The covid 19 pandemic had a massive effect on almost every industry you can name.
When it came to consumer goods, even if making the product was still possible during stay-at-home orders, virtually every product was now being shipped and delivered directly to customers’ doors. The demand for delivery drivers and long-distance truck drivers skyrocketed. In addition to heavier demand, the truck and delivery driving industry had high turnover rates, a bigger problem many companies have been trying to address.
Online retail giants like Amazon (AMZN) – Get Free Report were among the most successful businesses during the pandemic. But even Amazon struggled to supply enough drivers to meet the surge in demand, causing the termination of contracts with several smaller delivery services that simply weren’t equipped to meet the company’s delivery quotas.
Last spring, the company launched its Private Fleet Development Program, a 12-week course that will equip associates with the commercial driver’s license (CDL) needed to drive one of Walmart’s giant delivery trucks. Starting pay for the drivers is $110,000 per year.
Walmart Extends its Pilot Program to More Associates
Walmart’s plan to hire more drivers from within the company began with inviting supply chain employees in certain parts of the U.S. to participate in the program. Now, the company is expanding that program to include associates working in Walmart stores, distribution centers, and transportation offices. So long as the employee lives within a 50-mile radius of participating transportation office, they can train for a CDL license.
Hiring from within is a creative (and strategic) choice for the company. For one, providing certification from within allows for more company-specific training from the beginning. Walmart’s trucking fleet and training programs boast some pretty impressive accolades, including awards from the American Trucking Association, which has named the retail giant’s drivers the Safest Fleet in the Over 250 Million Mile Division for the past six years.
Companies Search For Innovative Ways to Deliver
Walmart and Amazon are among the largest home delivery retailers around, and both companies are exploring new and creative ways to get products to consumers without relying entirely on drivers.
Amazon and Walmart have both been exploring the use of drones for last mile deliveries, meaning that once a small delivery arrives at the distribution station, drones will drop it at your door. Last month, Amazon was able to start testing the program in Lockeford, Calif. and College Station, Texas, while Walmart has been testing its drones in Texas, Florida, and Arizona.
Both companies have also been looking at automated delivery vehicles as a potential solution to a driver shortage. The technology is still in its development phases, and neither major retailer has broken through on a safe, reliable automated transportation option just yet.
Walmart and Amazon aren’t the only companies investing big in the automated driving industry. Major companies like Alphabet, UPS, FedEx, and Uber have all explored the space as well.