Across the country, employers that are located in remote rural areas are finding it more challenging to recruit people. In particular, factories, meat processing plants, automotive assembly plants and packaging facilities are attracted to the rural areas to take advantage of the tax incentives and lower cost of land acquisition. The challenge is that these communities often have too low of a population to sustain the workforce needed to operate at full capacity and responding to fluctuations in production demand becomes that much more difficult.
How Employee Shuttles Can Help
There are two employment models to consider when establishing an employee shuttle:
In-house – Companies will often hire full-time, part-time and contract employees in-house, allowing them to respond directly to the needs of their production demands. This model, while providing the company with ultimate control over the process, requires significant resources, particularly when managing temporary spikes in staffing requirements.
Staffing agencies – Many large industrial companies are employing staffing agencies to manage their temporary staffing needs, responding to fluctuations in production demands that require a fluid team. This frees up valuable resources within the organization to focus on other critical elements of the operation.
Driverseat works well with both employment models, and has developed partnerships with employers and staffing agencies to provide employee shuttles. Regular routes are developed which originate in cities with higher populations where there is a larger pool of resources to draw from. Shuttles allow employers to attract talent from as far as 90 minutes away which helps to maximize the opportunity to find an adequate number of people.
In most cases, routes are established with pickup nodes in the major centres. The nodes are typically designed around public transit terminals so employees can easily get to them in order to utilize the shuttle. Driverseat has also developed several flexible solutions including door to door service. Considerations are made relative to the employees proximity to public transit or the workplace facility and whether there are special circumstances requiring this more tailored approach.
Driverseat works with the employer to determine the pickup nodes, and then the operations team will analyze total drive time, load time, unload time, etc. to determine the time for the start of the route. The second piece we consider is the timing at each pickup node relates to local bus schedules to minimize the amount of time the riders are waiting. This is particularly important in extreme weather conditions. The route may then be shifted slightly to create the best balance.
There are several benefits to implementing an employee shuttle system.
- Access to more talent – whether part time, contract or full time, having access to the right people often means the difference between success and failure
- Economies of scale – Utilizing a larger vehicle that is ‘right-sized’ for the needs of employer results in an optimized cost / person
- Flexibility – Respond to fluctuations in demand by increasing the shuttle seat count when required
- Socially responsible – Companies can reduce their carbon footprint by having several team members travel in one vehicle rather than driving independently or even carpooling which does not have the same impact
‘Industry’ is facing significant pressure, from outsourcing overseas to a lack of skilled labour. It has become evident that to protect those companies, and keep the jobs in our local communities, more has to be done to allow them to remain competitive. It isn’t always as simple as hiring large buses to run a shuttle. The transportation company must become a strategic partner and continuously look for ways to make the system more efficient, cost effective and flexible to respond to the needs of the client. Driverseat has become a leader in this type of application.
Driverseat employee shuttles can be custom tailored to suit the situation. Some innovative applications include:
- Remote or rural factories needing temporary labour from larger centres to respond to fluctuations in production demand
- Offsite parking lots due to space restrictions, maintenance or new construction
- Employers with a high percentage of team members that do not drive (entry level, part-time, etc.)
- Protecting staff during a pandemic (keeping them off of public transit or limiting carpooling)
- Employers with several buildings requiring employees to travel between buildings often