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An interview with Raik Spengler, Manager at the Nagel-Group's Academy for Truck Drivers

"Well-trained professional drivers are the backbone of our company"

Professional drivers are the public face of every logistics service provider. As an indispensable part of the supply chain, every single driver contributes to the success of the company. Raik Spengler, Manager at the Nagel-Group's Academy for Truck Drivers, tells us how the profession has changed in recent years and what challenges the drivers have to overcome on a daily basis.

Raik Spengler

What characterises the profession of a truck driver?

It is a special profession and it deserves to be recognised. The transport of goods, be it for commercial or private purposes, plays an important role in our everyday lives. For instance, in order to produce these goods, raw materials have to be extracted and transported to a company where they are refined. We need employees who can move these goods along the supply chain, namely our drivers. They deliver the finished product to points of sale. In particular, integrating customer requirements within our processes is part of our day-to-day business. Therefore, the Nagel-Group will do even more to promote this topic in future.

Nevertheless, why has the profession lost its appeal?

There have been significant changes to the basic conditions underlying the supply chain over the last 20 to 25 years. They have become increasingly time-sensitive and transparent. Theoretically, schedules and tours are planned by the systems down to the minute. The last link in the chain of the transportation process, namely the driver, is often charged with the task of finding solutions to the problems.

Does this mean that the demands of the profession have changed?

Yes, that is right. Customer requirements and the resulting demands placed on the professional drivers vary widely depending on the circumstances. Many professional drivers find it difficult to differentiate. Reconciling family and work is another example. The Nagel-Group is working feverishly to find solutions and develop concepts in order to improve the general conditions and make the profession more attractive.

What kind of support do professional drivers need in their everyday lives?

Our drivers need to be given a clear description of the tasks involved. These tasks should be understandable, feasible, and the drivers should not be over-burdened. A professional driver should be able to perform these tasks intuitively. Manuals should not be written like novels. They should contain basic information essential to the drivers. Digitisation is also going to play a decisive role in future developments. We have to train our employees in this area. Digitisation does not mean increased workload, it simplifies our work. It is also important that all parties involved communicate clearly and with mutual respect. In addition, the Nagel-Group provides manufacturers of commercial vehicles with impetus to promote advanced and ergonomic driving.

How important are well-trained professional drivers, given the current shortage of skilled workers?

Well-trained professional drivers are the backbone of our company. Each one of our employees contributes to the success of the Nagel-Group through their commitment. Each employee plays an important role and should feel valued. We treat everyone involved in the logistics chain equally. We do not differentiate between industrial and commercial departments.

What opportunities does the Nagel-Group offer professional drivers in terms of advanced training?

The Nagel-Group already offers excellent prospects to professional drivers. We are currently working on improving these in order to make the profession more attractive. We offer our drivers opportunities for further education and training. This is why I would like to invite you to be part of our supply chain.

About Raik Spengler

Among other things, Raik Spengler is responsible for setting up the Nagel-Group's Academy for Truck Drivers. Mr Spengler, who is a business graduate (Diplomkaufmann), has been working for the food logistics specialist since January 2016. Previously, he worked as head of urban transport at Tchibo GmbH.

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