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Driven to succeed – driver selection and technology

Mathew from industry

By Matthew van den Heuvel, Joint Group CEO of Econorisk. Econorisk is a leading independent risk & short-term insurance advisor.

Developments in technology are evolving at a rapid pace and while this is exciting, a truck driver still plays a crucial role in the logistics industry.

Drivers are one of the most important assets in a trucking business, because they are solely responsible for a significant portion of a transporters assets, from the moment they leave the premises with a fully loaded truck to the safe delivery of the load.

While the right insurance coverage does offer fleet owners peace of mind when a truck sets out on its journey, having the best candidate behind the wheel of your truck adds an extra level of security.
Recruiting drivers is no easy task. There are a few factors that should be considered to ensure that you find a driver who matches the needs of the business.

A driver’s job has many facets. It is important to have a clear understanding of the requirements of the role – the job and driver profile – to recruit and select suitable candidates.

For the majority of the time drivers work without supervision. They need to be self-motivated, responsible, know what they are doing and why they are doing it. The driver is also one of the key team members who know when a truck is or may not be safe to drive.

Drivers must be confident that a truck is loaded safely and legally. Without driver training and cooperation, your maintenance programme is at risk. Does the job require, or demand, any special attributes or experience?

For example, a driver needs experience when operating a six- or seven-axle rig, or additional equipment such as cranes, pumps and fridge units that are being transported.

Selecting the right person for the job
The application form should include relevant questions needed for a preliminary assessment, as well as the personal details of the applicant so that you can run necessary checks.

If a candidate clears all the preliminary checks, take them for a test drive on a legitimate route in a similar make and model truck as they would drive if employed by you. At the conclusion of the driving test, provide them with immediate feedback.

Should the driver perform well during the test and interview, be clear on job specifics, requirements and run reference checks to verify the accuracy of the information you received in the application. Through outlining and clarifying the role of the position upfront, this can avoid ambiguity and allow the driver to apply their skills properly when out on the road.

The final steps are to send the candidate for the obligatory medical and eye test. You can then confirm the position profile and conditions of employment in writing, ensuring that the conditions of employment are in line with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and the Labour Relations Act, as well as any current agreement with the National Bargaining Council.

Technology to help manage your drivers
Hiring the best driver for a position is a crucial part of the business. Once this process has been followed you can utilise technology to manage and monitor your entire system.

It is always a good idea to consult with a respected risk manager who offers a bespoke product offering to suit a transporter’s needs. A good risk manager understands the risks, challenges and processes of the transport industry – including the driver selection process – and extends into many other elements within the industry.

Econorisk has the added advantage of a single analytics platform that consolidates data from a number of different sources, including vehicle telematics, third party devices, and financial and ERP systems.

This provides you with centralised control and real-time analytics, allowing you to have that little bit of extra security next time your trucks are out on the road. Econorisk also offers a bespoke healthcare plan for drivers ensuring that your most important asset is covered in the unfortunate event of an accident.

To learn more about how you can better utilise technology or to chat about unique risks you are facing, contact us and one of our experts will get back to you.

Tristan Wiggill
Special Features Editor at Business Fleet Africa