When you consider that the average age of a trucker is 56, you realize it’s high time to up efforts to recruit and retain younger drivers to address the driver shortage and ensure a future for this profession.
So how do we find younger, mechanically-savvy recruits? What would make millennials want to drive a truck for a living? The answer to the driver shortage is to hit young age groups where they live – which is online or on their phones. The bait on the hook would be technology, with the use of mobile and virtual reality front and center.
After all, when was the last time you were out and about where you couldn’t see at least one person on their smartphone?
Mobile technology makes great sense as a recruiting tool from the shipping industry side as it’s used for so many aspects of transportation management and logistics be it fleet and order tracking, route optimization, or backhaul opportunity matching. All apply to the legions of individual truckers, where mobile can be a lifeline.
Truck owner/operators have a growing field of mobile tech options for making the best use and the most money at the least cost. Just look at Trucker Tools, which offers a single smartphone app to handle all the function previously only affordable by large corporations with sizable fleets of trucks. And it’s free.
The long list of things truckers can do with the Trucker Tools smartphone app is: find the nearest truck stop, get real-time diesel prices, and find the fastest truck route to your destination and more. The app’s Load Track feature enable truckers to receive automated pickup and delivery confirmations. Other features help drivers find medical aid, vehicle sales and service locations, collision repair joints and even Walmarts.
This is what one of their trucker users – Mike Huber – said of the mobile phone app: “It’s a great idea. It’s super easy to use, with a down-to-earth approach.”
Now what if you took one of the hottest consumer technologies out there – virtual reality (VR) technology – and match it with the young age groups that were first to embrace it for gaming – but use it for training and education? It adds a whole new dimension and fun to book learning.
I’m certainly not the first to think of this, but it’s clearly being acted on.
Think of the potential for success here. Beyond enhancing online gaming, VR has captured the collective imagination of sports businesses, marketers, the tourism industry and more. Pro QBs use VR systems (a headset, smartphone and app) to get speed their training by getting extra reps without even touching a football field.
Trucker wannabes could be presented with a 3D scenario in which he or she is graded based on decisions. Do-over are quick and fun, when you don’t have to stay after, or re-study to re-take a test. VR has already been used along with gaming for training in the military.
Young age groups have grown up with VR for gaming, likely logging more hours online than some truckers spend on the road! This is why VR could be a great tool in the larger process of attracting and creating truckers using the tech that’s part of their lives.
The Road Ahead
It’s clear as day that technology is the key to addressing the driver shortage. Mobile and VR play starring roles in intensifying efforts to recruit drivers from young age groups. These are by no means the only ways to meet the challenge. So, stay tuned; we’ll be hitting this issue again.