Hot Stuff!

Topic 19926 | Page 1

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Old School's Comment
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Occasionally we get a load that is referred to as being "Hot." When we get a "Hot" load, that simply means that it is especially urgent, it has got to get there ASAP! The customer needs it badly. Sometimes we have loads that are called "JIT" loads, and that simply means that it is a "Just In Time" load. On these loads it is critical that they are delivered exactly when requested. They will usually have an appointment time, and it is critical that you make your appointment. Often times "JIT" loads come with a fine to the shipping company if they are delivered late. These "JIT" loads are usually delivered to manufacturing facilities whose assembly lines will be held up if you are late delivering their product. These are usually going to someplace that doesn't want to spend the capital required to build a large warehouse to store excess stock, so they sort of use the shipping company as a place to keep their goods, but they expect it to be delivered when needed. Of course there are financial incentives for the shipper also - they get paid higher rates to do these "JIT" loads. Some of the customers that I serve on this dedicated account are "JIT" loads.

Recently after delivering to Stanley Access Technologies in Farmington, Connecticut I got a back haul load from Cressona, Pennsylvania that delivered down to Alro Metals in Tampa, Florida. When I got to the SAPA plant in Cressona, they informed me that they had to add a "hot" piece onto my load that would need to be dropped at the Great Dane Trailer manufacturing facility in Statesboro, Georgia on my way down to Florida.

I've been to this facility plenty of times before, and not only do you have to have an appointment set 48 hours in advance, but you are going to be there a while. They are notoriously and methodically slow about getting you unloaded. Quite often the material that we bring them is almost 53 foot long, because it is the extruded aluminum pieces that make up the decking, or flooring, of the trailers that they build here.

I didn't need to wait 48 hours, I could be there in less than half that time. Remember, in this business time is money, and I don't like to waste money. I called to set my appointment, and told the person on the phone when I could be there and asked for a ten o'clock appointment that morning. I was going to be pushing it all I could to make it at that time. Their terse reply was that they had already over booked deliveries for that day and I would have to come the next day. Well, not to be put off like that, I engaged the clerk with the following conversation...

Me... "I think you might want to check this purchase order number and see if you can go ahead and take me at that time I requested."

Clerk... "I doubt it, but go ahead and humor me."

Me... "It is purchase order xxxxxxx" (now I hear pecking away at a keyboard)

Clerk... "Hmmm, I think you are correct sir, it seems that we have a spot for you at ten a.m. Come on in and we will get you unloaded. There is an extremely urgent message attached to that purchase order."

HaHa, sometimes you can use these "hot" loads as leverage to get yourself in and out of there in a hurry!

Well, here is how it went down as I arrived at the gate:

The guard phoned his "receiving gal" as he called her, and she told him to let me in and have me back up to door number xx. By the time I got around to that door and started setting up to back up to the door, two forklifts came racing around the corner and were waiting on me to get it untarped and unstrapped. You can see in this photo one piece of material lying on the ground next to my truck. That is the one that was "Hot." Before I could even get my straps back on the rest of my load and my tarps pulled back into place, about four of five young men showed up and hoisted it up onto their shoulders and took it inside the building to put it to good use.

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Speaking of "Hot Stuff," let me tell you about what I picked up next. After delivering the rest of that load to Alro Metals in Tampa, I was dispatched to Port Manatee to pick up some aluminum logs that were going to the SAPA plant in Gainesville, Georgia. If you are not familiar with these "logs," as we call them, here is a look at what a load of "logs" looks like for me...

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Speaking of "Hot Stuff," in the plants where they make the extrusions that I haul around the country, these "logs" are heated up until they are glowing "cherry red" and then forced with powerful hydraulic presses through a "die." If you have ever seen one of these little toys that kids use that forces "Play-dough" through a machine and it comes out a certain shape depending on the "die" you are forcing it through, that is the simplified version of the principle of manufacturing aluminum extrusions. Here are some of the shapes that I just delivered this week to a job site in Hermiston, Oregon. These are for the stadium seating at a new Rodeo arena being built there. This was my second trip up here in about a month.

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Continued...

