So What’s the Problem–Trucking Tales Ep2

Posted by Lou Graziani on November 1, 2011 in the category Uncategorized
So What’s the Problem Trucking Tales

Suffering from hiring and turnover problems with truckers, Bright Mountain Trucking has decided to dig deeper. Cary gives his report to the management team.

“It’s not just us. It’s not just this area. A magazine said every carrier in 2011 faces a headwind. Like trying to hit a golf ball into a strong wind.  Carriers have vehicles to get higher sales.  But the typical trucking firm turns loads down because they don’t have enough drivers. Trucks with no drivers make no money. Estimates range from a low of 100,000 short to 300,000 and up.

“So far you’re preaching to the choir,” says Belinda. “Why now? What’s changed?”

“Good question. Demographics, people trends, are bad for trucking. The average trucker is in his mid-forties (94 % are men) and the average age keeps going up.  New blood isn’t motivated by the things we were when we started-- challenges of independence and the open road. Travel. Now, he’s driven by need. Maybe the guy just got laid off from a factory. Then he sees a TV commercial decides to give trucking  a try. After a while the reality of trucking life sinks in and the promises of trucking school sound like lies.  Most new recruits don’t cut it. It’s no secret that turnover hits hardest in the first six months.”

“Newbies to driving and to us are always a higher risk” says Jack, the President.

“Then there’s CSA. CSA is new and predicted to take 10% of truckers off the highways. No one knows for sure. What is a certainty is that FMCSA wants to remove unsafe drivers from the highways. They can’t do it directly but they’re going to put pressure on carriers to do it.

“More good news from the Feds, eh”

“Yeah, and here’s some more. Hard to believe but according to the Department of Transportation and FMCSA heads (LaHood and Ferro), the average over-the-road trucker dies at age 61. Bad diet, sleep apnea, lack of exercise, smoking, accidents, whatever.

“Sixty-one. You got to be kidding me!”

“That’s what they said and they should know”.
“Okay, back to the report. So what happens is, when there’s less qualified candidates, it causes carriers to be ‘unselective’. “

Cary makes a quote sign as he says ‘unselective’.

“Recruiters could try to screen out negative applicant traits identified by an FMCSA study: aggressive, angry, impatient, inattentive…stuff like that.  That would be a good way to choose the right person and rule out the bad eggs.

“But that’s not how it usually works. If a driver can meet the minimum—CDL, experience to satisfy the insurance company, a driving record better than Mr. Magoo—the pressure is on to hire.”

“Mr. Magoo? You’re showing your age, Cary.”

“So most companies are happy just to get a guy into the driver’s seat.”

“In a way it’s no surprise to see that other companies think like us. I saw this stunt on TV. An elevator opens up and everyone on it is facing the back. The guy who gets on stares for a second and then he faces the back too.  Monkey see, monkey do. There’s got to be a better way, ” offered  Jack.

“Well, I checked into it more and found basically this: Even with all these negative trends, good solid truck drivers are hired every day. It’s a matter of competing effectively and getting our share…or better yet, more than our share. These were the things we should do:

  • Understand who we are--project that image to the outside world--attract the right type of people for us. That way you keep them longer.  It’s a ‘fit’.
  • Expand our streams of candidates. Get more and better applicants from new sources. ‘You don’t know what you don’t know’.
  • Improve the recruiting methods we are using now. Better is better.
  • Make good choices. Build a better, less-turnover-prone, safer and more customer-friendly driver work force.
  • Have a repeatable hiring system that’s consistent.

“Does anyone really think we’re NOT capable of getting those things done?” asked Jack.

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


This story continues…

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