Leading industry figures have echoed the importance of proactive talent management in addressing skills gaps in road transport firms in both freight logistics and passenger mobility.
Under the theme of “Driving Talent with Data”, the IRU RoadMasters Forum looked at the chronic issue of driver shortages from a transport operator perspective, how data can help drive talent management, and some of the tools available for driver skills profiling.
With driver shortages expected to soar this year, transport operators and shippers in many markets cite skills gaps as the leading cause. Shortages are leading to increasing costs, operational difficulties and an inability to satisfy customer demand for many operators.
A wide range of speakers brought insights to the topical debate at the virtual Forum, including logistics and mobility operators such as ALSA, Hegelmann Express, Kuehne + Nagel and Torello; human capital experts Adecco; insurance giant AON and logistics users including Petroleum Development Oman and Vodafone.
Key takeaways included a move to skills profiling across the industry, the need to define a skills taxonomy, and that traditional one-size-fits-all classroom delivery is sub-optimal and seen as outdated.
Christian Müller from Kuehne + Nagel said: “Of course we can measure the technical performance of the drivers, but we should not forget the soft skills.”
Andreas Schmidt from the Hegelmann Group said: “Lack of tools to get data on drivers is a challenge, for example on behaviour at loading sites.”
Ryan Davidson from Vodafone said: “Organisations tend to look at individual aspects such as telematics data, training data, incident data, and fuel card data in their own silos like HR, safety, or operations. The key is combining data.”
Paula Fernandez from ASLA said: “Any tool you use you need to make sure the scoring is consistent”
John McLaughlin from AON said: “If we get this [proactive people risk management] right we drive some quite substantial returns to business and truly move the needle.”
The Forum discussed innovative solutions to help transport firms in effective hiring, targeted driver capacity building and reward programmes to ensure cost optimisation, risk mitigation and increased driver retention.
IRU itself has developed the RoadMasters programme, a solution to help firms hire, develop and reward commercial drivers with measurement tools. RoadMasters skill profiles lay out the international standard for knowledge and skills required for different driver jobs, and the assessment solution quantifies driver skills against these profiles with easy to use visual analytics.
More than 300 participants from over 65 countries signed up for the RoadMasters Forum, attesting to the importance of skills management as a growing issue for road transport operators worldwide, especially in managing driver recruitment and retention.