Managing the Delivery Driver Deficit

By Jack Underwood, CEO & Co-founder of Circuit

E-commerce grew globally last year, and increased demand for deliveries naturally led to a higher demand for drivers. This growth coincided with Brexit, creating an employee deficit. There are now more deliveries than there are drivers to complete them. From ride hailing companies to supermarket-supply lorry drivers, the current driver shortage is impacting various sectors around the world.

Diversifying Recruitment

Retailers must diversify their job advertisements to make sure they are reaching everyone with the necessary skills. Demographics are changing, it’s no longer just the stereotypical “white van man” as quotes for female couriers have increased across the UK since 2016. These changes should be welcomed, and by diversifying advertising, retailers can reach a range of talent from various backgrounds.

The increased demand means that delivery drivers will have more employment options, allowing them to pick the best companies. However, by increasing efficiency across the entire industry, the cost per delivery should decrease, allowing businesses to pay their delivery drivers a more competitive salary.

Retailers must also be willing to train delivery drivers. Making sure of a new population of drivers is key for retailers to manage both the deficit and the growth rate of e-commerce. The more confident your new employees are, the faster they will complete their deliveries and the more packages they will be able to deliver to customers. In the future, data will be used to analyze who the best delivery drivers are. These insights will help businesses employ the best drivers, train staff and track progress.

Finally, a good work-life balance can increase driver acquisition and retention. The average delivery driver is estimated to work around 11 hours per day. By improving the efficiency of drops, encouraging frequent breaks and making sure annual leave is taken, drivers will feel cared for, increasing trust and loyalty.

Time Management

If 11 drivers save one hour each through efficient processes, it saves one full average working day. This extra hour can be saved using a route planner that allows drivers to save fuel and time by taking the most efficient routes. As well as helping experienced drivers, a route planner can set new drivers up for success from the start as they are not held back by unfamiliarity with the delivery routes.

Apps can also be used to help managers have oversight of their drivers and allocate work better. Team leaders can build routes for multiple drivers in under five minutes and track the delivery process through delivery management software.

When determining the best app for them, delivery drivers want to know which apps are best. Based on how much time they will save, cost-effectiveness, and the number of stops the app offers. They also need an app that can integrate with other well-used and well-known navigation apps such as Waze. However, it’s not just standard features that they care about. It’s important to know what extras are available to make the job easier. For example, the Circuit app helps drivers locate packages within the vehicle by logging packages as they’re placed in specific zones inside it.

Anticipating Demand

Retailers should be analysing any and all available data to be aware of days where deliveries are expected to be higher than usual. This will make sure they are well prepared and have enough drivers to fulfil deliveries.

Circuit data shows there was a 61% delivery increase on Mother’s Day. We can expect other key commercial dates, such as Halloween and Black Friday to also increase e-commerce and delivery needs. Through advanced knowledge of key dates, retailers can avoid overwhelming their drivers and make sure they have enough drivers.

Customer Expectations

There must be a two-way conversation between retailers and customers to build brand trust and loyalty. Letting customers know there is a driver shortage and that you’re working to fix it shows transparency and helps build confidence. A second way to build trust and manage customer expectations is through understanding customer pain points. Retailers should therefore encourage feedback from customers wherever possible.

Retailers can increase the amount of feedback they collect by integrating feedback mechanisms into their own branded apps. If feedback is as easy as clicking a button, it is more likely to attract customers than if they need to log in or register. Retailers can also encourage their customers by offering rewards for feedback.

It’s difficult to predict when this deficit will end, but that does not mean it cannot be prepared for. By taking the steps above, delivery drivers will trust that they’re in good hands and will be able to carry out their jobs to the best of their ability.

For more advice and tips on how to manage delivery visit our blog here:

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