What can co.s do to increase driver retention?

by Jimmy

As I see it, companies have done a lot to appease the driver, but more can be done. Lets look at the trucking business. They haul customers products from point 'A' to point 'B' and thats it, right? Well, not quite. There's a little more to it. I've seen some folks ask questions about what to expect if they get into the biz. Some say it's a little scarey, the thought of being away from home, driving that big thing state to state, manuerving in parking lots, trying to keep your delivery times. Well, think about this. I own a trucking co, each truck is worth $130,000 including the trailer. I have contracted with many accounts to deliver their product, safely and on time, AND with no damage.

The product is pretty expensive normally, may even be worth millions and needs to be on the store shelf pretty damn quick. Now, do you think it's a little scarey for me to hire a driver off the street,without very much experience, put him/her into my $130,000 truck, loaded with expensive merchandise, and send him/her on their way hoping like hell they actually arrive at the customer on time without a breakdown, or an accident (the carrier's insurance pays for any loss)or possibly wanting to get home for an 'emergency' while right in the middle of the trip? Now multiply that by 500 trucks or 5000 trucks! Yikes!

Me, as the owner of the company, has no company unless I have customers.I have to damn well keep my customers happy, keep all the federal/state agencys happy, keep all my inside people happy and of course keep my drivers really happy. I may have a finiky driver that promised, 'hey, no probelm. I'll get that load there' for one of my nice accounts that I know will be increasing their business with us, and goes by the house on his way, which is fine, but then
I get the call that he is 'out of hours' and will not be on time for the delivery.

It's damn hard for me, as the owner of the co. to scramble to get another truck to grab that load and keep my customer happy. Remember, it's a nice account, will be increasing his business soon, and did I mention they pay on time and only ship light loads and can pick-up/deliver without an appointment 24/7 and all the drivers rave about that cutomer, how much they like going there? Now one driver is about to screw things up. I won't mention the driver who ran out of fuel yesterday 15 miles past one of our fuel stops. He said the guage showed a quarter. Keeping things running smoothly 24/7 365 days a year is no easy task.

Me as the owner depend on the driver to send in paperwork in a timely manner, take care of my trucks, represent the co. in a courteous manner, uphold my image, ( my names on the truck, not the drivers) It's not all about the driver, he/she is just part of the equation. When possible, I as the owner will appease the driver, but understand, the trucking business is in the transportation business. I cannot tell the customer that, sorry truck 468567, forgot to buy fuel and will be late with the delivery. They say, keep the driver happy, I as the owner say, drivers, keep me happy. I want you to be happy, but don't tear up my trucks, and treat my customers badly.

Now, back to the first person. This be Jimmy again. I think any trucking co. needs an ombudsman to handle issues pertaining to driver complaints. An ombudsman I'm pretty sure, is a go between, like a middle man. The driver has a probelm, is not geting anywhere with dispatch, calls the middleman and trys to get probelm solved, instead of 'I'm quitting'........Jimmy

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Apr 16, 2009
Trucking is a job for people who understands teamwork
by: Hervy

Great post Jimmy,

Many people don't get the fact the there needs to be a relationship between the driver and trucking company(the dispatcher in particular). That relationship will have a lot to do with whether a driver is happy with his or her truck driving job.

(Of course the dispatcher must be competent and also care about his or her job performance first just like the driver)

If the relationship is their and both people understand that they are working together to achieve a common goal which is on time, safe delivery to satisfy customers, they will keep each other busy and happy. It is simple as that.

If either party does not get this, there is room for either to slack at their performance which will usually end up with one of the other unhappy.

A driver or dispatcher with an attitude problem will be a burden on the companies level of profitability and so each person's job is at risk the longer they remain in place bringing the company down. The more foul relationships, the less profitable a company is.

If more drivers, dispatchers, managers, understood this relationship everyone would be happier and the trucking companies would be stronger.

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