There is a driver shortage - why aren't you using telematics to help maintain customer service?

According to data from the Road Haulage Association (RHA), the UK now has a shortage of more than 100,000 qualified drivers. This has been compounded by the loss of thousands of drivers from European Union members states, who were previously working and living here, but even before Brexit and the pandemic, it was estimated that the UK had a driver shortage of over 60,000.

Due to the aging population, there is a high number of drivers reaching retirement age and very few under the age of 25. As well as losing existing drivers, there is also the issue of fewer candidates passing their test to become a qualified HGV driver. The RHA wrote to the prime minister in June 2020 warning him that there are 25,000 fewer candidates passing their test, compared to the year before. As well as the demographics of the market, there are also concerns about working conditions being voiced by drivers and the industry as a whole. 

Supply chain issues are felt on a global scale 

The impact of the driver shortage is being felt across the world, by all of us in our everyday lives and in our businesses.  The impact on the supply chain, which has been taken for granted for so many years is starting to affect accessibility to products and services we rely upon.  

Over the past 12 months, stock availability in supermarkets is becoming increasingly inconsistent, due to delivery delays and cancellations and limited menus at restaurants are becoming more commonplace.  These shortages are creating an economic impact, with noticeable hikes in food prices and businesses reporting surges in supply-chain costs.  

In August 2021, ONS reported that 7% of UK firms couldn’t get materials, goods or services needed, leading to complications throughout operations and, in some cases, a reduction in customer satisfaction.  

To tackle the crisis some businesses are offering bonuses of up to £1,000 to entice drivers. Another initiative is the government-backed drivers “bootcamp” scheme, which is launching intensive short courses, designed to help more people become HGV drivers. These initiatives, although promising, do not offer an immediate solution to the number 1 problem being faced by fleet managers. 

There are other issues at play – but telematics can help… 

Although much time and resources are being invested by businesses to tackle this crisis, other priorities and challenges still exist.  

Fuel costs, vehicle utilisation, safety and compliance and customer service are just a few that feature on most fleet managers’ lists. The introduction of a vehicle telematics system can really help address these, manage them, and provide new operational efficiencies.  

Once regarded as just a “spy in a cab” and a tool to track drivers and mileage claims, a vehicle tracking system is so much more. Knowing where your vehicles are, in real time, can enable your business to plan more efficiently, understand the true operational challenges and make informed decisions. It can also help businesses to transform their customer service and customer communications, proving especially helpful when it comes to logistics. 

Let us explain how 

Once equipped with vehicle telematics data, businesses can respond quickly and accurately to customer enquiries. For example, delivery vehicles fitted with vehicle tracking devices can provide real time ETA updates. This can either be manually communicated to customers or integrated with other ERP tools to automatically provide updates.  

Using geofences can also provide powerful information. By geofencing an area, it is easy to report on the time that a vehicle moves into and out of the given location. In the case of construction sites, a delivery of materials can be a crucial part of a project. Being able to inform a customer that a vehicle is due on site at a given time, as a result of receiving a geofence alert, is potentially transformative information. This can all be automated or viewed live within the fleet management system.   

Using telematics data to reduce admin and manual processes can also result in greatly improved customer service. Having access to live data can enable businesses to communicate in a timelier manner with their customers, billing them quickly and accurately, without relying on input from drivers. If issues should arise, vehicle tracking data can also prove invaluable as part of an investigation and can massively reduce administrative burden. Having real time data available 24/7, can help resolve issues before they escalate.  

Without a telematics system, businesses are leaving a lot to guess work and relying on manual data collection, which can slow down processes and often incur errors. A vehicle tracking system from ABAX, can help fleet managers and business owners to take control of their fleet management challenges and work towards a more cost effective, efficient and customer-led approach.

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