September 12-18 is National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, and we are so grateful for the work they do to
keep America’s supply chains running on time. Celebrating our drivers has always been important, but this
year it takes on special significance due to the crucial role truck drivers have played during the COVID-19
While the typical pizza and cake are a good way to bring your team together to acknowledge your truck drivers, they are deserving of a lot more. Here are some other ideas of how to make truck driving easier on your team. You might even be able to use them to expand your team.
Treat Them Fairly
Driving a truck isn’t the first career choice for many people. Some may even call it an unskilled labor because all you need is to be over the age of 18 and have a CDL, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. And let’s be honest, anyone that has been through CDL school knows how intense and hard the training is. It’s even harder to pass the written exam and the drive test, especially the first few times. Truck drivers just make it look easy. It’s also an essential service in the U.S. that our economy needs to keep running, and as such it deserves more respect. We believe in open, honest, and transparent communication with our truck drivers at every step of their haul including fair payment and pricing systems.
Support Their Careers
The truck driving workforce isn’t working part-time or seasonal work after they graduate from CDL school.
Drivers are primarily middle-aged or older with families to support. Many of them are away from home more days than not with over the road routes, and that type of long-distance travel is hard on the body. They are deserving of not only a livable wage but one that reflects the sacrifices they make to do the job. That includes benefits. A career in supply chain work should come with access to affordable healthcare, paid time off, and a good retirement plan at the very least. These workers are deserving of being able to plan for every stage in their lives.
Have Contingency Plans
When something goes wrong along your supply chain (and it always does eventually), it shouldn’t be your truck driver’s responsibility to escalate the issue, negotiate the updated schedule, or find a 3PL partner on the road to help them out. Build relationships with crossdocking facilities and rework providers along regular routes to provide support to your drivers. By making a contingency plan, you’re enabling truck drivers to relax under pressure and keep moving quickly when the unexpected strikes.
Give Them Dock Support
Driving is hard on the body. It’s a lot of sitting without relaxing. It’s very little homemade food. It’s a lot of
sleeping in a cab bed far from loved ones. That’s why when they’re at the dock, they deserve support. Lumping services give drivers time to rest between long hauls. And though they haven’t always been popular among drivers, the relationship between lumpers and drivers is more important than ever as the workforce shrinks and drive time becomes more valuable.
Maximize Efficiency to Minimize Work Pressure
At every level, the supply chain workforce is experiencing a shortage of talent, but it’s never truer than for truck drivers. Add to that the increased freight levels for the industry, and you’ve got a powder keg of pressure put on drivers to complete hauls as fast as possible. But there are options to support drivers that can lead to shorter turnaround times and less stress like cross docking services. Having drivers bypass the warehouse can decrease distribution times and fuel costs by meeting at a more optimal location.
Driving a truck takes a lot more specialized knowledge than most people give them credit for. Not only that, the work they do keeps America stocked on necessities and indulgences alike. Thank you to every truck driver that works with American Freight Service and to those that keep our drivers fed, clothed and comfortable. Our lives wouldn’t be the same without the work you do.