Motivating Drivers Across 5 Generations

Past, Present, and Future Generations

Generations past did not see huge technological advances in their lifetime. Workforce management was much simpler. Their expectation was a fair wage for a hard day’s work. For that reason a fair wage was enough to motivate most workers. As technology races forward, it impacts each successive generation in new ways. The common thread is that each generation must be more adaptable than the last to keep up with the evolution of technology in the workplace. In the chart below, data from 2 sources is combined to disply the generational makeup of the global workforce. The generational range definitions used are from Pew Research Center.

Generations of Diversity

Defining the Generations

Very few truckers who are in their 70’s are still driving for a living. They have a far different outlook on work and life than younger drivers. Likewise, they are a bit more resistant to change than younger generations. For many of them, the ELD mandate was the straw that broke the camel’s back. As more routine driver tasks move from paper to digital formats, Builders and Boomers can either go with the flow or be left behind.

The trucking industry likely has fewer Gen-Z’s than the 24% shown in the workforce breakdown because less than half of them are old enough to drive. In contrast, they will be the next defining challenge to integrate into the fleet workforce. Each group has its own priorities and values. They have been shaped by fast-developing technology, an ever changing economy, and global vs local perspectives.

Managing fleet personnel well is dependent upon understanding these generational differences. Certainly, that is the key to recruitment, training, benefit and reward strategies that will resonate across generations. Ultimately, success is tied to keeping drivers happy and retaining them long term. Phyllis Weiss Haserot, author of “You Can’t Google It!: The Compelling Case for Cross-Generational Conversation at Work” identifies the traits of each generation as well as the fears that influence them. Her findings broken down in the charts below, along with a little common sense, reveal some interesting possibilities.

 

Baby Boomers

Not surprising, Baby Boomer workplace traits and fears are tied to their physical age. They are also your most experienced drivers. Younger workers can learn a lot from them about staying safe and productive on the road from them. Boomers can also teach younger workers about person to person contact and relationship building by example. Boomers can probably learn a lot from younger workers about work/life balance. Perhaps turning over some training duties to your Boomers will benefit everyone.

Boomers are open and adaptable to new technology but may tend to be skeptical until the new tech proves its value. Including them early in the process when introducing new technology will make them feel valued. Furthermore, they will better understand the value the technology brings and become your champions for the changes proposed.

Generation X

From the traits listed, it would seem Gen-Xers feel like it’s them against the world. That can be a difficult dynamic to address for drivers who spend a good deal of their time alone in the field. Extra effort is needed to make them feel part of the team. They have an entrepreneurial spirit in the workplace tempered by a friends and family first attitude.

Pairing them with Boomers for training may balance their fears of acceptance by Boomers, while pairing them to train and work alongside Millennials may balance their fears of losing the support of Millennials they work with. What seems most important is to foster their relationships with other generational groups as they are not likely to choose those relationships for themselves.

Perhaps a team challenge incentive with members of each generation on each team. Working together toward a shared goal will help bridge the generational gaps. Something as simple as a Boomer asking a Gen Xer for help using a new app can make them feel valued and boost their morale.

Generation Y Millennials

Gen Y word cloud

Millennials will respond best to web-based training programs. They are more comfortable with learning online than in a classroom or one on one training. They need highly focused, but brief training sessions, and lots of e-resources to get their questions answered.

Driver safety scorecard performance incentives and gamification apps will resonate with Millennials. This can open the lines of communication to bring them into the team environment. Like the Gen-Xers, making them feel they are part of the team can be challenging.

Recognition by their Gen-X and Boomer supervisors is critical to their motivation. A clearly defined career path will keep them on track. If they feel they are valued by management and co-workers, and achievement of benchmarked goals clearly offers a path for career advancement, they are more likely to stay and be successful.

Generation Z

Gen Z word cloud

More than any of the other generations, Gen-Zers are invested in and place a high priority on making the world a better and safer place. They have been exposed since birth to issues like terrorism, global warming, and changing political correctness.

