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How to mitigate driver shortages using delivery route optimisation software

How to mitigate driver shortages using delivery route optimisation software

According to news reports, there aren't enough HGV and van drivers to handle the tremendous demand placed on transport and delivery companies.

It's a situation that will take years to rectify.

With significant increases in the demand for home delivery and the cost of fuel so high, the retail industry is currently experiencing a perfect storm of rising costs to meet the demand of consumers

With a large number of drivers approaching retirement age and many drivers requesting greater salaries with inflation in double digits, fleet managers are under immense pressure to find drivers quickly in order to meet market demand.

So, what can be done to alleviate the driver shortage?

Descartes' Head of Marketing, Andrew Tavener, discusses how fleet operators can offset the impact of the driver shortage and rising costs by increasing the efficiency and retention of existing drivers.


Create Efficient Fleet Operations

The first thing fleet managers should do is to improve their fleet efficiency.

This can be done by expanding their capacity to boost the productivity of their existing drivers and fleet operations by optimising delivery routes and reducing the driver stress associated with completing large numbers of deliveries.

By analysing all available delivery options to determine the best combination of routes and stops to maximise delivery capacity, advanced route optimisation software will eliminate unnecessary miles from the delivery process, reducing miles driven and costs associated with unnecessary fuel usage.

Learn how much fuel you can save

While optimising the number of stops per route, using the most recent and detailed traffic data and delivery scheduling technology, will boost driver productivity and increase delivery density. This could be equivalent to hiring dozens of extra drivers for larger organisations.

Utilising leading-edge route optimisation and delivery scheduling software, existing Descartes customers have increased their delivery capacity by up to 35% and reduced the costs of their deliveries while also improving customer service at the same time.

Fleet operators will improve productivity by boosting delivery density, this can be done by adopting dynamic delivery appointment scheduling software. At the point of sale, customers are presented with a selection of costed delivery options, and they can even be incentivised for choosing a time that is close to scheduled delivery in their area.

Letting customers select an "eco-friendly" delivery option that emits less CO2 is not only advantageous for the delivery company in terms of improving delivery density but is also likely to boost overall customer satisfaction with the delivery service and business.


Turn eco-friendly deliveries into a competitive advantage.

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Enhance Your Driver Retention

Overcoming the driver shortage means retaining drivers and reducing driver turnover rates.

Commercial driving is stressful, and bad delivery routes may force drivers to rush in order to complete their deliveries or jeopardise their adherence to the drivers' hours regulations, adding to their stress and eventually forcing them to retire or look for alternative work.

Reducing driver stress with realistic and achievable delivery schedules through the use of optimised routes that better reflect the road network, driving conditions, time of day, stop times, adherence to drivers' hours of service, and grouping of deliveries will improve their working day and enhance retention. Drivers will have more faith in the ability to complete the day's work and won't feel the need to alter their course midway, go above the legal speed limit, or violate their hourly schedule commitments to make timed deliveries if they have realistic delivery routes based on actual data.

By identifying down-to-the-driver elements and building customised delivery routes that are dependent on the productivity or expertise of the driver, means that new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can also aid driver retention. An experienced driver, for instance, might be 10% more productive than a beginner. Machine learning can determine whether drivers are more productive and can handle more deliveries by identifying those who finish their work earlier than expected.


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What Should You Do?

Companies must take immediate action to lessen the impact of the driver shortage and rising costs on the delivery part of their business while strategies are being developed to enhance the pool of available drivers.

The driver crisis will take years to fix despite an increase in the number of tests taken or additional people encouraged to take logistics as a career. While fleet managers need to keep looking for innovative ways to recruit drivers, they should equally prioritise boosting driver productivity and retaining their existing drivers. In order to tackle the driver shortage, advanced route optimisation software is crucial in helping to increase driver capacity and tackle rising costs of delivery.