Turnover still a problem in the transportation industry

Even though many Americans remain unemployed or underemployed, the transportation industry is still seeking more drivers. With the shortage of drivers currently impacting the industry, carriers are utilizing technology like routing software to ensure they can make all scheduled deliveries and pickups on time.

Trucking turnover remains high
A new report from the American Trucking Associations (ATA) revealed driver turnover jumped in the second quarter of 2013, potentially putting many carriers in a difficult position when it comes to scheduling runs, whether they are local, regional or long haul. Stops must be made on schedule, and with a limited number of drivers to complete them, logistics software is essential.

The ATA's Trucking Activity Report showed the annualized turnover rate at large carriers, or those with more than $30 million in revenue, leaped 2 percentage points to 99 percent in the second quarter of this year. According to the organization, this is the highest turnover rate the industry has seen since the third quarter of 2012, when the number reached 98 percent.

The turnover rate at smaller fleets remained flat quarter over quarter at 82 percent. Turnover at less-than-truckload fleets dropped 9 percentage points to the lowest level seen in two years, 6 percent.

"Continued high turnover shows that the market for qualified, experienced drivers remains extremely tight," said Bob Costello, the ATA's chief economist. "The continued improvement in the freight economy, coupled with regulatory challenges from the changing hours-of-service rule and CSA will only serve to put a further squeeze on the market for drivers."

This means some carriers may be in competition to recruit or retain talented employees. Qualified drivers may continue to be in demand for several years to come, as the individual companies work to lower their turnover rates and ensure top drivers aren't tempted to find employment elsewhere. As older drivers retire at a rapid rate, it will also be key for these firms to keep an eye out for skilled new employees entering the workforce.

Coping with the issue
While fleets are still working to reduce turnover and ensure skilled employees are retained, they may need to make use of technology while waiting for any expected changes in employee departure rates to take place. For the time being, companies are relying on technological solutions like route optimization software to make sure jobs are done in spite of limited available resources.