Rocky Mountain Trucking LLC

More packages, more responsibility and a continued push to deliver faster and faster is not deterring drivers from a career in package delivery.

A survey of over 1,200 last-mile delivery drivers in 11 countries by Scandit and released on Tuesday found that while 67% of drivers have changed jobs in the last two years (including 42% in the last year), 88% would recommend their current employers to another driver. This comes even as 50% said staffing shortages have increased in the past five years, and 71% cited increased pressure as delivery volumes have increased in the last five years.

On average, a package is delivered every six-and-one-half minutes in the surveyed countries. In the U.S., delivery drivers make an average of nine stops per hour.

“Our research has uncovered a workforce stretched to its limits,” said Samuel Mueller, CEO and co-founder of Scandit. “As delivery companies have innovated and diversified their offerings to meet consumer demand, drivers on the frontline are feeling the pressure of changing roles, increased parcel volumes, and high expectations of speedy delivery.” 

Scandit provides smart data capture technology to carriers and shippers.

Its new report, Global Delivery Insight – Driver Views from the Last Mile, found that the state of last-mile delivery is changing, but not enough to deter those tasked with the important role of getting that package to consumers’ doorsteps.

Sixty-seven percent of respondents stated they now have to complete deliveries to different types of drop-off points and 66% stated they are now expected to work faster. Completion of new tasks like identity verification at the door were also cited by 66% of respondents.

Of the respondents, 68% said they had previously held a job in delivery prior to their current position. Many last-mile delivery companies offer flexible work arrangements, including gig-economy or part-time work, and the research reflects this, with 37% saying they manage their delivery position and another position. That second job can be quite different, with 29% saying they also work in administration and 23% in the creative or IT industries. Another 18% work in the trades such as plumber.

“The delivery industry needs a flexible workforce, significant parts of which are often employed on a gig economy or part-time basis in order to manage unscheduled or unexpected peaks in demand,” said Mueller. “But this workforce is well-versed in the industry and will actively seek out not only a strong package of salary and benefits, but also flexible working patterns, a company with a strong brand reputation, and crucially, the provision of high-performance technology in order to complete their demanding roles.”

Among the 1,200 people surveyed by Scandit and Opinium, 51% said they are gig economy workers and 49% were contracted. Drivers from the U.K., Germany, Spain, France, Italy, the U.S., Brazil, Mexico, Japan, Australia and India were surveyed.

For U.S. workers, work-life balance is a top priority (44%), followed by salary and pay (41%). When choosing an employer, brand reputation and perception were most important for 29% of U.S. delivery drivers, while 26% of workers switched employers because of better environmental and sustainability policies.

One-quarter of U.S. delivery drivers select an employer based on the technology they provide for scanning and tracking deliveries, Scandit said. However, nearly half (48%) of U.S. drivers are using their own smartphones and only 44% receive allowances for their use, leaving workers on the hook for monthly data and cell charges as well as device wear and tear.

Overall, 82% of drivers globally use a smartphone to complete delivery tasks, including proof-of-delivery, age and ID verification, finding packages are curbside pickups and communicating with customers and back-office personnel.

“The research demonstrates huge opportunities for delivery firms to further enable drivers with additional functionality across all their workflows,” Scandit noted. “Globally, 75% of those surveyed do not use their device to aid van loading, and 67% don’t have ID verification enabled. In the U.S., 74% of drivers do not use their smartphone to find the right package from the delivery van at the curbside.”

Mueller said, “The onus is now on delivery companies to deploy the right technology to attract, support, and retain this critical workforce.”  

Click for more articles by Brian Straight.

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