The Driver Shortage Has Plagued the Construction Materials Industry for Years; Scale Ticketing Software Helps to Do More with Less, Improving Efficiency and Throughput for Aggregate Suppliers
Command Alkon, the leading software and solutions provider bringing together technology and people for the heavy building industry, recognizes the shortage of drivers that plagues the aggregates industry, exacerbated by funding for new infrastructure projects, competition with other industries to recruit and retain employees, and rising fuel costs. To be successful during this time, aggregate suppliers must add automated solutions and real-time data to do more with less. Apex scale ticketing software and add-on automation technologies can help to increase efficiency in daily operations, enhance decision making, and optimize customer service.
According to the National Center for Construction Education and Research, approximately 41 percent of the current construction workforce – including those in management roles – will retire by the year 2031. The construction industry is not the only industry desperate to hire; according to the Labor Department, the number of total available jobs is the highest that it has been in 20 years of data. Competition to hire new talent is spread across industries, and the harsh reality is that some of the outdated processes and workflows that the construction industry still practices today are not appealing to Millennials or Gen Z.
One thing that separates Millennials and Gen Z from the generations that come before them is that they value flexibility. Twenty two percent of millennials and 19 percent of Gen Z employees reported that they are likely to quit organizations that do not encourage flexible working schedules. These generations are tech-curious with a whopping 91 percent of Gen Z employees reporting that they would be more attracted to organizations using sophisticated technology. A standardized way of working and up-to-date technology infrastructure is important to these groups; organizations that aren’t using standardized technology systems are likely to repel 42 percent of millennials.
The construction industry still relies on phone calls, paper tickets, and manual processes. As a result, payments are not made until several weeks after the work has been completed and invoices have to be submitted to even receive payment. Other sectors of the economy have created a new standard for the worker’s experience, and if the aggregates industry wants to stack up, technology is going to be a major factor in attracting new talent. Overcoming the worker shortage will take some time, but technology can improve recruitment initiatives and also drive aggregate producers to get more loads out the door with the employees and drivers that they currently have.
Apex scale ticketing software enables employees to oversee activities through a quick and simple order entry system and useful scheduling boards. It delivers real-time overviews of pick-up schedules that indicate where possible obstructions could occur. The Vehicle/Order Dispatch and Local Dispatch modules allow users to plan, schedule, and track loads and deliveries from the plant location to customers. These functions allow material suppliers to provide up-to-the-minute detail to customers inquiring about their orders, as well as optimize efficiency in this crucial area of the business.
In addition, add-on automation technologies work in tandem with Apex Scale Ticketing Software to get trucks in and out of the plant with minimal human interaction. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) kiosks can streamline the check-in process - drivers can enter the location via a ‘fast track’ lane, swipe their card and receive product/loading directions into the quarry. Tablets in loaders keep loader operators in sync with the check-in process, so the loader operator knows exactly what truck, product, and target weight to load. Both the loader operator and weighbridge staff can see exactly how many trucks are in the quarry and for how long. This streamlines the ticketing process on the outbound scale, reducing both overloading and underloading. Remote Printer Enclosures mounted at the exit of outbound scales enable the scale ticketing software to print tickets for drivers, who can pick them up without ever leaving the comfort and safety of the cab.
Economic uncertainty, labor shortages, and insufficient communication and productivity are putting a dent in bottom-line profits, but the move toward advanced scale ticketing software that works seamlessly with simple automation technologies can eliminate or help to mitigate these risks and position the company as a desirable employer and partner. Many aggregate suppliers are realizing incredible benefits from enhanced collaboration and streamlined data and process flows from the time an order is generated and through to ticketing and invoicing. For more information, visit www.commandalkon.com/apex.