 50,000 by the end of last year and could grow to more than 174,000 by 2026.
But Favel Transportation hopes its growing company can attract the best drivers out there.
A relatively new company, Favel was founded in 2004 by current owners Kyle and Richelle Favel as a single-truck operation hauling livestock between Western Canada and the Northern U.S.
Today, that single-truck company has grown to more than 80, servicing all of Canada and the U.S. specializing in hauling livestock, bulk, and refrigerated commodities.
“Since 2004, we’ve grown our customer base from three to 30 A-list clients and added 60 trailers to our continuously growing fleet,” said Smith.
Favel’s Canadian bulk transportation includes super B trailers, off-farm pick-ups, hydraulic auger trailers, and liquid bulk trailers. For international bulk transport, the company offers food grade, plant services, tandem trailers, and organic services. Other services include cattle transport (tandems, tri and quad axles, proprietary load densities, expedited shipments), swine (bio-secured environment, access to dry bays, third-party trailer inspections, feed and water systems), climate controlled, and freight transportation.
The company also has a division that specializes in transcontinental travel to help its customers’ distribution systems run more efficiently.
In an effort to create flexibility and transparency, Favel created what it calls F.I.T.S. (Favel integrated transport solution), which Smith said allows the company to secure additional loads and routes for their Canadian and U.S. carriers.
Being a company that moves freight cross-border, Smith said Favel has embraced new technologies, including ELDs.
“Any technology that allows better planning of our drivers’ routes and days off is an asset to us,” he said. “The ELD in its simplest form only provides transparency to our clients and consumers, to reject it would be like standing in the way of progress.”
Favel also established “Opport-unity Truck Leasing” to give drivers the ability to buy trucks through a leasing program, an effort Smith said “sets them apart from the rest.”
“We pride ourselves on the family atmosphere we have when you walk in the door or call our office, it’s reassuring,” Smith said. “In the future, we only see ourselves growing and following the same basic principles that got us this far.”
Those principles are honesty, loyalty, and determination; three characteristics Favel looks for in anyone wanting to work for the carrier.
“We believe these three principles drive a person to be better in every definition of the word,” said Smith, adding that his company has a lot to offer potential employees. “We are confident that our competitive pay packages and family approach will make you feel comfortable away from home.”