A Trucking Companies Worst Enemy (Themselves)
I have been driving professionally for 15 years. I have worked as a driver for owner operators to companies named in the top 50 company list. I have found some common deficiencies with trucking companies no matter their size. These deficiencies I believe are taking $$$$$$ from their profit margins and I can’t understand why no effort is made to improve it.
The subjects that come up at drivers meetings are the very things that cost companies money but I don’t see anything on the front lines to show me things are improving.
When the salesman/ customer service picks up an account I have found the dispatchers are not familiar with the nature of the customer account to properly dispatch equipment or drivers to meet the customers criteria. This causes delays, driver and customer dissatisfaction.
Dispatchers do not give drivers the complete details of the pick up requiring the driver to keep calling back to dispatch for further details which frustrates the driver, customer and dispatcher. They appear not to be trained in trip routing. They think 20 miles is 20 minutes away.
New policies I find are learned by hear say more often than a full out forwarding of notifications to all personnel. This causes a delay in full implementation which frustrates personnel and may cause unnecessary incurred costs or loss of accounts.
The lack of communication results in staff possibly not following company policy because they are not aware of the policies and are left wondering why they are being disciplined for something they were not aware of.
The trucking industry talks our ears off about training. Why then is this one of the top deficiencies in our industry. Not once in my 15 years have I been given a driver review or offered training.
NSC SAFETY PLAN – DRIVERS
You are responsible for all drivers while they are operating any commercial vehicles under your NSC number. You must ensure that your drivers are qualified and trained. If you are a driver for your business you must keep records on yourself as you would any other driver. You will meet NSC requirements in the “drivers” category by:
- obtaining a driver record when hiring drivers
- ensuring that your drivers are qualified and trained when hired
- ensuring that driver qualifications are maintained including reference checks and past employment performance
- in your hiring process ensuring drivers are knowledgeable about NSC safety standards.
- updating driver records at least once a year
- including the following in the driver records files
- driver accident history
- driver log books
- medical certificates (if applicable)
- driver performance information
- violations, training, recognition, and discipline documents
- U.S.A. requirements (if applicable)
- all relevant certifications, including transportation of dangerous goods certificates
MANAGING YOUR DRIVERS
- monitoring driver violations and accidents
- ensuring drivers report incidents with 10 days of the incident
- implementing driver recognition and disciplinary programs
- implementing a driver communication process to ensure drivers understand your polices, both new and old, and all regulatory requirements
The above shows what the companies responsibilities are to ensure their drivers are qualified. Yet the most questions I get from drivers on the road are Hours of Service, Pre-trip proceedures and U.S. requirements for H.O.S. and customs border procedures.
Employers have an obligation to make sure that staff are properly trained for the duties they are assigned. After hiring, all employees must be trained and re-trained when necessary to ensure that they will be able to carry out their responsibilities efficiently and safely. There is a minimum requirement that the training address safety laws. Updated: May 2011 Commercial Vehicle Safety Compliance in Alberta:
Records of all employee safety training must be documented in the employee file.
The carrier must have procedures to evaluate the critical tasks in the company operation. For example, reviewing daily logs for completeness and accuracy is one means of evaluation.
The carrier must clearly identify the consequences of not complying with or refusing to comply with the adopted policies and procedures. Monitoring of compliance and any disciplinary actions resulting from the monitoring must be progressive in nature and recorded.
Training Items for Your Safety Program
When providing training specifically or at “staff safety meetings” you must keep records of the training offered, who took the training, what results were obtained and so on. Choose the training programs and the instructors carefully to ensure that the training is effective and specific to your equipment. Also, you must ensure there is an evaluation after each training session.
- Set up an annual review for all drivers. Provide recognition for good performance and opportunities for improvement.
- Set up a recall system to notify when records and training need to be updated.
- Obtain and review driver abstracts every three months.
- Obtain and review carrier profile every 1 to 6 months.
The carrier must have a program of progressive discipline for company personnel who violate hours of service and other regulations. The program must be consistent with federal and provincial legislation.
The carrier should outline the policy and the discipline procedure, listing the steps up to and including termination. For example, this could be a four-step process involving a verbal warning, a written warning, a suspension, and termination.
The carrier must record each event and be sure that:
- The employees know each step of the policy;
- As each step of the policy is enforced the employee is notified in writing of the next step;
- If the violation happens again the employee is notified;
- The policy is enforced in a consistent manner.
I know I am not the perfect driver, but not once have I ever experienced any of the above from any company I have worked for large or small.
There are regulations that if followed and enforced would really prove this industry to be a professional one indeed.
Until the government can find a way to monitor companies to enforce these regulations, new hirees are at the mercy of the experienced drivers to train them to become professional qualified drivers.
Trucking companies it seems, find it more convenient to throw away profits with mis-informed/ trained drivers, ill-trained dispatchers, corporate staff, and safety personnel who are mere puppets to the bottom line, rather that the enforcement of the top line.