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How do we manage the delivery driver deficit?

31st Aug 2021
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Brexit has become the catalyst for a national driver deficit. With the UK no longer having access to the single market, the added border paperwork has led to drivers working elsewhere. Paired with the pandemic restricting travel, this has led to a major backlog of goods and a whole host of learner HGV and delivery drivers who have yet to take their driving tests. This has resulted in a predicted shortage of over 100,000 HGV drivers alone.

With this in mind, there are steps retailers should consider to manage the driver shortages efficiently:

Manage Expectations

When building brand trust and loyalty, there must be a two-way conversation between retailers and customers. Letting customers know there is a driver shortage and that you’re working to fix it shows transparency and helps build confidence. A second way to build trust and manage customer expectations is through understanding customer pain points. Retailers should therefore encourage feedback from customers wherever possible.

Retailers can increase the amount of feedback they collect by integrating feedback mechanisms into their own branded apps. If giving feedback is as easy as clicking a button, it is more likely to attract customers than if they need to log in or register.

Estimate Demand

Retailers should analyze all available data to be aware of days where deliveries may be higher than usual. This will make sure they are well prepared and have enough drivers to fulfil deliveries.

Circuit data shows there was a 61% delivery increase on Mother’s Day. We can expect other key commercial dates, such as Halloween and Black Friday to also increase e-commerce and delivery needs. Through advanced knowledge of key dates, retailers can avoid overwhelming their drivers and make sure they have enough drivers.


Retailers must diversify their job advertisements to make sure they are reaching everyone with the necessary skills. Research by the Van Insurer found demographics are changing. It’s no longer just the stereotypical “white van man” as quotes for female couriers have increased by 89% across the UK since 2016. These changes should be welcomed, and by diversifying advertising, retailers can reach a range of talent from various backgrounds.

The increased demand means that delivery drivers will have more employment options, letting them pick the companies offering the best experience. However, by increasing efficiency across the entire industry, the cost per delivery should decrease, allowing businesses to pay their delivery drivers a more competitive salary. 

Retailers must also be willing to train delivery drivers. Making sure a new population of drivers is ready to go is vital for retailers to manage both the deficit and the growth rate of e-commerce. The more confident your new employees are, the faster they will complete their deliveries and the more packages they will deliver to customers. In the future, data analysis will find the best drivers and these insights will help businesses employ only the best drivers, train staff, and track progress.

Finally, a good work-life balance can increase driver acquisition and retention. The average delivery driver is estimated to work around 11 hours per day. Drivers will feel more cared for, and have increased brand trust and loyalty if companies improve the efficiency of drops, encourage frequent breaks, and make sure they take annual leave.

Time Management

If 11 drivers save one hour each through efficient processes, it saves one full average working day. This extra hour can be saved by using a route planner that allows drivers to save fuel and time by taking the most efficient routes. As well as helping experienced drivers, a route planner can set new drivers up for success from the start as they are not unfamiliar with the delivery routes.

Managers can also use apps to help them have oversight of their drivers and allocate work better. Through delivery management, software team leaders can build routes for multiple drivers in under five minutes and track the delivery process.

When determining the best app for them, delivery drivers want to know which apps will help them save time, which will be most cost-effective, and how many delivery stops the app offers. They also need an app that can integrate with other well-used and well-known navigation apps such as Waze. However, it’s not just standard features they care about; it’s essential to know what extras are available to make the job easier. For example, drivers are helped by the Circuit app as it lets them log and locate packages within the vehicle as they’re placed in specific zones.

Companies such as Tesco, Aldi and M&S have taken a proactive approach to tackle the issue. While it’s difficult to predict when this deficit will end, you can prepare for it. With the steps above, delivery drivers will trust that they’re in good hands and carry out their jobs to the best of their ability.

For more advice and tips on how to manage delivery visit our blog here:

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