There are around 1.5 million people who are employed as sales workers and light truck or delivery service drivers. These individuals drive on behalf of their company to deliver goods and services daily.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these two industries are projected to grow by only two percent between 2018 and 2028. While more light truck or delivery service drivers will be needed to meet the demands of e-commerce growth, driver growth is expected to decline as more individuals opt for self-employment or independent contractor roles with smartphone-based delivery opportunities.
Even though these industry projections may not drastically change the number of employed drivers over the next decade, delivery services companies are increasingly focused on driver behavior and are proactively employing solutions to protect their business, brand, employee retention and communities.
One Vice President of Sales within SambaSafety facilitated a roundtable discussion with panelists, including the Director of Safety & Risk Management for Cox Communications and the President of Safety Pro, to speak about the:
- Importance of understanding certain safety topics for delivery drivers
- Vast selection of technology solutions for companies with employee drivers
- Business opportunities available when ensuring delivery driver safety and its broader impact
This is how the conversation went.
Five trends in delivery services every pro must think about
The discussion began by focusing on the overall task of managing drivers in intensive service delivery organizations and how teams work with field organizations to accomplish safety goals and initiatives. Both panelists agreed that there had to be a multifaceted approach in accomplishing safety goals and initiatives instead of relying on a single solution.
Cox Communications: We ultimately employ four to five solutions to help us accomplish our goals. We look at efficiency, administrative burden and ease of use. It needs to be established, effective for the operation and be a leader in the space, which is one of the reasons we use SambaSafety.
Safety Pro: What I look for is an optimal mix of resources. We’re all being asked to do more with less. It comes down to fleet safety and keeping qualified drivers on road, keeping them properly trained and actively monitoring them to support and encourage safe behavior behind the wheel. It’s a holistic approach of providing the right kind of environment and a strong safety culture that shows that drivers are valued, appreciated and that the employer cares and wants them to get home safe every day.
Top Tip: Look for a mix of resources applicable to the needs of your company. After all, you are working to find reasonable solutions that fit within a multifaceted safety approach. Remember, one size does not fit all when it comes to safety – find what works for your organization.
Selecting the right technology solutions
Driver safety technology has evolved quickly over the past few decades, leaving employers with numerous options to choose from. This has created the challenge of utilizing the right solution mix that will make the greatest positive impact to the business.
SambaSafety: How do you determine the types of technologies that are implemented to improve employee and community safety?
Cox Communications: The challenge now is to keep up with the technology options out there. The marketplace is full of vendors offering different levels of support. We look at engineering controls we can build into the vehicles and the types of drivers behind the wheel. We want to understand driver history and current driver behavior, and we can do so with continuous driver monitoring and telematics. It will never be about not having technologies to choose from, but it’s about choosing the right ones.
Safety Pro: We’re hearing more and more from safety professionals that they’re inundated with information and data. Technology is more accessible and cheaper, but these safety professionals are wondering how to make heads and tails of the data they’re receiving. It’s important for a system to be intuitive, make sense and for it to be one that someone can easily get their head around and use.
Top Tip: Do your research before fully committing to technological solutions. Just because it may appear right for your company doesn’t mean it always is, especially with an overcrowded marketplace.
Driver retention is a constant challenge for employers with both regulated and non-regulated drivers for many reasons, including emerging contract opportunities, employee relations efforts and proactive initiatives to ensure company drivers are within a company’s safety policy.
SambaSafety: Continuous driver monitoring of past driver behavior is paramount in understanding the condition of a fleet and who is behind wheel. When your fleet spans multiple states, how do you uniformly give feedback on a scoring methodology as point systems differentiate state-by-state?
Cox Communications: Different states have different point systems. To try to follow or grade a driver’s behavior on the west coast and bring action with that if there is an activity, we also want to make sure we’re doing the same following and grading for drivers on the east coast. The advantage of using SambaSafety is the standardized point system. Regardless of state points, we use the SambaSafety point system, so that ADV codes can measure on the exact same level Virginia to California, which allows us to set strict action levels for certain point levels.
