Trucking Industry

Making the Most of Challenging Times

Even during a viral pandemic that has rocked the entire industry, we’re seeing fleets use this challenging time as an opportunity to improve operational efficiencies and safety programs that will extend far beyond the immediate response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

They say that ‘necessity is the mother of invention.’ And, fleets are reinventing themselves as we speak. And, that can be a good thing.

In a virtual symposium recently hosted by Commercial Carrier Journal, Chelsea Loining, Halvor Lines director of human resources; Brenda Kraft, Kottke Trucking vice president of resources/recruiting; and Jessie Burnette, Hirschbach chief people officer, shared ways their companies have adjusted to the pandemic as well as their future operational plans.

A common denominator in the discussion centered the use of technology to lessen face-to-face interactions – keeping everyone safe, yet still connected.

In the symposium, Chelsea, Brenda, and Jessie shared how they’ve moved most, if not all, of their driver orientation process online. While they were quick to add that in-person meetings is important during the onboarding process, the time savings by having online components, such as hosting meet and greet sessions, issuing paperwork and training to be completed away from company facilities is something that can’t be ignored.

When it comes to on-road training, Kottke Trucking recently began using in-cab cameras to evaluate driver’s road tests – which also limits interactions between the driver and trainer. Something that is assisting in the company’s social distancing efforts and is part of the company’s long-term plans.

The increased use of social media as a communication tool to reach drivers and office staff, especially those working from home, is something fleets are finding especially helpful in keeping employees connected since fewer interactions are taking place at facilities. The participants mentioned how they’re able to livestream or record company meetings, COVID-19 policy updates and other information to view. Jessie said that Hirschbach is seeing almost 100% engagement from drivers with these videos. And the company plans to continue delivering company messages through social media channels post-COVID-19.

To reduce interactions between a driver and shipper, Halvor Lines recently developed a new mobile app that gives drivers and shipper customers an electronic bill of lading. It’s allowing drivers to stay safe inside of their cabs, while reducing the amount of time a driver spends at a shipping or receiving location by exchanging paper-proof of deliver documents online.

If COVID-19 has made us all reconsider one thing, regardless of industry, it’s probably sanitation practices. We’re all more aware of our personal hygiene than ever before. In response to COVID-19, Halvor Lines began using smart disinfected foggers, which circulates disinfecting products through the trucks’ ventilation system and sanitizes the air in the cab. It’s a product the company plans to continue using post-COVID-19 to help ensure the health of its drivers.

It’s no secret the COVID-19 outbreak has been a challenge for us all. But, the industry is resilient, and many fleets will emerge from this stronger because of it.

Drivewyze has partnered with ORBCOMM and McLeod Software to deliver a free live webinar on this very topic, called Emerging Stronger: How Smart Technology is Your Fleet’s Competitive Edge in the Economic Recovery. Join the panel of industry experts on June 18th as they share practical tips on how your fleet can reduce costs and emerge even stronger from times of uncertainty. Click here to save your seat at the webinar.