Retain Drivers By Embracing Technology
If there is one thing drivers hate, it’s wasting time. With the implementation of the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, drivers’ time is more closely scrutinized — and more valuable — than ever. Therefore,anything that can save time for the driver is a big plus.
The ELD mandate means trucks can’t go anywhere after the driver is out of hours of service. In order to maintain productivity, it is critical that drivers use every legal driving hour available to them.
As Jarrod Carson, fuel program analyst at USA Truck, Inc., says, “In today’s world of trucking, we want our drivers to utilize their daily clock as much as possible.”
However, making sure drivers maximize their driving hours is only one challenge fleets face. The reality of today’s truck market is that not only is there a driver shortage — some sources, including the American Trucking Associations, say the industry is short 50,000 drivers today and that number could climb to 100,000 in a few years – but we also have a driver retention issue. Look at these figures. The driver turnover rate at large truckload carriers is at 87%, while smaller carriers are seeing a turnover rate of 72%.
What this means for fleets is that any edge – no matter how small – they can gain can be an advantage when it comes to retaining drivers. Time is money, so any savings is money in the driver’s pocket.
Take something like weighing a loaded truck. We all know it’s important for trucks to be legally loaded, but when you break the weighing process down you’ll see how time consuming it can be.
If you think it is as easy as pull on the scale, pull off, think again. Did you know there are nine different steps in the process?
Here’s a look at exactly what’s involved in weighing a loaded truck assuming the truck is at its legal weight.
- Pull on the scale
- Roll down driver’s side window or open driver’s side door and push an intercom button
- Converse with the cashier to relay the truck number
- Wait for the cashier to enter all this information and verify that the truck is properly positioned on the scale
- Truck is weighed
- Weigh ticket is printed
- Driver moves the truck off the scale and finds a place to park
- Driver walks into the building, stands in line at the fuel desk, tells the cashier their trailer number, company name and gets the printed weigh ticket and pays for it
- Driver walks back to the truck
If the truck is overweight, the driver has to add a few more steps:
- Slide the axle or take other measures to fix the problem
- Pull back on the scale
- Tell cashier your previous ticket number and Repeat steps 5-9.
The best-case scenario is that this will take 25 to 30 minutes, assuming the load is at the legal weight. If the driver has to make an adjustment, it could be an hour or more before he or she is back on the road. That’s an hour of what has become very valuable time spent on a rather mundane – albeit important – task.
CAT Scale Company is committed to making drivers’ lives easier. Its smartphone app – Weigh My Truck – can cut drivers’ time at the scale dramatically. The app allows drivers to weigh and pay from their smartphone or tablet without ever having to leave their truck. This is offered by CAT Scale at no additional charge.
The app is easy to use and all the driver has to do is go to http://www.weighmytruck.com to set up an account. A fleet also can set up an account for all its drivers and trucks. Once logged in, the driver (or fleet) enters the email address to which they want the electronic CAT Scale tickets sent.
The truck identification information also needs to be added and the driver (or fleet) needs to select a payment method. Payment options include PayPal, EFS, Fleet One, Comdata, QuikQ, American Express, Discover Card, MasterCard, Visa and ACH.
Once the account is set up, the driver downloads the free app at Google Play or the Apple App Store. When it’s time to weigh, the driver drives the truck onto the CAT scale, opens the app and confirms the CAT Scale location and the truck identification information displayed on the smartphone or tablet screen.
The guaranteed weight will appear on the screen after the weighmaster has made sure the truck is positioned properly on the scale. A PDF copy of the CAT Scale ticket is emailed to the driver and anyone else that has been specified on the account. If the driver wants it, they can also get a hard copy of the ticket, which will be available at the fuel desk for one hour after weighing.
Not only does the app save the driver and the fleet time by streamlining the weighing process, it also has eliminated driver reimbursements for cash scale payments because drivers don’t have to spend their own money at the scale and then wait to be reimbursed. Fleets can authorize their drivers to use their Comdata, EFS card, corporate credit card or can authorize a nightly account draft based on all of their drivers that have weighed on a given day.
Time and avoiding personal expenses on the job are just the kind of “soft” benefits drivers use when making decisions about joining – or staying with – a fleet. Of course wages and benefits are important, but it is often “the little things” that tip the scale when drivers are weighing the decision about where they want to work.
Still not sure the app makes sense for your operation? Here’s what some of the users of the app have to say.
“CAT Scale’s Weigh My Truck app is a tool that everyone should utilize to help make the jobs of their professional drivers easier,” Carson said.
“We love the CAT Scale app to pay for our scale tickets and have them emailed,“ said Melissa Hatfield, driver.
“It [the Way My Truck app] sure beats going inside and standing in line for 30 minutes to an hour,” said truck driver Kenneth Daniels.
“The time savings on the road have been invaluable,” says Carrie Burbridge of Kelle’s Transport Services (now Soar Transportation Group), a temperature-controlled carrier.
While the app will save drivers time, there are some additional benefits for the fleet, which can set up their account profile so they will receive an email anytime one of their drivers weighs their truck. This means they don’t have to wait for drivers to submit weigh tickets. The fleet manger will get a secure PDF or a TIF copy of the ticket sent within 30 seconds of the driver weighing – all at no additional charge to the fleet.
The fleet also can get a spreadsheet containing all the pertinent information that is on the scale ticket in a nightly batch. This allows them to see at a glance where problems are and allows them to see trends. For example, the fleet can tell if a truck is continually pushing the limit on the axles as well as which trucks have been properly loaded and which have not been. Using the data, the fleet can take corrective action quickly to eliminate these trouble spots.
Another benefit of the app, according to Carson, is that it works everywhere. “With the app, we can purchase a weigh at any certified CAT Scale location and avoid purchasing issues that would delay our driver from getting back on the road.”
RJ of Holbrook Asphalt, a company that specializes in asphalt preservation and operates in multiple western states, summed up the benefits of the Weight My Truck app for both drivers and fleets. “As a company, we have been highly impressed with how the implementation of the Weigh My Truck app has increased our efficiency for both the driver and the data management side of our operation.”
How Fleets Benefit From The Weigh My Truck App:
- Beyond saving drivers time, fleet management can reap some benefits when their drivers us the Weigh My Truck app.
- No more having to make driver reimbursements
- Weighing accuracy is guaranteed
- Saves time for back office staff
- Load/trip numbers are automatically captured
- Receive nightly summary reports of weigh scale transactions including date, time, gross weight, weight on steer and drive axle, weight on trailer, ticket number, fee, company name, truck number, trailer number, commodity, load number
- Assistance with driver registration (including bulk upload)
- Driver management capability
- Materials available to train drivers
- No more missing tickets because both drivers and fleets can print or get copies of tickets via email