By Emma Thomasson
SEHLEM, Germany (Reuters) – Faced with a persistent scarcity of truck drivers, logistics firm Deutsche Post DHL Group (DE:) is trialing a brand new scheme to get extra individuals behind the wheel so it will probably maintain items flowing throughout Europe, particularly at peak occasions like Christmas.
A scarcity of drivers is already inflicting delays and rising prices for companies in North America and Europe, with shopper items firm Henkel (DE:) and retailers like Walmart (N:), Kohl’s Corp (N:) and TJX (N:) all reporting issues.
DHL Freight is attempting to make the job extra engaging by providing drivers well-paid contracts, long-term profession prospects, extra diversified work and schedules that enable them to get house to their households within the night.
“I don’t just drive, I also work regularly in the warehouse, doing stock duties, which makes it more varied,” stated Patrick Klankert, a 27-year-old, who’s one in all 30 drivers DHL has employed beneath the pilot scheme.
High workers and transport prices pressured the German postal and logistics group to situation a revenue warning in June and launch a restructuring program at its Post – eCommerce – Parcel (PeP) division, which employs 184,000 workers.
Walmart, which has seen its revenue margins dented by increased freight prices, stated in September it plans to double its spending on attracting and retaining drivers for its U.S. fleet of 6,500 vans, together with providing referral bonuses of up to $1,500.
Self-driving vans may ease the state of affairs however it’s unclear how briskly that can occur, main the International Transport Forum suppose tank to predict a shortfall of up to 800,000 drivers by 2030 within the United States and Europe.
And the prospect of the rise of autonomous vans will not be serving to the business to recruit a brand new era of drivers.
“WHOLE SYSTEM FAILS IF TRUCKS ARE LATE”
While DHL’s submit and parcel division employs its personal supply workers and pays them in accordance to collective wage offers, the freight and forwarding unit operates an “asset-light” technique primarily based on brokering providers from third events.
DHL Freight’s reliance on subcontractors has led to issues in peak seasons when drivers have failed to flip up for shifts, inflicting knock-on results for the whole provide chain.
“That’s the backbone. If one of the trucks comes in late, the whole system fails,” stated Tim Scharwath, international chief government of DHL’s international forwarding enterprise for air, ocean and overland freight.
The dearth of drivers has been exacerbated in DHL’s house market of Germany by the ending of obligatory army service in 2011, as the military used to train many future truckers.
There have been 195,000 open positions within the German logistics business within the third quarter, up 19 % on final 12 months, with a selected demand for drivers of vans and fork-lifts, in accordance to a survey by personal training supplier WBS Gruppe.
“At Christmas time, the warehouse and logistics industry is booming and more jobs are being advertised than for a long time,” stated WBS Gruppe head Joachim Giese.
The market is so tight that rivals strive to poach DHL workers outdoors warehouses and whereas they’re making deliveries, stated Katja Busch, Deutsche Post DHL’s chief business officer.
Thorsten Riemenschnitter, who runs a DHL warehouse within the western German village of Sehlem close to the Luxembourg border, stated discovering drivers has been made more durable by the nation’s growing older inhabitants and low unemployment.
He stated potential drivers are additionally postpone by the actual fact it prices up to 6,000 euros ($6,827) to get a truck license.
SATISFIED AND MOTIVATED
DHL has run an promoting marketing campaign to strive to appeal to candidates for the driver scheme and plans to create up to 500 new jobs throughout Europe if a pilot is profitable.
The new drivers are coated by collective agreements that pay effectively above the German minimal wage of 8.84 euros an hour and largely solely have to drive in a radius of about 100 km from the warehouse to allow them to get again house within the evenings.
DHL hopes to lure individuals from different sectors, like bus drivers, and a few ladies if potential, though Riemenschnitter admits he has solely employed males for the scheme up to now.
DHL Freight, which presently largely depends on vans which can be owned by subcontractors, can even order state-of-the-art automobiles for the brand new drivers, which can embrace a turning assistant and solar-powered liftgates.
“High quality and customer satisfaction can only be achieved with satisfied and motivated employees – which is why we are actively committed to the profession of truck driver,” stated Uwe Brinks, DHL Freight chief government.
“They represent us to our customers every day.”