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Young Driver Shortage – Enticing the Younger Generation

Many people dream of a job that allows them to travel the length of the country, head overseas, work flexible hours, meet new people every day and consistently receive professional support. Sound like it’s ticking all the right boxes? Some may be surprised to learn that the profession that perfectly fits this bill is a HGV driver, yet, despite its many perks, the industry is still struggling to recruit young people.

For the past two years, the haulage industry has been talking about the shortage of drivers. It is now, according to the House of Commons Transport Committee, widely accepted that this shortage reaches figures between 45,000 and 60,000. With 60% of HGV drivers aged above 45, and just 2% under the age of 25, the industry needs to find a way to motivate school leavers to consider choosing driving as a career path, so that when many of the existing drivers reach retirement, there will be a number of young people qualified and ready to step up into the available positions.

From being viewed as a ‘last resort’ career, to lack of awareness for the industry, there are a number of reasons why young people aren’t choosing the doors that the logistic industry opens. Largely, young people do not realise that the HGV industry is a viable career path; despite its net worth and its irreplaceable contribution to everyday life, the All Part Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Freight Transport claim that there is not enough career guidance or education on the HGV sector.

The availability of training for young people is there – they simply need to be told about it. The APPG found that there are 142 higher education courses on logistics (or related subjects) available to school leavers in the UK, which includes courses at 48 different universities. As the education leaver’s age has more recently increased to the age of 18, the age at which a C+E licence can be acquired, it is hoped that more people will leave school and head straight into the logistics sector.

However, their report also believes that insurance has a large contribution to the matter; many under 25s cannot afford to become drivers because of the cost of insurance, and without a full car licence, you cannot then proceed to become a HGV driver. To counter this problem, transport experts are recommending that student loans should be provided to cover the cost of vocational courses and any expenses they may have, which may include insurance.

There are increasing calls for the government to improve funding for the sector in a bid to encourage young people to pursue a HGV driver career. Here at Drivers Direct, we’re also keen for this to happen as we are very aware of the detrimental effects this shortage could have on the industry in the long haul.

At Drivers Direct, we believe that each of our drivers are happy and comfortable in their jobs, and under our care, each are trained to the highest standards. We hope that in the future we can overcome these difficulties and that our workforce can rapidly expand, which will in turn, enable the growth of the logistics industry as a whole.

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Women In Logistics

March 8th is International Women’s Day, and we’ve been investigating women in logistics. Despite the fact that there has been an incredible rise of women in the business world, the logistics sector is one which remains male dominated. Only one to two percent of the workforce in the world’s logistics sectors are women, although 125 million people work in this industry.

 

Although this statistic is less dramatic in the UK, it still remains that less than a quarter of the 1.5 million within the logistics industry are female, according to the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).

 

Yet in recent years, some studies have concluded that having more female leaders, including board members, managers and supervisors, leads to better business outcomes.  Examples of this include higher levels of productivity, safety and improved financial returns, as referenced in the 2009 Women in Supply Chain report.

 

This insight was supported by the PWC Transportation & Logistics 2030 report, which stated that companies with the most women board directors outperformed those with the least by an incredible 16% in return on sales, and by 26% in return on invested capital. These studies make a compelling business case for gender diversity and inclusion.

 

So if there are such strong evidence that women improve performance, why are we struggling to bring women into the logistics industry and what can be done to help resolve this?

 

The transport and logistics industry is typically described as a ‘non-traditional’ employment pathway for women and suffers from poor perceptions of its career opportunities for women.  Addressing perceptions that the logistics industry is a career option for all is a real challenge as it’s hard to escape the fact that roles can involve moving and lifting.

 

We need to focus on the fact that logistics is applicable to every industry and business sector in the world – retail, life sciences, fashion, technology, construction, transport and so on. This means that in addition to needing drivers and warehouse operatives, there’s also a requirement for business development and customer-facing personnel.

 

Encouragingly, several market developments are creating viable opportunities to include women in ‘non-traditional’ roles in the local and global industry. These include advances in technology such as automatic gearboxes and hydraulic lifting equipment, the retirement of existing workers, increasing levels of education and improved technical training among new entrants in the workforce.

 

For more information on Women in Logistics, visit the group online (aptly named Women in Logistics!). For more information on how you can join Drivers Direct, visit our website or give us a call on 01928 572200.

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NEW SERVICES DRIVE GROWTH FOR DRIVERS DIRECT

Drivers Direct, one of the UK’s leading providers of temporary and permanent drivers to commercial organisations, has reported an 8% increase in its turnover to £21.95million for the year ended 31 March 2016.  The company’s profits remain in line with the increase in sales.

