If you’re keeping up with fleet industry news right now, things may be looking bleak. With gas prices on the rise and driver shortages continuing post-pandemic, the fleet industry continues to struggle to get back on its feet as the strain on the supply chain worsens. It is becoming more expensive to run a fleet than previously, and smaller businesses have trouble holding on. It is challenging to predict fleet industry trends in times like these, but we can work to combat the current situation. Here, we will discuss driver rewards programs in particular and how they can address both the problems of rising fuel costs and driver shortages.
How Trucking Companies Have Been Affected
Gas prices have been hitting all-time highs all over the nation. Diesel is climbing at a higher rate than gas, and trucking companies suffer worst. 5 on Your Side interviewed Thomas Miller, a truck driver affected by this surge: "I fill up twice a week usually and it’s right around 200 gallons every time. You’re looking at a $300 to $400 increase in costs that I have every week, in the last week alone. In the last week alone we’ve seen prices go up 75 cents a gallon in a one-week time frame. I’ve never seen the fuel prices rising this quickly. This is double more than we’ve seen before.” Trucks sometimes have up to 500 gallons to fill up, which can get expensive fast.
Trucks can’t simply stop moving, or the nation would not have the goods it needs to function. 70% of the nation’s goods are transported by trucks. Matt Hart, a representative of the Illinois Trucking Association, outlines the problem: “[I]f our number one cost goes up, that will lead to higher freight prices, which means higher prices for consumers. Ultimately at the end of the day, every American citizen is going to pay the cost.” Fleet businesses cannot bear the burden all on their own, so this problem will likely spread to everyone before it's resolved.
However, gas prices aren’t the only place where fleet companies are financially hurting. The driver shortage is also severely affecting many fleets. Hart says, “Some have a severe shortage. 36% of carriers need a 15% increase in drivers. About 77% of companies have already increased driver pay in January and February.” Fleets must find a way to retain their drivers, as having to hire new ones is an expensive and time-consuming process that they simply can’t afford right now.
How Driver Rewards Programs Can Help
Driver rewards programs may not be the first tool you go to when you think of a solution to this problem. And, of course, it would be just one of many steps to take. But driver rewards programs can help your fleet take significant steps towards improving your gas mileage and retaining drivers for the long haul.
There are all kinds of driver rewards programs, but it can be hard to manage one when your budget doesn’t allow for a significant amount of time or money to be spent. Luckily, there are automatic options as well. A driver rewards program like Azuga’s tracks driver behavior through telematics and your fleet management software and assigns your driver a safety score. Then, it compares each driver’s safety scores and determines the best one. The system awards whoever has the best score a prize such as a gift card.
Because driver rewards programs track driver behavior, they can detect habits that affect fuel use, such as speeding, rapid acceleration, and idling. These are massive fuel-wasting behaviors that need to be eliminated in these dire times, not only for driver safety but also to save on costs. When you keep track of these behaviors and reward drivers for eliminating them, it decreases their occurrence among the fleet, improving your fuel economy across the board.
Driver rewards programs also encourage friendly competition between your drivers, enhancing the work environment. Drivers who feel rewarded for a job well done and appreciated for their work are more likely to stay on your team. Right now, it’s critical to keep drivers as happy as possible. Having a rewards program is an excellent incentive for new drivers to come on, as they will see that you have a positive working culture.
Get the Best Rewards Program with Azuga
If you’re looking for a rewards program that basically runs itself, Azuga has you covered. We do everything for you, from tracking behavior to determining scores, even distributing the rewards! You can see everything we have to offer by trying a demo.