Gen-Zers have the skills to be great team players. Technology like smartphones and tablets have always been part of life for them, and new technology advancements are their norm, expected as sure as daybreak. AI and robotics replacing manual labor is a very real possibility in their lifetimes.

It may be too soon to define strategies to attract and retain this up-and-coming segment of the workforce. In fact, it may be too soon to predict if driving will continue to be part of the job. For that reason, it is time to begin redefining what tasks will take the place of driving when the vehicles in our future are driverless?

In any case, one thing that will be critical to Gen-Z is who we are as employers. Our corporate attitudes regarding our local and global impact, both good and bad will be important to them. Are we as corporate citizens doing our part to keep the environment clean? Do we take a stand regarding social injustice, help the disadvantaged, and keep our data secure? If not, they will find another employer that does.

Conclusions

Retaining drivers across all the generations is dependent upon creating a company culture with a shared purpose, open communication, and respect for individualism. Understanding the traits and fears associated with each major group is the gateway to creating that culture. Using the strengths of one group to relieve the fears of another is just good business. With a little creativity and intentional focus, an inclusive culture where drivers of all ages work together productively is achievable.

Battery Power – More, Better, Faster

Battery power is always in the back of our minds.

rechargeable cordless drill In the Telematics industry, our clients communicate throughout the workday on smartphones. Also, many run apps on phones or tablets. We use portable devices to manage work orders, complete electronic forms, report issues, receive locations and update routes. Similarly other apps capture signatures, record work completed, and document damaged freight. Furthermore, field technicians use an array of battery-powered tools to get their work done. As a result, if we run out of battery power it all comes to a screeching halt.

More EV’s = More Battery Power

Now add to this the increased use of Electric Vehicles. Seems like we are becoming more and more dependent upon battery power. That raises another big concern. As the rate we are consuming battery power increases, there is a very real risk of a battery disposal crisis in our future. Is all this battery use going to be sustainable?

Improving Battery Technology

Improving battery technology is high on the list of hot tech issues to address. Environmentally friendly batteries that charge faster and last longer will head off the potential crisis. So what is being done about it? Here are some of the encouraging projects I found.

Saft Research Director Patrick Bernard recently shared 3 new technologies being considered.

NEW GENERATION LITHIUM-ION

These batteries use different active materials to increase both energy and power. They will have very long life cycles, typically charging/discharging thousands of cycles.

LITHIUM-SULFUR

This battery has a different type of internal structure. It uses sulfur in the positive electrode and lithium in the negative electrode. As it discharges, chemical changes occur inside the battery. The reverse occurs during the charging cycle.

SOLID-STATE

Solid-state batteries use a solid compound rather than liquid electrolyte. This will make the batteries safer. The solid electrolytes are not flammable. This technology promises higher voltages, and batteries that are denser, lighter, and last longer on the shelf. These may become the future battery of choice for Electric vehicles.

Electric Car Lithium Battery Pack And Power Connections Other Technologies Being Researched

Gold Nanowire Batteries are under development at UC Irvine. Researchers claim they can be recharged over 200,000 times with no material deterioration. Ultimately, this may result in a battery that lasts “forever.

Extreme Fast Charging or XFC charges batteries faster by charging them at higher temperatures. Using this method they say a 10-minute charge will add 200 miles of range on an EV battery.

Wireless Charging

Another research team reports initial success with an antenna that collects AC power from WiFi in the air and converts it to DC. It is being developed for use with battery powered medical devices. Instead of future surgeries to replace a batteries, the battery charges pretty much all the time.

Yet another startup is developing semiconductors made from organic materials. They are talking about 60-second cell phone charging and 5 minute EV charging if their research proves successful. Similarly a unique and promising technology under development uses ultrasound to wirelessly transmit electricity to a small receiver to recharge a device.

There are also preliminary reports of batteries made of foam and foldable materials, but the one that seems to be getting attention is the technology announced this past April by Nikola Corp. They plan to release details at their Nikola World 2020 conference next fall. They say they have a game-changing new technology that is more environmentally friendly than conventional lithium-ion and could double the range of passenger EVs.

One thing is certain. It will be very interesting to see what batteries look like 5 years from now.