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
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When I returned to Delhi, my dispatcher said, "Dale, we don't have any good loads today. Would you be willing to run a little short load just for something to do today, and then we will see what develops for tomorrow? I hate to put you on one of these loads I've got today, when there is bound to be something better show up for tomorrow." Okay, I was game, and it gives me a chance to do my dispatcher a favor. He always treats me so special, that I really owe it to him to work with him whenever he requests it. What he had me do was to take an empty "scrap" trailer from the plant to a facility that puts their "scrap" aluminum into the "scrap" trailer that we leave on their property. They call us when it is full, and we bring them an empty, and haul the loaded trailer back to the plant. I have never done this duty since I first started here, and I guess it was time to take the plunge. It felt kind of odd, because all I have ever hauled are flat-bed trailers. Here is a picture of the "scrap" trailer that I took down to Alexandria, Louisiana, and a shot of the loaded one that I brought back...

20170612_131634_zpsfoqi1ue7.jpg20170613_110829_zpsmsung6xj.jpg

These trailers are typically a little on the "junky" side - after all, they are just used for hauling "scrap" metal.

As a truck driver, we get to see some "Cool Stuff" also. I see really cool stuff all the time, and I try to share as much of it with you as I can. Time is limited though, so you really only get to hear a small portion of what my life on the road is like. Being an over the road truck driver is literally like living three or four lifetimes. It is incredible what all you are exposed to. Truck drivers are full of stories to tell, but it is only because they have been so many places and seen so many things. While I was parked at a truck stop down in Florida I saw this rig... Pretty cool, don't you think?

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Although I didn't make it clear yet, after doing that little short haul of scrap metal for my dispatcher this past week, he came up with that second load going to Oregon for me. That is a lesson for you about truck driving and how you need to interact with your dispatcher. Don't be thinking you are too good to do a short load now and then. Don't start refusing loads that you think are beneath you. That type of behavior only puts you a little lower down on his list of priorities. Your dispatcher wants you to be moving as much as possible, but sometimes things don't all come together just right. If you can show that you can do a great job at the little things, then you will begin to be trusted with the bigger things. And that my friend is how you begin to make your dispatcher think of you as "Hot Stuff!"

Over The Road:

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.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.
John C.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks OS!

Great advice and a good read, as always!

As a side note, I've designed dies for aluminum extrusion. Those hydraulic presses are a real impressive to watch. I know you're always focused on your task, and then the next load, but do you ever get a change to tour the facilities where you deliver?

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
do you ever get a change to tour the facilities where you deliver?

Yes, John I do get to look around sometimes. I came from a thirty year background in custom manufacturing before I started driving a truck, so I am quite enthralled with the whole manufacturing process of the materials that I haul around the country. I find the manufacturing business and the trucking business to be very intriguing.

Vendingdude's Comment
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Thumbs up for sharing. New guys and old guys alike love reading these.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Thumbs up for sharing. New guys and old guys alike love reading these.

I was thinking the same thing. I always enjoy a good story!

smile.gif

John C.'s Comment
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do you ever get a change to tour the facilities where you deliver?

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Yes, John I do get to look around sometimes. I came from a thirty year background in custom manufacturing before I started driving a truck, so I am quite enthralled with the whole manufacturing process of the materials that I haul around the country. I find the manufacturing business and the trucking business to be very intriguing.

Same here, it's all intriguing. For me the opportunity to see something manufactured into a real object (as opposed to a computer model that I've designed) is the best part of my job. I can see where transporting raw goods to mfg. plants would be a good fit. I've learned enough here to know I probably should start with dry van or refer, but that part of the reason I'm so interested in flatbed when my career progresses. Thanks!

I'm seriously considering applying to Knight, and their sponsored training. I wonder if they realize that you're a recruiting asset?

sigh: I still need to figure out how to use and edit the quote function properly.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
Tastebuds's Comment
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When I read the subject line, I thought this thread was about me, but I digress.

millionmiler24 (CRSTs Mos's Comment
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Thumbs up for sharing. New guys and old guys alike love reading these.

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I was thinking the same thing. I always enjoy a good story!

smile.gif

Especially if its one of you Moderators sharing your stories OTR. I love reading about yalls experiences out here.

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.

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