Prime Walmart Dedicated (Lewiston, ME)

Topic 20695 | Page 2

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Kat's Comment
member avatar

It was an interesting night and not as horrible as I imagined it would be! LOL So glad you said something about those bulkheads, G-town, because this first load was reefer with three temp zones. The guy at my first stop was very helpful and showed me how to put them up and down. Good thing too because I was totally on my own at the other 2 stops. It made it better that this tends to be a night run...or at least I can dictate my schedule if I want to. Less traffic, empty parking lots, AND I found out today that there are satellite pictures of each delivery point with arrows showing traffic flow.

Pay-wise, it's a few cents per mile more than OTR with stop pay. The guys in the office here told me more about the weather issues too, and up front, it doesn't sound any worse than dealing with winter across the US. I got lucky this past year driving OTR and only ended up driving in snow a handful of times.

So, right now, I am planning on staying up here a while and seeing how it goes. I was assured that if I decided that it just wasn't something I wanted to do, especially when winter hits, that they would allow me to switch back to OTR with no problem. I think the perks are good though! LOL Guaranteed parking at the end of each shift, ability to park/shop at Walmart as needed, our mini terminal at the DC, consistency in pay from week to week AND the ability to bobtail out of here if I crave lobster for dinner.

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Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Bulkhead:

A strong wall-like structure placed at the front of a flatbed trailer (or on the rear of the tractor) used to protect the driver against shifting cargo during a front-end collision. May also refer to any separator within a dry or liquid trailer (also called a baffle for liquid trailers) used to partition the load.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Glad to hear that Kat. I was hoping it went well for you.

First load reefer...nothing like getting thrown into the deep end of the pool. But you survived...good for you!

I assume they went over the load map, using different color highlighters to mark/indicate each store's pallet location...

Who knows you might get hooked on running Walmart like I did. Good luck!

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Kat's Comment
member avatar

Yep... They went over the load map before I left and told me how many pallets each stop got, BUT it was a minimal education at best. LOL They said nothing about bulkheads, writing down temps pre and post drop, or much of anything else to be honest. After the first stop, I got it figured out.

Something I found really different was being on duty virtually every minute other than when I was driving. Had to stop on the way back to the DC for my 30 because I ran out of time. I am used to logging about 10 minutes on duty at a stop so that I can save my clock. Too, this type of run requires dealing with more people in one night than I might normally see all week. LOL That in itself is a challenge for me after being so solitary for the past year.

Bulkhead:

A strong wall-like structure placed at the front of a flatbed trailer (or on the rear of the tractor) used to protect the driver against shifting cargo during a front-end collision. May also refer to any separator within a dry or liquid trailer (also called a baffle for liquid trailers) used to partition the load.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Hey Kat,

After reading your last reply I thought of the top three important lessons I learned during my initial time on the account...

- Always use the directions printed on the trip sheet. There are so many different, subtle access routes to the dock that relying on memory, GPS and the Truckers Atlas is at least in the beginning potentially problematic. Using Google maps to assist with this is a great idea. When traveling from stop 1 to 2 (2-3, etc.), align your GPS route with the printed directions. Use the Atlas as an assist or backup.

- You mentioned the people. Indeed a necessary interaction when running Walmart. My rule of thumb is treat them as I want them to treat me. Your #1 goal is to get into and out of the store as quickly as possible. Which for me means helping them do their job when it makes sense. Helping restack a fouled pallet is an example of something you can do to not only safe time but gain respect from the unloaders.

- Don't wait for someone to answer the door bell. I ring once and will call the main number simultaneously so the operator can page a manager. Only management/supervisory people have the key to let you in. For some stores that typically have very congested, disorganized back rooms I'll call when I am about to leave for their location. You will develop a sense of the problems as you learn the territory. I will call every 10 minutes until I am in the door. In extreme cases I will walk to the front of the store to gain access and attention from a manager. During the holiday season...it can sometimes take a while to get in. Getting in and out quickly is really important for success at this, and is part finesses and persistence.

Good luck!

Kat's Comment
member avatar

This DC has a file cabinet with every store's satellite image along with arrows marking how to get in and out and where the docks. It's one of the main reasons I decided to stick around a while. LOL Much of my anxiety stemmed from navigating around the stores, so once dispatch clued me in to the cheat sheets, I was ok. It's definitely challenging, but the backing isn't any worse than some of the places I've been OTR. Had a stop today with a really tight left turn to get behind the building and another with so much crap piled up around their docking area that there was barely room to turn around, but if there's one lesson I have learned it is to creep along and watch those mirrors in tight spaces. It's always an awesome feeling to make it into a tight spot, even if it takes a while.

As far as the people go, I'm always nice. If THEY aren't, then I am professional. I am an introvert at heart and after a year or so away from the classroom where I was forced to interact with lots of people, I have had no trouble re-establishing my hermit-like ways. It's just another change I will get used to.

Time management is quite different with this gig! So far, there haven't been any issues with having to wait at dock doors, and I am usually in and out of there in 30 minutes or so. That counts the time from when I get to their docking area to when I pull out. I have been pleasantly surprised.

Tomorrow, my run to Vermont will add state #48 to my list of places I have driven in. Went to Alaska on vacation a couple of years ago, so now Hawaii is on my bucket list. States are like Pokemon...gotta collect them all!

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OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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