Remember the Golden Rule? “Treat others how you want to be treated.”
In the distribution center arena, this translates to “Treat drivers nicely, communicate regularly, and respect their time.”
By making your distribution centers driver friendly, you will likely get better service overall. Especially in the current market, where drivers can pick and choose their work, being a preferred location means drivers will want to come to you — and come back to you.
Your Reputation Matters
Nothing makes drivers happier than an efficiently operating distribution center. When a warehouse is well run, drivers can count on their appointment times being honored, load or unload quickly and then be on their way.
This way of operating isn’t just a “nice to have,” it’s a must-have. When you establish a reputation for efficiency, drivers will be more inclined to accept loads at your location, which improves your overall capacity for that facility.
Below are some ideas to help make your distribution center welcoming and keep drivers happy:
Do you have engineered time studies for various warehouse operations? If not, you need them. You need to know how precisely long it takes to load and unload various products so that you can establish appropriate windows for inbound and outbound drivers.
Set up your schedules to match what’s happening on the floor. Volume forecasts and visibility will help you manage peaks, valleys, headcount and equipment.
No one likes surprises, especially drivers bound by schedules and timetables. Excellent communication goes a long way in managing expectations and inspiring flexibility if there’s a disruption.
Go for clear, concise and transparent communication so that everyone is on the same page and can adjust as needed.
Look for improvements.
Tracking and reviewing KPIs gives you the opportunity to see how you’re performing and reveals trends. The data will illuminate areas for improvement for your warehouse operations and, as a result, for your driver interaction as well.
Establish a partnership.
Consider outsourcing your distribution center management (DCM) to an expert partner who can help you optimize operations. Among other improvements, an experienced DCM provider can fine-tune your scheduling, implement a strategic communications plan, and analyze your performance data to help you increase efficiency.
Choose a DCM partner who shares your values and understands the relationship between warehouse efficiency and driver satisfaction.
Make Driver Interaction a Priority
It doesn’t matter what happens inside your warehouse if there are no trucks to move your freight. Recognize that drivers are essential to your success and create a driver-friendly environment to keep them coming your way — happy and on time.
Our distribution center management team has helped countless customers improve their operations. Let’s talk about your business and how we can help you create driver-friendly distribution centers.