It’s critical to know when a driver is exposing risk to business. Because we can set standardize points and implement them against our policy, we can engage HR teams and employee relations teams, and talk about behavior on and off job.
There’s only one person who can control future risk values of future violations. It’s not the employers but the person who owns that MVR. A violation is the result of driver behavior; it’s about being proactive before risky behavior turns into an incident. Having this information allows both the employer and the driver to be proactive.
Safety Pro: The key to driver retention is important in what employers do today. Constant feedback is key. Drivers want to know the rules of engagement and what the score is. The idea is to re-train and provide assistance. People react positively when both employer and employee can work on an intervention program.
This type of technology has come lightyears. When I first found out about continuous driver monitoring, I was elated. The system provides data at your fingertips in a format where we can work with HR and the frontline and determine exactly where risk is.
We can act on drivers with MVR citations on the verge of disqualification, or someone with larger violations. If we can find out up front, we can help the drivers. It’s good for the organization and employee engagement plus it drives incident and claim rates down.
Top Tip: Simplify things that are pain points, like making sense of different state point systems on motor vehicle records, using technology. Understand that when menial administrative tasks can be streamlined, more time and effort can be dedicated to things like driver retention and continuous employee engagement.
With heightened social awareness and companies under the microscope now more than ever, any incident can immediate run rampant across social networks, peer review platforms and even the media. Many companies are acutely aware of keeping their brand and reputation in a positive light. Many do so by taking proactive measures to strengthen an organization’s safety culture.
SambaSafety: How has the use of continuous driver monitoring helped with brand protection?
Pro Safety: Brand and reputation is everything right now. Safety and sustainability are getting more press than ever, and investors are looking at brand and reputation. Employee engagement is tied closely with the number of safety incidents. According to a Gallup Survey, employers who score in the top quartile have 70 percent fewer safety incidents. A good, holistic program goes a long way in making sure a company is protecting its brand and reputation.
Cox Communications: Brand and reputation is critical right now, especially in the highly competitive environment for both customers and employees. If you have several vehicles with a logo on the side, those are rolling billboards. How well those vehicles seem to be operating is potentially reflective from a customer standpoint on how well the business is being run or the quality of services provided.
Top Tip: A negative brand and reputation can make or break a company’s safety efforts. Company drivers are often one of the first interactions people have with your brand, underlining the need to have only the best drivers behind the wheel. The importance and critical nature of a holistic safety program that considers brand and reputation cannot be understated.
Claims information is an additional data element employers may use to gauge the effectiveness of their driver safety policy. Based on results and trends, companies can take initiatives or adjust current policies to simultaneously improve the bottom line and company-wide safety.
SambaSafety: How do you integrate claims data into the metrics SambaSafety provides and the other technologies you use to improve on overall safety?
Cox Communications: It’s not a one-tool solution. Between telematics, continuous driver monitoring, a good onboarding process, driver training and engineering, we’re trying to take advantage of everything we can. In this approach, we’ve seen positive results. We believe this is the responsible approach to driver behavior and we’re going to keep doing it.
Pro Safety: I recently had a good experience with an insurance renewal. I presented the underwriter with a solid management system when it came to fleet safety, which included telematics and continuous driver monitoring. I was pleased to renew at favorable rates, especially in today’s environment. A good safety program can go a long way in keeping loss ratios down.
Top Tip: Utilize claims data in a way that benefits your company. Such data can help tie together the effectiveness of all external solutions being used. Present this information to your insurers – you may see more favorable rates upon renewal time.
A holistic approach to driver safety
The best delivery services companies continue focusing on driver behavior and are proactively employing solutions to protect their business, brand, employee retention and communities. Continuous driver monitoring is one such solution that allows companies to do just that.
Curious to learn more about continuous driver monitoring and how it can impact a business like yours? Utilize our claims calculator to estimate how much your company can potentially save a year.