Return on Investment Series: Fleet Savings Summary

What is the Fleet Savings Summary Report?

The Fleet Savings Summary Report is a snapshot of existing versus potential savings for your fleet. These savings were determined through the use of proprietary driver scoring algorithms.

 

Fleet Savings Summary

Report Overview

 

To calculate a fleets existing and potential telematics-related savings, a detailed breakdown of its operating costs are required. Geotab conducted a combination of primary and secondary North American market research to develop fleet-specific Cost-per-Mile (CpM) models, including sub-models for fixed vehicle related costs, variable vehicle related costs, and driver salary related costs. There are two major factors that impact the nature of fleet costs, vehicle class & vehicle mileage.

  • Fleet Savings ReportVehicle Class – The vehicle makeup of a fleet has a big impact on its operating costs. For example, Heavy-Duty (HD) trucks have a very different CpM breakdown than Medium-Duty (MD) and Light-Duty (LD) vehicles. The Fleet Savings Summary Report segregates CpM data into three classifications: HD, MD & LD.
  • Vehicle Mileage – Just as vehicle class impacts CpM, vehicle mileage can have a large impact as well. This is true for two reasons:
    • Fixed vehicle and driver costs will be spread over less total miles.
    • Vehicles that drive fewer miles will likely spend a larger portion of their driving time on city roads rather than highways or freeways, which can increase the vehicles variable CpM.

 

In order to determine a fleets average mileage, the Fleet Savings Summary Report automatically calculates an average monthly mileage for the entire fleet, and multiplies it by 12 to get the estimated annual value.

In the next series we will discuss how we identify key opportunities for cost-savings.

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Return on Investment Series: COI

Telematics & GPS Cost of Ignoring

Simply stated, the cost of ignoring is money left on the table. Cost of ignoring (COI) can be thought of as the amount of lost savings that result when a company fails to undertake a strategic business investment that would otherwise improve operational efficiency. For fleet managers it can be thought of as the incremental operating costs resulting from the improper use of telematics or lack thereof.

 

ROI v. COI

COI has the same strategic goals as ROI, however there are a few fundamental differences as seen in the table below. The primary difference is that COI is focused on minimizing operating costs, whereas ROI is focused on maximizing incremental revenue.

 

ROI v COI

 

Finding Savings

 

Each fleet is unique, and therefore each fleet can have drastically different cost structures. In our research, we found that two variables specifically impacted a fleets operating costs: vehicle class and vehicle mileage.

Here is an example: A long-haul Heavy-Duty (HD) fleet will have a very different cost per mile (CPM) breakdown than a low-mileage Light-Duty (LD) fleet. In general, the HD fleet will likely have larger proportional fuel expenses per mile, but the fleet will have larger collision and claims CPM.

Savings opportunities available to a specific fleet will change based on the fleets operating characteristics. This can make the opportunities difficult to identify and quantify.

In the next series, we will discuss using our Fleet Savings Summary Report to quantify the ROI & COI.

 

View previous Return on Investment Series post here.

Request more information here.

 

Return on Investment Series: Article 1

Telematics & GPS ROI

return-on-investment

Return on investment (ROI) is a performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment, or to compare different investments. ROI measures the amount of return on an investment relative to the investment. To calculate ROI, the benefit (or return) of an investment is divided by the cost of the investment, and the result is expressed as a percentage.

The telematics industry has come a long way since the days of downloading data when a vehicle returns to home base and providing dots on a map. Today, telematics can provide fleet managers instant reports on location, vehicle driving behavior, maintenance alerts and so much more, thus providing a significant ROI.

 

5 Pillars of Fleet Management for Return on Investment

 

Safety – Speeding, harsh driving behavior, reverse, seatbelt, accident reduction
Productivity – Stop duration, dispatch, route efficiency, sales/service calls, timely service
Optimization – Proactive maintenance, odometer readings, vehicle health, fuel consumption
Compliance – Company policies, State/Federal laws, HOS
Expandability – Integrate with 3rd party software, power of the IOX, marketplace

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