With the trucking and transportation industry facing challenges with supply chain shortages and driver retention, Zello pinpointed the National Private Truck Council (NPTC) conference to gain insights about collaboration and best practices in the private fleet space. Zello Director of Product, Nayeli Cortina, provides her first-hand account of this annual conference that was hosted in Cincinnati in April.
As a product manager attending NPTC conference for the first time, I had an amazing opportunity for deeper discovery into the trucking industry. During the first day of NPTC, participants attended industry expert-led workshops that offered applicable solutions for the most common problems in the private fleet industry. As an exhibitor, this provided critical understanding of the top issues industry leaders face today.
One of the workshops I attended addressed building a culture of retention. This presentation featured Norman Dickerson, a fleet safety director and Mike Schwersenska, a transportation and logistics director. Both had different expertise around driver problems and they presented a list of known issues that affect driver retention and then urged attendees to choose the top reasons for this challenge.
After speaking with over 20 different companies at NPTC, I learned that most drivers rely on personal phones and ELDs (electronic logging devices) for communication. Having worked with many Zello trucking customers, I know that phone calls are not only unsafe, but also non-FMCSA-compliant on the road. Often companies have rules that phones can’t be used while driving, but when they need to get a hold of drivers they still call them, requiring drivers to pull over to answer these calls. This puts drivers in a precarious position because of the size of their vehicle. Simply put, phone calls are a dangerous liability that should and can be eliminated completely.
Another way drivers communicate today is through their ELDs. Many ELDs have communication options such as texting drivers. However, when drivers are on the road, it’s difficult and dangerous for them to read these texts and reply. When drivers are paid by delivery job, yet unable to quickly know when things change without access to live updates, it starts impacting their entire workflow. Again, they must pull off the road to receive these updates, leading to delays in their work, decreased productivity, and overall dissatisfaction with their jobs.
Zello is able to solve so many of the problems that private fleets face today. Because Zello can be installed on any device, most of these private fleet companies don’t need additional hardware to start using Zello. They can simply load the app into the hardware they are using to run their ELDs. Zello runs in the background, and comes in live, loud, and clear. Drivers don’t need to worry about pulling over or opening texts while on the road because Zello messages play without the need for them to touch their devices. Drivers can easily reply with a one-touch button either on their ELD or a handsfree accessory that can be connected to Zello. This means they stay FMCSA-compliant while staying connected to dispatchers, docks, and even other drivers. Since Zello works on any device, anyone who needs it can simply download it onto their own Android, iOS, PC or Mac. This means private fleets can build a culture of connected cargo. Drivers can easily talk to receivers at the docks to give them a heads up of their time of arrival, giving the docks time to prepare for their delivery.
It was educational and helpful to talk to so many people at NPTC who are under pressure to get their jobs done. It was clear that the lack of communication in the private fleet industry is causing job dissatisfaction for drivers, leading to turnover which costs the industry billions of dollars per year. Zello is a safe, reliable and simple solution to this problem. Private fleets deserve better, and with Zello, better is attainable now.