All of a Sudden: Success-Trucking Tales Ep6

Posted by Lou Graziani on March 1, 2012 in the category Uncategorized
Success

All of a sudden, Bright Mountain’s truck driver staffing problems are getting better. Naturally, this is a prominent topic at the weekly staff meeting.

“Everyone here deserves credit for cutting our turnover and getting all our trucks out of the yard and on the road again,” begins CEO Jack. “As I think about all the good things we’ve done lately with Y-Stay, it made me think back.”

“When we started out, dad named the company Bright Mountain Trucking because he had a vision that we wanted to be something big and well….happy, sunny…although he didn’t use those words. I don’t know if he ever imagined what it would grow into today.”

Belinda smiled and nodded.

Jack continued: “We didn’t start out big but we were upbeat. We had one truck and one customer, Fred Samuels, a friend of dads. We made a lot of mistakes but we had a lot of fun doing it. Every time we got a new customer, it was a celebration. We all had smiles on our faces.”

“Dad used to wash the trucks every night because he wanted them to look good for the customers and look sharp on the road.  He turned a wrench when he had to. He bought nice shirts for the drivers. He never stopped reminding them that they were the most important link between us and our customers. If a driver had a problem, he knew he could come to dad and he would listen. He couldn’t always solve the problem, but he’d try. And, he was picky about the ones he hired.”

“Bud and Belinda, you were there: selling……routing…running ads…hiring…doing the paperwork….cooking at the company picnic…picking up a drivers’ kid from school when his wife was sick and he was on the road.”

“Yeah,” said Bud smiling, “I remember Jay would take money out of his pocket to help a guy out.”

“Somewhere along the way, we lost that feeling of family and maybe lost a little of our direction. The bigger we got, the more we needed rules and procedures. We hired specialists to help with the internet, the computer systems, the accounting and all the other things we needed to run a modern business. We learned phrases like depreciation and cash flow models. The only acronym we used to know was CDL but then we had to learn NAFTA, CSA, ECBR. Some of us started seeing drivers as a number…just a blip on a GPS tracking screen hauling another load somewhere.”

“I tell you this because I believe that the success we’ve had has to do with getting back to the things that dad believed in.”

“He was never a truck guy; he was a people guy. He treated people the way he wanted to be treated. He didn’t kick a guy when he was down, and he always wanted to be the best.”

“We can’t return to those days…the world has changed…but we can do the modern equivalent and I believe we are. To make a long story short, with Y-Stay, we’re using the same principles that dad preached with a 21th century twist.”

Try to hire the best. Figure out what makes drivers want to leave and then eliminate those things. Give them a fair wage and decent benefits but don’t think that money will solve all our problems. Make drivers feel important and respected. Just use modern ideas to apply those principles. We’re applying lots of new, great ideas to cut our turnover. You can’t just take a twenty out of your pocket any more, even though the idea is right emotionally.”

We’ve all had a hand in making sure these things are working and it’s really had an impact. Fritz, what are the figures again?”

“Jack, we’ve cut our real turnover rate from 92% to 53% and it’s trending better month to month, especially last month.  And, the national statistics are headed in the other direction.  Our driver satisfaction surveys are also showing positive.  There’s positive correlation between the inception of the program and its success rate.”

“So as dad would have said, we’ve plugged the leaks so we don’t have to hire as many new drivers, right? And everybody else hasn’t been as lucky.”

“Yep!”

 

Lou Graziani: creator of Bright Mountain Trucking
“transportation guru, training expert, and imagineer.”


This story continues…

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