The positive results come after a strong performance from the company’s new logistics division as well as the maturing of the six branches it opened last year.  The logistics division has also reported that it now has more than 42 vans and trucks on the road every day and that the recruitment business provides more than 1,200 drivers to client businesses each week.

Gethin Roberts, managing director of Drivers Direct, comments: “The investments that we have made in new offices, staff and equipment have paid dividends and allowed us to grow to meet the strong demand we are experiencing for our people and services.

“We have hit the ground running again this year and made a very positive start with the high demand for drivers continuing.  We anticipate that this will continue as we head towards Christmas and we are well placed to build on this market leading position in the coming years.”

Established in 2002, Drivers Direct covers all driver classes, from chauffeurs and fork lift driver’s right through to LGV Class 1 and 2 drivers, supplies more than 1200 drivers a week to clients from across the public and private sectors.  The company currently has a network of 21 branches across the UK.

 

 

 

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An Evening of Glitz and Glamour for Drivers Direct

It’s that time of year again; the red carpets are rolled out, the tables are adorned with the finest bottles of bubbly and we get out our best outfits. The night of glamour we’re talking about is, of course, the famous Drivers Direct Annual Dinner, held in celebration of the company’s accomplishments of the past year – and what a year it has been!

In the last twelve months, we’ve successfully launched and ran a logistics division, increased the number of commercial vehicles in our fleet, provided more shifts, opened new premises in three major cities. We also received recognition as a corporate member of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport and have made a number of appearances at leading industry events, including Truckfest.

Of course all of these achievements would not have been possible without the hard work from each and every one of our dedicated employees. Naturally, there was only one way forward; to celebrate in style whilst raising money for a fantastic cause.

On Saturday 9th July, for the fourteenth year running, we hosted our prestigious company dinner. Taking place in the ball room of the impressive Victory Service Club near to the exquisite Marble Arch in London, 162 members of the Drivers Direct team met for an evening of live music, incredible food and exceptional company.

During the evening, in an effort to show the company’s appreciation for its staff, awards were presented for six categories: League Division 1, 2 and 3, Highest Margin Branch, Franchise of the Year and Employee of the Year, as well as a long-service award to those who have remained a part of the team for a significant amount of time.

We’re proud to announce that the following employees and branches were crowned winners (drum roll please!):

Employee of the Year: Matt Rogers from our Crewe Branch

Highest Gross Profit: Crew Branch

League One Winners: Sheffield Branch (branch manager David Dawson won a long weekend in New York).

League Two Winners: Cardiff Branch (branch manager Claire Osborne won a long weekend in Paris)

League Three Winners: Liverpool Branch (branch manager Emma Hughes won a long weekend in London).

Franchise of the Year: Northampton (franchisees: John and Bev Major)

In addition, Helen Walker from our Crewe branch and Vicky Meaden from the headquarters in Runcorn received the two long service awards after dedicating five years to the company and received a Mont Blanc pen and a certificate of recognition.

Finally, a special award was presented to Bill Tirebuck, a founding partner of Drivers Direct, who will sadly be retiring at the end of this month.

Not only were we able to celebrate yet another successful year for the company, but during the evening we also seized the opportunity to raise money for a fantastic charitable cause, and this year, donations were made to Cancer Research UK. We’re pleased to announce that the kind donations of everyone in attendance resulted in £1,200 being raised on the night, however, we will double this to donate a total of £2,400 to a wonderful cause.

Once again, we would like to say congratulations to all who took home an award. Whilst we were only able to present six awards, we recognise that every team member has been exceptional in their work ethic and has contributed to the success we have experienced over the past year. At Drivers Direct, we cannot wait to see what the next year has in store for us, which will of course be celebrated at the next annual dinner!

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A SUCCESSFUL YEAR FOR DRIVERS DIRECT LOGISTICS

June 29th 2016 marks exactly one year to the day that Drivers Direct Logistics first officially opened its doors for business. As you might expect with any new venture; it has not been without its challenges, however the Drivers Direct Logistics team is proud to celebrate and share a number of successes.

When we opened our doors we had one client however, over the last twelve months we have increased this to eight. This increase is a clear indicator that we have listened to our clients and are supplying them with the services they require- essentially an offer that not only includes access to qualified drivers but a complete logistics package that includes people, vehicles and logistics management.

Although initially offering access to 6 commercial vehicles, in less than six months after launching we needed to add to the fleet to cope with the growing demand. We now run 22 commercial vehicles including nine brand new trucks, these recently were delivered to our depot, much to the delight of our regular drivers who get to take them out on the road.

