The internet removes a range of physical barriers – and this is seen in all industries.
In retail, for example, it has allowed online vendors to satisfy consumer desire for choice. They do this by selling small quantities of thousands of items. Physical retailers are unable to stock such a vast array of items, but in the virtual world vendors can have these items available at no direct cost. And those small quantity sales quickly add up to huge sales margins.
This kind of longtail economics is a given in retail, and people expect to have a variety of choice just a click away. But how does longtail translate into the trucking industry?
Driver training often involves drivers being taken off the road and placed into classrooms. And that’s a problem for a business’s bottom line. The trucking industry relies on drivers being on the road and delivering goods, not sitting in a room watching a PowerPoint presentation.
In the same way that retailers in bricks and mortar stores are forced to be choosy about what items they stock, the cost of delivering driver training has forced fleets to be picky about the training they offer.
Orientation training is a must – it’s what gets new drivers behind the wheel. Post-incident remedial work also has to stay on the agenda as insurance companies demand it happens. Health and safety courses are also considered essential by most companies, but beyond that, it’s hard to rationalise which courses should make the cut.
However, online training means driver training is available anywhere, anytime, to anyone, with minimal business disruption.
It’s not simply a case of online training reaching people who are unable to attend a classroom session. It’s that online training offers such a wide range of training options that wouldn’t necessarily be possible in a classroom environment.
With the barriers removed (i.e. the business doesn’t suffer and drivers don’t miss out on the time they spend at home), there is no reason why more driver training couldn’t be offered. Fleets could start offering more non-priority training and transform their entire training delivery model. The results would be seen in terms of fleet safety and overall driver quality.
More comprehensive training programmes would also equip drivers with the skills they need to give any driverless truck a run for its money.
It’s a shame that you can’t train for a CDL online. The cost of those courses is steep, and any reduction would be well received, but driving a truck is not one of those skills you can learn by dragging a mouse around.