CLEVELAND. In his opening remarks at the annual TMW User Group meeting here, chairman Tom Weisz predicted that 2006 will be "the year of the driver."

"By 2014, the ATA predicts a driver shortage of 110,000," Weisz noted. "That is about 4-billion pounds of cargo that won't move. And that hurts everybody. Even if we had drivers to put 110,000 more trucks on the road, they would be stuck in traffic. Trucking is a heart attack waiting to happen."

In response to this "most urgent" issue, Weisz said that TMW was committed to helping customers with driver recruiting and retention. The first product developed specifically to do this is the company's new DriverSeat, a web-based portal designed to help fleets build a stronger and more personal relationship with their drivers. "The DriverSeat will become the personal and business online home for your drivers," said Weisz.

The new solution is in Beta testing now.

In addition to the driver-focused initiatives, Weisz also previewed a new business process management system designed to manage not only regular activities, but exceptions. "If a load is going to be late, for instance, the system will automatically create a list of tasks that must be done to address the problem," Weisz explained.

The conference, which has more than 700 attendees, will continue through Wednesday.