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With a global shortage of HGV drivers, how can a driver agency keep your logistics business operational?

It is a well known fact throughout the logistics and transport industry that HGV drivers have been in short supply in recent years. While this is a global issue, in the UK the problem is particularly acute, with an estimated driver shortfall in excess of 50,000. Looking further afield, in 2018 Transport Intelligence reported that the shortage has reached 127,500 in the UK, Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden and Norway alone. It is assumed that this trend is in evidence throughout the western world.

Precisely what is behind this is unclear, however industry experts cite any number of possible causes including an ageing workforce reaching retirement, high training costs deterring younger people from entering the industry, and even a lack of good quality, convenient overnight parking facilities making it difficult to meet mandatory rest requirements. It has also been suggested that many Eastern European workers who might otherwise choose a career in haulage have been taking jobs in a booming manufacturing sector in the region instead.

The implications of all this for haulage companies, removal firms, and other industries which rely on efficient logistics support can be highly detrimental. In many cases, operations managers are finding themselves in the position of having to ask HGV drivers to work overtime just to be able to fill shifts and keep their businesses moving. The consequences of this can be extremely serious, with overworked drivers becoming more susceptible to lapses in safety or operational standards.

Fortunately, there is an alternative. By outsourcing recruitment to a driver agency, operations managers can take the uncertainty out of logistics, with access to an unlimited supply of qualified personnel. This service is especially useful during peak seasons, when demand for experienced, reliable HGV drivers is at its highest, and competition for the best staff can be fierce.

While it has been argued that using an agency can increase costs by introducing a ‘middleman’ into the process of recruiting driving staff, the reality could not be more different. On the contrary, companies deciding to pursue this strategy report a whole spectrum of benefits, from reduced costs to increased flexibility and efficiency.

A few of the many ways in which sourcing staff via a driver agency could benefit and enhance the logistics side of your business include;

-Access to a huge pool of drivers available whenever your business requires additional staff.

-Savings on staffing costs during weaker trading months as there are no additional full-time salaries to cover.

-Administrative support in dealing with issues such as compliance and payroll.

-Operational continuity – no need to jeopardise order fulfilment or other logistical operations due to staff illnesses or holidays.

Using agency drivers can also enhance business in a broader sense, as it enables entrepreneurs to experiment with new strategies without making the commitment of recruiting permanent staff. Additionally, by operating in this way, businesses are better able to capitalise on periods of high demand or balance the books during leaner times by expanding or decreasing their pool of drivers in response to changes in the market.

For drivers themselves, working via a driver agency presents a range of advantages. They are able to find employment quickly without needing to own a vehicle themselves, and can build experience which will make them far more attractive to potential permanent employers. This type of arrangement can also act as a kind of extended probationary period, during which driver and employer alike can decide how suited both parties are to one another.

In fact, even your permanent employees benefit, as they are able to take holidays at a time of their own choosing or time off work due to illness without needing to worry about jeopardising the business which pays their wages.

Ultimately, the key benefit of recruiting drivers through an agency for anyone working in logistics or a related industry is the fact that it enables them to remain fully operational at all times. After all, a fleet of modern haulage vehicles is a highly valuable commodity which incurs an equally considerable financial outlay just in terms of maintenance and storage costs. So it makes sound financial sense to keep these assets on the road as much as possible.

It goes without saying that it is impossible to accomplish this if there is nobody available to actually drive the vehicles which cost so much money to acquire, store and maintain. In light of this, the potential to keep your fleet out on the road and generating revenue by using agency drivers is simply too good an opportunity to miss.

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