With the success of the logistics department came more work for our drivers. During our first week of trading we filled 20 shifts each week, now we fill in excess of 110 shifts. At first, our operational requirements meant we could only staff our shifts from two Drivers Direct branches but we now confidently call upon 11 to assist with our driver requirements.

Initially operating out of our new premises in Royton we have now expanded to provide services to the Leeds and Birmingham areas and we also plan to open a second depot in Hampshire in the very near future.

All of this was only made possible with the support of our branch network & Head Office team. We owe them all a huge thank you for all their help and support in getting Drivers Direct Logistics to this milestone.

With plans of a second depot there is most certainly exciting times ahead but no-one is looking to rest on their laurels any time soon, with targets for growth and profitability to aim for –  but for today, we can look back on the completion of a successful first year.

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KEEP ON TRUCKING

Truckfest has become an annual occurrence for the Drivers Direct team and 2016 is no exception.  Being able to meet, connect and build rapport with prospective customers is key to upholding our professional relationships and the festival is the ideal tool for this.

We feel there can be a lot to gain from promoting our product in person. Trade shows are generally targeted at an industry and individuals that are involved or interested in that industry,  while Truckfest is centred around transport and haulage and attracts leading companies from the industry so is an ideal opportunity to reach our target market and create brand awareness.

The popularity of Truckfest amongst industry professionals consequently means that the event is a brilliant networking opportunity from which we can gain speak to customers and potential customers about our offering and compare and contrast ourselves against the market.

We have already had a strong presence at the renowned event in Peterborough during May. From our stand we provided information to all those individuals looking for a career in the driving industry and those who had perhaps not considered it before. The festival is open to a large and diverse range of individuals therefore, provided us with a platform to promote our service to a broader group that may have little or no knowledge of Drivers Direct or even the haulage industry.

Perhaps most importantly, it is always a great opportunity to have a little fun and create brand awareness using alternative methods. At the Peterborough event we created an eye catching display of our new trucks at the Cancer Research UK collection point and our branded balloons also caught the attention of passers by. With the event hosting live music and entertainment it certainly creates a brilliant atmosphere.

Following on from our success at the Peterborough event we have consequently confirmed stands at future Truckfest events including Newbury (28th & 29th May) and Knutsford (17th & 18th September).

Truckfest is a fun and informative event for all those involved in the driving and logistics sector, professional and enthusiasts alike, and we’re looking forward to meeting those who visit future events.

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DRIVERS DIRECT JOINS LEADING INDUSTRY BODY

Drivers Direct has been appointed as a corporate member of the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport (CILT).  In a prestigious ceremony, more than 100 representatives from 57 companies gathered at the Kettering Park Hotel to receive their commemorative plaque for 2015-2016.

In a separate announcement, Gethin Roberts, founder and managing director of Drivers Direct, was appointed as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport.  The appointments are in recognition of the role that Drivers Direct, and the recently launched logistics division, plays in the industry.

The event included members from across the profession, including those from the financial sector, leading universities and the biggest names in logistics and transport.

Kevin Richardson FCILT, Chief Executive, CILT, said: ‘The corporate side of CILT is significant to us. We believe that having corporate members enables us to interact with organisations and members in a way that our individual membership doesn’t allow.  Getting a group like this together and having companies such as Drivers Direct as members makes us a very strong organisation.’

Gethin Roberts, managing director of Drivers Direct, adds: “We’re proud to now be part of CILT and look forward to helping influence the shape of the industry.  Our industry still faces many challenges; the driver shortage, skills gaps and attracting a diverse workforce however by working within CILT we hope to to play our part on addressing these issues and sharing best practice.’

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TACKLING DRIVER SHORTAGES

For a number of years now the UK’s haulage industry has seen a steady decline in the number of HGV drivers available, with those retiring or pursuing alternative careers outnumbering those entering the industry.

Additionally, of those who have a career in the industry, the average age is currently 53 with only two percent of drivers under 25. These statistics highlight the need to attract new talent to the industry in order to keep the natural progression within the workforce running smoothly.

It’s clear that many young employees who may have traditionally chosen the haulage and logistics industry aren’t now doing so. Some of the off putting elements are the industry’s associations with lifting and moving objects as well as a lack of a metaphorical job ladder to climb. Once these are combined with the negative press surrounding the industry’s high work rates due to driver shortages, there is a clear hurdle to be overcome.

The good news is that action is now being taken to tackle these issues, however attracting new talent isn’t easy. HGV licence applications have dropped by more than 32,000 in the past five years which can be accredited to several reasons, including: the cost of licence acquisition, lack of understanding of the industry and poor industry image.

