August 7, 2023
Organizations that manage physical operations are facing one of their toughest challenges yet: finding enough drivers and keeping them on the road. U.S. fleets are already facing an 80,000-person driver shortage and a staggering 90% turnover rate, both of which are predicted to persist over the next decade. But rapidly evolving technology is providing industry leaders with new tools to change this path. New solutions are giving organizations that manage physical operations the unique opportunity to reimagine—and vastly improve—the employee experience.
In addition to the safety risk inherent to their jobs, drivers leave their positions, or the industry altogether, when they have poor experiences caused by legacy systems, siloed work, and limited learning opportunities. Modernizing these disparate, manual processes with technology is the key to keeping workers safe, connected, productive, and ultimately, to creating a work experience that drives retention.
Employers are catching on. In a recent survey of 1,500+ physical operations leaders across the globe, two in three said they are increasing their technology budgets this year. The right technology—such as mobile-first tools and coaching workflows—can help workers take ownership of their on-the-job safety and career development.
The fact that technology budgets continue to increase—especially during this macroeconomic climate—indicates how confident leaders are in the ROI of digital technology. In fact, the leaders we surveyed report widespread benefits as a result of their technology investments: 50% report both improved safety and compliance, while 43% percent report higher revenue and increased net profit. Read on to discover six ways you can empower your teams with technology to drive gains across your own operations.
One area where technology is having a major impact is driver retention. Connected Operations Leaders—the top 8% of survey respondents who reported the highest level of digital maturity across their operations—are outperforming their peers in this area. Compared to organizations in the beginning stages of digitization, Connected Operations Leaders are 5x more likely to rate the productivity of their workforce as "excellent," and 56% report increased retention as a benefit of upskilling employees with new technology. By improving driver training with technology, you can prevent incidents before they happen. This enables drivers to work and feel valued knowing their safety is a priority, and you can attract new talent as a safe operator.
Samsara helps foster this in a couple of ways. Our Proactive Driver Coaching solution helps keep drivers safe with real-time coaching and incident detection, while the Driver App digitizes manual processes to save valuable time and effort. Using both of these solutions, Dohrn Transfer Company decreased harsh driving events by 88%. They also started a new safety award program, gamifying Driver Safety Scores within the Driver App to reduce driver turnover by 10%.
When employees are tasked with tedious work, they can become disengaged and unsatisfied on the job. Leaders are taking note; digital workflows that guide employees through day-to-day tasks are the #1 priority leaders identified for upskilling and reskilling employees in the next two years. By simplifying and consolidating tasks with digital tools, employees are freed from mundane work and have increased control over their days, contributing to greater job satisfaction.
One way to do this is by equipping workers with pre-queued tasks via the Samsara Driver App's customizable digital workflows. This improves back-office connectivity while allowing drivers to maintain autonomy in their daily responsibilities. By digitizing processes through the Driver App, Fraley & Schilling reduced paperwork processing time by 99%. “The feedback has been very positive from our drivers. They get to self-manage a lot more using the Driver App, rather than having to rely on us and call every time they have a question,” said Nicky Cupp, Director of Continuous Improvement at Fraley & Schilling.
Employees thrive when their contributions are celebrated, a fact that is widely acknowledged by surveyed leaders—46% report that recognizing employee contributions is a workforce priority. Technology can help bring individualized performance data out of the back office, empowering managers to consistently recognize top performers while helping drivers take control of their development.
With the Samsara Driver App, drivers are able to dig into their own data with personalized Driver Safety Scores based on their safety behavior. Additionally, you can use Driver Safety Scores to fuel your recognition program and encourage friendly competition. One company seeing benefits of this approach is Chalk Mountain Services. They experienced a 15% improvement in driver retention as a result of building a positive safety culture where they reward and celebrate their drivers, enabling them to boost morale and improve retention.
AI is quickly changing how employees learn. In the next two years, 62% of organizations will use AI to coach employees in real time, and 58% will use extended reality. Today, one of the biggest benefits of AI for operations is that it enables training beyond the office. For example, AI dash cams allow organizations to double down on coaching opportunities to improve safety. This technology also detects incidents as they happen and coaches drivers in real time so they can self-correct behaviors without manager feedback, putting drivers in control of their own learning and building confidence.
For example, Samsara’s Proactive Driver Coaching solution deploys AI to assist drivers in real time with In-Cab Alerts for speeding, mobile device usage, tailgating, and more. Leveraging Samsara’s preventative AI technology in their vehicles, Liberty Energy experienced a 50% reduction in accidents and saved $500,000 in incident-related costs. Using the newest feature of Proactive Driver Coaching, Virtual Coach, you can further expand AI-enabled training for drivers with guided self-coaching sessions directly in the Driver App.
Manual, paper-based processes waste employee time and inhibit productivity. However, the good news is that widespread automation efforts are underway. In fact, utilizing data and technology to optimize employee productivity is the #1 workforce priority leaders identified for 2023. Automating processes using technology not only helps eliminate inefficiencies but can also help reskill employees. With manual processes taken off their plates, employees can use their time to build new skills.
By automating business-critical processes with Samsara, such as reporting and maintenance scheduling, workers are able to accomplish more while simultaneously increasing the accuracy of their work. For example, using the Driver App, All Aboard America streamlined their drivers’ workflows with mobile forms and reports. By automating driver reporting, their operations are now nearly 100% paperless and they save 30 minutes per trip, totaling 500 hours saved weekly.
When drivers are connected to the back office, they’re enabled to move throughout their day confidently, knowing support is there when needed. In fact, 96% of deskless workers report that additional technology would help daily communication at their job. By providing advanced mobile technology that goes beyond messaging and calling, you can ensure your drivers are plugged into the larger team at all times.
Samsara Mobile Experience Management (MEM) gives workers peace of mind that help is close at hand. MEM allows management to see everything the worker is experiencing on their mobile device, as well as engage in two-way messaging when troubleshooting or assistance is needed. Using MEM to remotely support their drivers, U.S. Logistics Solutions reduced their average driver call time by 80%. "MEM has helped us build a much better safety culture,” said Todd Boldin, Director of Safety at U.S. Logistics Solutions. “By giving our drivers confidence that we are here for them 24 hours a day, it improves compliance, reduces stress, and helps them be more efficient and productive.”