Driver Impact in a Fleet
Employees often feel as though they are just a number at many companies. The larger the company, the larger the number. Large companies can offer you things small companies can’t such growth opportunities, benefits, training programs, and sometimes better wages. Depending on the company culture an employee can get lost in a sea of coworkers and have a hard time standing out or getting ahead in their career.
Many drivers especially those starting out may decide to work for smaller companies and family operations. The benefits to a smaller company is the management team knows your name, possibly access to nicer equipment, experience with specialized operations, opportunities with a wide variety of freight, and it is usually easier to get noticed for doing a good job.
I have worked for both style of carriers and they all have their advantages and disadvantages. I gained a lot of experience in my early years working for small companies that hauled different types of freight. This allowed me to choose the type of work enjoyed and had great equipment. I really enjoyed that family operation.
I have also worked for large companies where there were many layers of management and operations. The training I received at those companies I still use in my work today and the salary and benefits were second to none. There were many rules and regulations to be followed and exceptional opportunities for promotion.
No matter which style of carrier you choose to work for you as a driver do have an impact on that company and how you perform can determine the longevity of that company. At a large carrier there may be more money to cover incidents and due to the vast amount of employees it may not be as noticeable, but there are also more opportunities for problems in multiple areas.
In a small carrier a driver has major impact when an incident happens. If there are only a couple of trucks in a fleet one incident can shut down a carrier in a hurry. Violations from a driver or delivery incidents can cause a company to go bankrupt by not being able to keep up with incident costs. Bad truck management can cause a carrier to lose money and increase road safety by not keeping up with repairs.
We recently saw this effect on the tragedy with the Humboldt Broncos hockey incident. This carrier may never recover from an incident like this. The incident is still under investigation and I am not suggesting blame at this time, just outlining the facts. The trucking company only had two trucks and was new to the industry and even though their record is in good standing they have been placed on suspension until the investigation is completed. The damage and loss of life is astronomical and beyond belief in this incident. What does this mean for the company?
It is on the fence whether this company will survive once the dust settles. You have the hard costs of replacing the freight, clean up costs, possible charges for the incident, replacement of the vehicle, and higher insurance costs. On the soft costs you have the emotional state of the driver, ongoing training programs, mental consultations, and the brand implication of the company. Many drivers never get back in the seat after an incident like this and many small carriers never survive.
As a driver you can have a major impact on a company and possibly the survival of the company. Driving safely, doing proper inspections, and being the true professional driver you were trained to be should be the focus of every driver in the industry. Take your position seriously whether working for a large fleet or a two truck company. How you perform can determine the outcome of any carrier.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the town of Humboldt and the Broncos hockey team.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com