We believe there is a need to better highlight the benefits of working in an industry that is so crucial to the UK economy. The Road Haulage Association (RHA), Freight Transport Association (FTA), The Chartered Institute of logistics and transport and the Government have all acknowledged the issues and initiatives are now being put in place to tackle the problem.

All have similarly pledged to campaign for changes to help combat the shortage: including, funding for vocational training, better driver facilities, quicker turnaround of medical queries by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and a campaign to raise awareness of the logistics sector.

Alongside this The Recruitment & Employment Federation (REC) have also spoken out on the issue. The REC have highlighted the impact that a driver shortage is having on the productivity of the UK economy; the importance of the recruitment industry in solving driver shortages; and called on the government to take urgent action in regards to those issues raised above.

With a concerted effort by all relevant bodies to tackle the apparent issues it is hoped the HGV driver shortage can be effectively and efficiently managed and be kept from bringing many industries that rely on the deliveries to a literal grinding halt.

For our own part, we are in support of the actions taken by the industry bodies and are also working on a programme of attracting more people to the sector.   This ranges from raising the industry profile at a local branch level, to attending and recruiting at popular events such as Truckfest.  We are also working with organisations such as the armed forces, whose personnel share many of the common skill sets needed in drivers such as being organised, punctual and responsible.

With a cohesive and positive approach we’re confident the industry will once again attract the right people to help it continue to deliver on its customer’s promises.

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Shelling Out For Easter

With Easter just around the corner, one might start to wonder how the Easter Bunny delivers the 80 million Easter eggs and sweet treats to children across the country. That’s where we come in, using logistics technology, savvy strategies and perfect planning we play our part in getting Easter treats from ‘A’ to ‘B’.

National holidays crop up throughout the year and when they rear their head it’s all hands to the pump here at Drivers Direct as getting the right products to the right place and at the right time is critical for our client’s business success.

The holiday seasons often equate to large revenues for client businesses. In a bid to make the most of those extra days off Britons can spend 120% more than on an average weekend. The words ‘out of stock’ are forbidden amongst manufacturers during this time and on-time deliveries are crucial within the supply chain journey. These pressures are piled on top of an already congested road network and busy logistics industry.

It will come as no great surprise that Britain already has the busiest, most congested roads in Europe with 77 vehicles per kilometre of road, 76% more than the European average.  On top of this it is estimated that this Easter Bank Holiday as many as 16 million cars will take to the roads. Navigating the UK’s road systems to tight time deadlines is no mean feat for even the most seasoned logistics professional or vehicle driver.

Qualified drivers and logistics professionals are currently in short supply. A shortage of UK lorry drivers means Drivers Direct is called upon to fill the additional roles required over holiday season, to the extent that we now have more than 1000 drivers on the road each week.

An increase in consumer demand creates a domino effect across the entire chain. More product requires greater truck capacity. Resulting in a greater number of vehicles needed and consequently, drivers to operate these vehicles.

Although the Bank Holiday throws up challenges for logistics professionals, it comes as no great surprise that with careful pre-planning the Easter headache can be eased. So, as Britain indulges in chocolaty delights this Easter, think of our Drivers Direct Easter bunnies who are working tirelessly to make sure no one goes empty handed over the weekend.

 

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The Complete Package

There’s no denying that business is booming as more and more clients turn to Drivers Direct when looking to bolster their business with qualified and professional drivers.  However, with more than 1000 drivers now on the road every week, clients were increasingly asking us whether we could offer the complete package and also provide them with vehicles.

With this in mind last year we launched our new logistics division. It was a key step towards providing our customers with an offer that not only includes access to qualified drivers but a complete logistics package that includes people, vehicles and logistics management.

Headquartered in Royton, near Oldham, the logistics division is positioned perfectly for excellent access to the northern motorway network and, with the ideal infrastructure and technology in place, the team is well placed to meet and exceed required service levels.

Although initially offering access to more than twenty commercial vehicles, in less than six months after launching we’ve needed to add to the fleet to cope with the growing demand. Nine brand new trucks have been delivered to the office, much to the delight of our regular drivers who get to take them out on the road. Renault was selected as our supplier of choice due to their vehicle range and commitment to meet our requirements.

The logistics division’s success has largely been down to the team running the operations as it is full of experienced, qualified professionals. The team understands what required of them, the importance of client deadlines and how to deliver the most cost effective logistics solutions available.

With the right people and continued client demand, we’re confident that our logistics division will continue to go from strength to strength.  We’re proud to say that from the inception of Drivers Direct, through to our recent expansion, it’s a pleasure to work within the sector, particularly now we can offer the complete package.

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