- Sysco has moved its associates from a five-day workweek to a four-day workweek in a bid to improve employee retention, CEO Kevin Hourican said on an earnings call earlier this month. The change applies to both truck drivers and warehouse associates, a spokesperson confirmed via email.
- The schedule change allows employees working overtime to come in for a fifth day instead of a sixth day, "which is much easier for someone to do," Hourican said.
- The announcement comes after the food distributor converted its delivery model to six days a week instead of five, which increases asset utilization for its trucks and buildings, Hourican said. "The model increases our weekly throughput and also provides us more flex capacity on each and every day, enabling us to better handle fluctuations of demand."
Sysco's workweek adjustment is among the changes that will make the company "an even more preferred employer" and lead to improved customer service, Hourican said.
The company employed roughly 58,000 employees as of July 3, 2021. Hourican also said Sysco pays "a leading and competitive driver wage," but didn't disclose specifics on pay. The average annual wage for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers was $50,340 as of May 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Fleets continue to compete to staff up their operations enough to fulfill demand, leading to higher wages and other perks for drivers.
Walmart announced in April it raised wages for long-haul truck drivers and launched a three-month training program for supply chain associates to become drivers. Yellow Corp. and Werner noted earlier this year that they each have been paying higher wages.
Like Walmart, Sysco has opened a driver academy to provide warehouse associates a path to become certified drivers and increase their earnings potential, according to Hourican. He said last year that the company will pay trainees to attend the school, in addition to covering licensing and certification fees.
"We've graduated our first class of drivers, and we have opened additional academy locations," Hourican said on the most recent call. "We expect to be nationwide with this capability by the end of the calendar year."
Although drivers will normally work four days a week, Sysco will be delivering to customers six days a week. Sysco's fleet consisted of roughly 14,000 delivery vehicles as of July 3, 2021.
Beyond helping it make the most of its fleet and buildings, Hourican said the six-day workweek also helps Sysco increase its flexibility and capacity. This will lead to more consistent on-time deliveries even when demand fluctuates.
"The six-day workweek makes us more efficient," Hourican said. "That's not an increase in cost to Sysco. That's actually increasing Sysco's cost efficiency by leveraging our physical assets to a greater degree. A truck going out six days is a good thing, not a bad thing."