By Brian Beans, Transportation Industry Specialist, Brother Mobile Solutions

The shortage of qualified drivers has been a challenge for trucking companies in recent years. The problem continues to grow as the current workforce of long-haul and regional drivers age and retire with fewer recruits coming up to replace them. And now, with oil prices and production starting to climb again, the shortage is likely to hit the oil and gas industry hard, unless companies find ways to attract and incentivize a new generation of drivers. Try a Brother Mobile Printer for Free

A recent report1 from the American Trucking Associations notes: “The driver shortage is really a problem for the entire supply chain as 70.6% of all freight tonnage is moved on the nation’s highways.” According to the report, the shortfall is expected to rise by the end of 2017 to the highest level on record as freight volumes recover and the industry transitions to the use of electronic logging devices to record driver hours-of-service.”

Some freight transportation companies are seeking creative ways to recruit new drivers offering incentives such as sign-on bonuses, training for CDLs, on-the-job apprenticeships, and other enticements to make the driver lifestyle more appealing for a diverse new generation of truckers.  The energy sector might do the same by offering on-the-job training, financial incentives, and/or a range of lifestyle perks.

Brother Mobile Solutions and our mobile technology partners believe that automation can help. One approach trucking firms can take to attract more millennials is to equip their fleets with interactive networked communications systems, electronic devices, and in-cab mobile printing for fast, easy on-the-fly printing of receipts, reports and other documents ? virtually anytime and anywhere. 

Check out 5 ways today’s cool mobile technologies can help engage a new generation of drivers:

1. An “Office-in-the-Cab”

Networked wireless systems provide truck drivers with a convenient in-cab office, complete with real-time interactive communications and speedy, on-demand printing. This is especially critical in remote O&G regions, where terrain can be rough and worksites few and far between. A well-equipped in-cab office means fewer stops and interruptions on the road, reduced administrative tasks and, best of all, no more waiting lines at truck stops or making repetitive trips to the office to print or fax documents required by government officials, regulatory agencies, or waiting customers.. With all of these capabilities and more right at hand, drivers can focus on making their mileage goals safely and calmly to meet customer delivery promises.

2. Optimized routes, better customer service

Leading transportation solutions for long-haul truck fleets and drivers offer route optimization so drivers can avoid traffic jams and delays and deliver loads on time. Some integrated, enterprise-scale apps offer real-time, two-way information flow, enabling drivers to better coordinate loading and delivery times and avoid excessive waiting and idling time at customer sites.

Advanced mobile solutions designed for regional fleets, such as service contractors and delivery (DSD) trucks, frequently provide strategic route optimization to increase driver productivity. They may also provide apps to coordinate a range of supply chain processes, from the plant, to the worksite, to the store. Our transport industry customers report that deployment of mobile technology systems, coupled with our compact and reliable mobile printers, have helped enormously in boosting customer service and satisfaction, while helping drivers do their jobs faster and more efficiently.

3. Faster, easier compliance with new ELD rules

With the deadline for new FMCSA rules now taking effect, commercial carriers and their drivers will be mandated to employ an electronic logging device (ELD) which, among other things, tracks a driver’s Hours of Service (HOS) and Record of Duty Status (RDS).  With onboard mobile technology and mobile printers in place, presenting this e-log information upon request to a law enforcement officer or other official is a breeze. No muss, no fuss? the driver can just use laptop, tablet or smartphone and in-cab wireless printer to create and print a certified HOS or RDS report, as well as any other documents needed during their run, including permits, bills of lading, manifest documents, incident reports, regulatory forms, delivery receipts, labels, and more.

4. Professional quality printing “At Your Side”

Whether long-haul, regional or local, truck drivers appreciate the freedom and flexibility of having high-speed, high-quality printing capabilities at their side. Brother Mobile Solutions offers a comprehensive array of next-generation mobile printers with features and functionality to meet the diverse needs of these companies. Our compact, lightweight RuggedJet and PocketJet Series of thermal mobile printers are designed to automate printing of a wide range of documents. Affordable, reliable and easy to use, Brother’s handheld mobile printers offer multiple connectivity options, fast connectivity, and interoperability with all major technology platforms and operating systems. Plus, they are backed by Brother’s exclusive warranties.

5. Transforming the nation’s truck transport industry

It’s clear that advanced mobile technology and mobile printing are changing the face of the truck transport and delivery industry, across the continent and even across our neighborhoods. Mobile technology solution developers and product partners have made great strides in providing a wide range of options that enable trucking businesses of every size and scope to find and implement the innovative solutions they need to help increase operational efficiency and productivity, lower costs, boost driver safety and job satisfaction, and improve customer service ? all in the quest for higher profitability and more competitive business performance.  It’s well recognized that successful companies find it easier to attract new workers…and mobile technology is certainly a contributor in helping resolve the driver shortage.

Whether you are a long-haul fleet operator, route/delivery distributor, midstream Oil & Gas entity or have a small fleet on the road - Brother mobile printers can drive better results for your fleet. Compact, wireless, truly-mobile printers by Brother connect with virtually any device for anytime and anywhere printing.

Call 800-543-6144 or visit http://bit.ly/2FrHY4g

1 Truck Driver Shortage Analysis 2017, by Bob Costello, Senior VP and Chief Economist, American Trucking Associations.  ATA is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry.