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Communication key to strong driver-broker relationships

“We don’t have a driver shortage so much as we have a problem with drivers having a shortage of time. Too often, drivers have to wait three to four hours at a receiver. Without getting paid. The amount of responsibility we put on a driver to drive perfectly, make it to the destination on time and have all the right paperwork in hand. And then they still have to wait.”

That was the opening comment by Justin Nason, Financial Controller at Trekker Logistics, at a recent driver-broker panel discussion put on by Relay Payments in Atlanta.

Fellow panelist Sharae Moore, driver and founder of non-profit organization SHE Trucking, agreed. “My biggest frustrations as a driver are long days, long hours, many of them not compensated. Waiting around at the destination after driving all day is no fun.”

But she quickly added: “But my biggest sense of joy comes from the change in scenery as I drive. I love trucking because every day is different.”

When the discussion turned to how freight brokers and drivers can work better together, the two panelists agreed again. “Drivers are trying to do a thankless job well. Brokers need to be clear on what needs to be done,” Justin said.

“Communication is absolutely important,” Sharae added. “It leads to better understanding and a stronger relationship between the driver and the broker. So does just being courteous and nice to each other. Treat each other like members of your family. And the driver won’t hesitate to help out if the broker needs something out of the ordinary on a delivery.”

Moderator Meghann Erhart, Executive Vice President at Relay, underscored the point. “If you don’t respect the driver, you aren’t going to survive in this industry.”

Technology does not alleviate the need for clear communication, Justin added. “We all have GPS tracking equipment. So we know where the truck is along the route. But it’s still so important to have direct conversation with our drivers. There may be a need for the broker to reschedule the delivery time when the driver realizes something will cause a delay. A quick conversation can alert the broker agent to make a change in the schedule. It’s sometimes that easy to avoid a problem at the receiving end.”

The national shortage of drivers could be largely alleviated, Justin said, by addressing the many inefficiencies in the freight supply chain and especially those slowing down drivers. Technology will play a big role in overcoming those efficiencies, he said, mentioning his company’s experience working with Relay Payments. “Relay’s technology and solutions have helped make Trekker Logistics much more efficient, with digital payments and instant receipts.”

Technologies that improve the work experience for drivers also help in the recruiting of new drivers to the profession. That includes young drivers who are so important to the long-term availability of drivers. See our previous post on recruiting Gen Z drivers.

Learn more here about how Relay’s digital payments can help reduce annoying delays at the dock and other ways we’re working to keep you moving.