As the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect the trucking industry, WorkHound finds itself in a unique position to reveal many of the concerns that drivers are facing.
WorkHound’s platform centers around giving drivers a way to communicate suggestions or complaints to management, who can then respond or offer feedback.
“A little into March, we noticed an uptick in comments surrounding COVID-19,” said Andrew Kirpalani, co-founder of WorkHound. “We decided to put that into our platform and start categorizing feedback specifically as it related to COVID-19 because we knew we had the ability to kind of really reach into this specific new trend in feedback.”
WorkHound recently released an analysis of feedback it had received so far surrounding COVID-19. The analysis is based on 1,954 comments WorkHound received in March, as of March 23. Of the nearly 2,000 comments the company received, approximately 6% of them were related to COVID-19.
The two biggest concerns regarding the virus fell under the categories “planning” and “sanitation.” 25% of drivers mentioned planning concerns, wanting to know that carriers have a protocol in place for what to do with the truck if they get sick. 22% of drivers wanted to know that their companies are taking extra precautions to ensure that their equipment is safe and sanitized.
Many drivers also reported challenges in finding basic necessities such as bathrooms and meals while on the road.
“A lot of drivers feel left out to dry because these companies that have taken social distancing measures, they haven’t thought about what that does to these drivers,” said Kirpalani. “And so there’s got to be a more thoughtful way of reducing contact. Absolutely it needs to be done. It just needs to be thought through in a way where these people can keep doing their work.”
Total freight volume is up significantly and a lot of that is driven by restocking retailers that are selling essential items or that have had a lot of panic buying, WorkHound told Clay & Milk.
“However, there are peaks and valleys everywhere,” said Kirpalani. “If you look at people who are hauling to grocery stores and essential businesses, those businesses are booming. They’re seeing better rates and more loads. But the smaller carriers and the more specialized carriers are going to get hit a lot harder.”
Some trucking layoffs are already underway due to COVID-19 closures. Last week, P.A.M. Transportation laid off approximately 75 employees n response to recent coronavirus-related closures, reported FreightWaves.
“This has kind of have been an ‘aha’ moment for a lot of our customers. In the last month, we’ve had two customers that have previously churned come back to us,” said Kirpalani. “This type of scenario really highlights the value that we’re bringing.”
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