Driverless cars are coming and we are all going to feel the impact. There will be winners and there will be losers. While the transportation industry undergoes a massive transformation and sheds its workforce, service contractors will harness the new technology and available labor. Service companies that are ready will grow. Those that aren’t will be left behind. Here’s what to expect.
Hire from a new labor pool
When semi-trucks, delivery vans, and taxis don’t need drivers and all of those jobs disappear, the unskilled labor pool is going to overflow. With no new demand for unskilled labor and a massive increase in supply, economics tells us that the cost will go down. Hiring low-skilled workers is going to get cheaper and easier. This won’t solve the skilled labor shortage, but you will have a huge selection of candidates to fill entry-level and apprenticeship positions. Prepare for this labor glut by building an effective and scalable training program for new employees.
Reduce fleet management costs
Do you consider your technicians good drivers? Do they speed, accelerate too fast, brake too hard, and get in the occasional fender bender? Of course they do. You don’t have to worry about that with driverless cars. Your driverless vehicles will be involved in fewer accidents, use less fuel, and put less wear and tear on your fleet thanks to their better-than-human driving record.
Simplify parts delivery
Moving parts from your warehouse(s) and parts houses straight to job sites will be much faster and cheaper. Uber already offers a low-cost delivery service in some cities and driverless cars are expected to further reduce prices of local delivery. As I wrote in another blog post, the cost of delivering parts directly to your techs is already a lot cheaper than the opportunity cost of your technicians driving around picking up parts. Driverless cars will only make this option more practical.
Gain technician admin productivity
What are your techs going to do with all that time in the car if they don’t have to drive? Put ‘em to work! They’ll have plenty of free time in the truck to prep for their next appointment or wrap up the administration for the previous job. Turn windshield time into productive time.
Sell the Program
When you show customers how you take advantage of technology to reduce costs and provide better customer service, you’ll stand out from the competition. We call this Selling the Program. Driverless cars are a perfect fit for the program. They’ll enable your company to reduce costs for you and the customer while also opening up productivity for improved customer service. Besides that, how cool do you think it will be to take your customers for a spin in one of your new driverless trucks?
Driverless vehicles will be as transformative as the internet and successful service companies will adapt quickly. Just like the companies today that still use fax and paper to communicate instead of internet-enabled technologies, there will be Luddites and slow adopters of driverless cars. They will get left in the dust. Companies that are prepared will dominate.