Attempts to squeeze as much out of every aspect of drivers’ daily duties may be a double edged sword, says John Larkin, director of research for industry analysis firm Stifel Financial Corp.
While proper routing, driver coaching systems and forward-facing video can boost fleets’ productivity and help lower costs, it could be eroding driver recruiting and retention efforts, Larkin said last month in a conference call with investors.
“We have a mentality out there that if we’re to be cost competitive, we have to micromanage the driver,” Larkin said.
The micromanagement trend, he said, makes driving truck a more difficult job and less appealing, he said, especially to veteran drivers.
Here’s his statement in full:
“We want he or she to be in the right hand lane doing 62 miles an hour in a speed-governed truck while we’re monitoring his or her fuel efficiency. We’re making sure they stay on the prescribed route and we’re making sure that they take a rest at the prescribed rest area. We are making sure they take on fuel only at the prescribed fueling point and in the gallons that has been predetermined. We’re watching them on the satellite. We’ve got a camera inside the cab of the truck that will take a movie of you if there’s any kind of acceleration, deceleration, swerve to the left or swerve to the right. This is not the kind of job that the swashbuckling truck drivers of years gone past would have any interest in and that’s part of what makes it so difficult.”