Keeping on blogging: "The Road"

04/07/2014 10:22:00 AM
Tom Karst

For everyone who has ever stared at a blinking cursor in search of inspiration, it is indeed a bold move to create new space to fill, words that must be herded into an orderly whole.

So kudos to C.H. Robinson for the launch of a new industry blog.

Called The Road, the tag line is “driving relationships with the trucking industry.”

Here is what a news release from C.H. Robinson says:

The Road features weekly posts authored by C.H. Robinson employees, industry experts, carrier leaders, and others who support and engage with transportation carriers. Some examples of trending topics that are covered include driver shortage issues, the mobile evolution of the trucking industry, and fleet management challenges.

“The Road focuses on cultivating conversations around best practices and aims to serve as an educational resource for carriers of all sizes,” said Bruce Johnson, director of carrier services at C.H. Robinson. “Working with a variety of industry leaders across the carrier community allows us to share this industry knowledge and positively impact carriers.”

 

 

The blog has actually worn a little tread already, with the archive indicating the first blog post was written in October 2013.

This April 2 post “Driver shortage still an issue and there is no easy fix”  highlights the critical driver shortage issue in a compelling way.

Written by Peter Borgen, manager of carrier services for C.H. Robinson, the post talks about why the trucking industry has lost its appeal and what trucking company executives can do to get it back:

 

 We all know the current workforce is aging, not necessarily a problem. However, young people today are not entering the profession. Why is this? Many talked about it being the image of the job. I’ve been to more than one conference where they ask the audience for their opinion on matters like this. The first question is often, “Who believes there is a driver shortage?” All hands go up in the room. Then the second question comes, “Would you recommend to your son or daughter that they become a truck driver?” Very few hands go up this time. It’s sad but true. The stereotypes of a driver’s life—being away from family, a lack of respect in the public domain, health issues, and loneliness—is what sticks in people’s minds today.

So how will the leaders of the trucking industry fill those seats? We need to improve the appeal of being a truck driver. Everyone agrees there is no easy fix for this issue; however a recent shift in thinking from trucking executives may make all the difference. We all know the executives have a vested interest in finding drivers if they want to keep their trucks on the road. But recently, the executives have begun to shift their mindset about how to approach the issue.

At this year’s TCA conference, there was a genuine interest to make life better for their drivers. Many of the top executives at the conference personally set goals to make this the main priority in their company. Searching for creative ways to get drivers home more often, developing driver wellness challenges, investigating incentive based pay, and improving internal communications were all topics that came to light more than once. The first step in solving a problem is recognizing one. There is no magic answer, but large asset providers are beginning to make an effort to find the solutions this industry needs.

 

TK: The post also ask readers what their companies have done to make the driver’s seat more attractive. I saw three comments, and one pointed out the problem is not just about pay:

Dennis writes:

The other most frustrating problem that has always been endemic in the industry, is the failure of shippers and consignees to load and unload my equipment in a timely fashion. They just seem to not care if a driver has to set and burn up 2-8 hours of his duty time waiting on them to do their job.

Personally, I have kept a list of those companies, and after two instances of waiting more than 2 hours to load or unload, I refuse any future loads that load or unload at that facility. If only all carriers would do that, the problem would either get fixed, or they would go out of business.

I’m not holding my breath for that to happen though, too many drivers will continue to serve then, so the problem continues.

I have met the enemy, and he is us.

 

 

TK Ouch - the produce industry gets a little jab. The Road seems to be doing a good job of engaging issues important to their audience, and getting a reaction. For any blog, that is where the rubber meets the road.



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