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How to Take Advantage of COVID-19 in Transportation

How are you running your business when the world is full of uncertainty? 

The Marines would call this a VUCA environment - short for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. All four characteristics require a separate strategy. What was the outcome of your COVID-19 war room? You may not be panicking, but are you really taking advantage of this opportunity to set up your company for the future or are you going with the “hope” strategy? This is like an accident in NASCAR where everyone goes in for a pit stop. Your focus is re-fueling, new tires, lug nuts, and as much work on the engine as you can while the world is shut down. Your competition’s engine is shut down as well, so now is the time to work on yours. Will you come out stronger than your competitors or are you going right back to the same spot in line?

Our clients are a resilient bunch. We’re hearing how they are turning a slowdown into an intense pit row session to come out more quickly when we wave the economic green flag again. 

Reducing COVID-19 Exposure - Go Paperless

Your drivers are on the front lines with some of the highest exposure to the virus in the country. Avoid making them come into the office unless it’s absolutely necessary. Signing paperwork is NOT a good reason to have them come to the office. Our clients are looking around at any record that starts as a physical piece of paper and are digitizing it within A-Suite:

  • Onboarding: Avoid bringing a group of people you’re just meeting through your entire office and then putting them in a confined room during orientation. Have them complete the 50 to 75 pages of paperwork digitally. 
  • Expiring Records: conduct your Annual Review remotely and have the driver sign the digital Certificate of Violation remotely. 
  • Texting: As the DMVs open back up, have your drivers take a picture of their new CDL on their smartphone and text it back to you. 

Beyond reducing COVID-19 risk, there are no more mountains of paper! No more scavenger hunts to find the record that Joe the trainer took out to view the MVR and forgot to put back. No more “What the heck? I know I had this signed somewhere”.


Investing in Training

The challenge of training is finding time to take out of a busy operations schedule. If times are slow, now is the time to invest in your drivers. We have many clients who used Payroll Protection Program dollars to bring back / keep from laying off drivers and putting them through our various training programs. Show them that in a time of uncertainty, you are there investing them. You want them coming home safely -- whether there’s a global pandemic or not. 


Always Accepting Applications 

Even clients who have been getting absolutely creamed during COVID-19 shutdowns are still accepting applications. They know we will get through this mess and will not get back every driver that was laid off, furloughed or who took extended leave. They are doing the pre-screening and keeping the candidates warm so the pipeline isn’t bare when they’re ready to hire again. Keep building that funnel without spending advertising dollars. Pent up labor demand means the companies who make offers first will get the new drivers.


Crises are times to over-communicate with your team. How easy was it for you to send out mass messages? Were you able to send them a text with a link to a video address from the President every day? Show the troops that you are on the front lines with them. Tell them the brutal facts of our reality, and tell them why you still maintain faith (the Stockdale Paradox). Your drivers will remember how you treated them during this crisis - don’t miss this opportunity to create a driver that will stay with you the rest of their career. 

Work Remote

Life is fluid right now. If you or one of your employees are feeling sick, or has a loved one at home that puts them at risk, can you pop open a laptop to work without skipping a beat? One of our clients emailed us to say:  

You have been awesome through this. I don't know how I would have made this [hiring in a pandemic] work without you! The whole team has been great! Miller was truly blessed to have had Avatar in place before this happened.


Catching Up

If times are slow in your office, now is the time to get all those projects you’ve been meaning to do done. Many of our clients are moving paper into digital DQ Files. They are addressing any records that are out of compliance while they have the time. When that green flag goes off, they want to be ready!

So are you going to pass any of your competition during this shutdown or are you going to stay the same?

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