The second ZF future study on long-haul truck drivers shows one thing: The trend towards industrialization of logistics is set to continue and will also continue to increasingly shape the profession of drivers. Therefore strategies for recruitment and training need to be taken into focus by the industry, because the looming shortage of drivers can become a serious economic threat.
The science-based study is based on 30 interviews with experts, as well as on interviews with 2,200 drivers and 700 trainees. Initiators of the study are the ZF Friedrichshafen AG, DEKRA, as well as the magazine FERNFAHRER. Prof. Dr. Dirk Lohre from the Institute for Sustainability in Transport and Logistics (INVL) at Heilbronn University was in charge of the scientific management.
Optimized processes and specialization
“Companies will continue to optimize their processes and better exploit the potential of active drivers,” says Lohre. The industrialization of the freight sector is thereby about to capture all those involved in logistics: drivers, trucking companies and clients. “Drivers will drive more in the future – to allow for this new concepts need to be developed,” says Lohre. As for loading and unloading it is important to decouple it from the driving activity. For clients this also means to provide for shorter waiting times at the ramps to ensure that the drivers can concentrate on the essentials of their task. Thus, the industrialization of the freight industry brings opportunities for manufacturers and suppliers.
Trend towards larger companies
Industrialization and specialization will also have impact on the operating variables. Small companies will need to join together and form alliances, if they want to survive in the market.
Farewell to the “King of the Road”
The connection of the truck driver to “his” truck will dissolve: In order to provide for the social planning possibilities of the driver’s profession, relay stations will establish where the vehicles are passed on from one to the next driver. The proportion of truck drivers, who fully adjust their lives to the conditions of professional truck driving, significantly decreases. The image of the “King of the Road” will soon be a thing of the past.
Impetus for logistics companies
The second ZF future study on long-haul truck drivers shows that the creation of composite training and a general quality management for training is urgently needed, as well as working models and operation changes that meet the needs of the work-life balances in future driver generations.
Connected to industrialization and professionalization of truck driving will also be an image shift that on the one hand facilitates addressing prospective future drivers, on the other hand requires a performance-based payment with differentiated remuneration models, in order to reward flexibility and peak loads adequately.