Local Food Service As A Rookie

Topic 20873 | Page 14

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Rob T.'s Comment
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Friday I'm embarassed to admit i overslept. I woke up with my alarm but fell back asleep thinking id hit snooze instead of dismiss. Thankfully I woke up at 430am (when I was set to start) instead of oversleeping a couple hours. I made it to work only being a half hour behind to start my day, which I was able to hustle and skip over a couple stops to get me back on schedule. I actually got 30 minutes ahead (in reality should've been an hour ahead if I woke up on time!) By the time I delivered my 7th stop. I ended up needing to wait over an hour at my next stop putting me back behind schedule. My 8th stop was a new customer so I wanted to be sure to have a good first delivery for him with a reasonable time to give a great first impression. The customer showed up at around 11. Had I skipped over him and came back after my last scheduled stop it would've been atleast 3pm. Not exactly a great way to start when he was told he would have it by lunch. The salesman was going to be getting a key from them so I don't need to wait in the future. Ended up being a 12 hour day with 421 cases, 10k weight, 221 miles. I had alot of driving on US 30 today that has nothing out there. It eas only 25 degrees today. Mix that with sustained winds over 30 mph, and gusts up to 45 mph I was getting blown all over the road in my little pup trailer especially since over half my weight was off by that point. had a close call today with another vehicle. I was at a green light waiting to turn left. There was a car coming towards me that began to slow down and turned on their left turn signal indicating they were turning. Based on them almost being stopped and them having their turn signal on I began to proceed. At that point the car sped up and decided they werent turning. I ended up triggering my drive cam with a hard brake but thats much better than dealing with the effects of having hit them. It is somewhat embarrassing talking about the mistakes I make, and close calls but what's the point of having a diary if I'm not going to paint an honest, clear view of the job and experiences both good and bad alike. I have been fortunate up to this point to have not hit anything and I understand that can change in an instant. This week i ended up having about 58 hours. With the annual pay increase we received that'll put this paycheck around $1650 gross. This job is definitely not one that someone should take just because they see the $$$$ signs. Unfortunately as it warms up the risk of Injury will go up. I'm not looking forward to lugging 300+ pounds up stairs when It's over 90 degrees out and humid. On the brightside it may help me lose some weight!

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.

Dm:

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.
Villain's Comment
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I worked managing a few restaurants. Tons of respect for the Sysco & Gordon drivers. When I would see where the truck had to come in I would think no way. Then I'd see them stack 6 dollies before even making first trip in to the store. Back and forth. Then Bam! they were gone. Straight hustle.

Do you get the same route every day? I drove local deliveries for a few companies with up to 20 stops a day. At quite a few the stop list had gotten quit ragged. As customers were gained or lost no one bothered to routinely audit the route for efficiency. I took the time to tighten my routes if I could. I remember 1 route was so out of sorts; scheduled for 10 I got it down to 8:45.

Villain's Comment
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Sorry I worded that wrong. "Do you get the same rout every day". I meant to say do you get the same set of routs?

Rob T.'s Comment
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Sorry I worded that wrong. "Do you get the same rout every day". I meant to say do you get the same set of routs?

Yes. I know what area I'll be in as well as what time I'm starting. For the most part I'll have the same customers for that day as well however there are times when a customer is allowed to order on a day they typically don't. I'm not sure how it's determined if it's allowed. The way our trucks are routed is based on the time windows we are given, and then they try to avoid backtracking as much as possible without having me sitting somewhere. Thursdays I end up sitting a bit because my truck is pretty much "overflow" from 2 others. We're getting alot more business here and soon things will work out much better. Unfortunately for me, sometimes when sales picks up a new account they promise the customer a certain time in order to get them to buy from us and usually that means the route isn't being run efficiently from a logistics point of view. That tends to happen more frequently on our downtown route. I also deal with it on Thursday as my route has me in 2 different areas (south side Des Moines, and the West metro in the cities of west Des Moines and Urbandale). In both of those areas I often am within 3 miles of where another driver is but due to customer requirements we're both needed in that area. It would be much more efficient if I took everything on the southside and then went to the west metro to do whatever couldn't fit on that truck, but again customers were promised a certain time frame so we try to stick to that. Unfortunately sometimes when we get a new customer the current customers we have get pushed back.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Monday and Tuesday of this week both went off without a hitch, really nothing changed with them. About same case count and weight doing the same stops. The only interesting thing to see was on Tuesday there was a house being moved in the small town I was in that had the sheriffs office blocking the road and utility company raising electrical wires to allow this single family home to get through. The deputies told me it would be about a half hour before I was allowed through but i explained to him in a polite, professional way that I was delivering to the place directly across the street (house being moved was still half mile away). I also informed him I only had 13 minutes left before needing my mandatory 30 minute break and it is against company policy, not to mention unsafe for me to sit on the side of this US highway. The deputy was nice enough to allow me through. Being professional and not hot headed will more likely yield you the results you desire. Now you could say that allowing myself to run that close to my 8th hour (when I need my 30 minute break before operating a CMV again) is poor planning, or is just asking for a violation as I very easily could have been told no i have to wait for the house. If that happened, I would have gone "off duty" then when the road cleared limp it across the street without tripping my ELOG. I don't like doing that because it's technically against the law and I'm trying to keep my license clean. The reason I ran it so close to my 8th hour was because the way my route is set up is I do 1 stop in Des Moines, then 30 miles east to Newton for 4 stops, then 30 miles south to Knoxville Iowa for 5 stops. I always push to get all my Knoxville stops done before lunch. I've done this route enough to know it's possible for me no problem however I had a pallet fall over which pushed me a little later than normal. After Knoxville it's about a hour drive northwest to Ankeny (just north of Des Moines) for 7 stops. I try to take my break between 7 1/2 to 8 hours into my day because I never know if I'll have truck issues or end up waiting at a customer that may have me needing to use my 16 hours. If I take it too soon I may need to take a 2nd 30 minute break.

Wednesday I absolutely hate! It is nonstop hustle, balls to the walls. I had 742 cases, 19,500 pounds and 24 stops! I somehow knocked it out in 13 hours. Looking at how miserable of a day it was going to be part of me just wanted to give up but if I started thinking about that there's no way I'd get everything unloaded. To say I was exhausted at the end of an understatement. Being familiar with the areas I'm delivering to comes in handy because there's some places we go to require me to take some pretty steep hills and if I don't secure my product well enough I'll damage it and have a terrible mess of my hands.

0225847001523580615.jpg this is one of the stops I have. They have a decent hill to get into their parking lot. It is tight getting in there. In order to get up there I must sit in the travel lane (NOT the shared turn lane) which bothers alot of people because I get there while everyone is trying to get into downtown and it's usually about 8am that I'm there. It seems to be a steady stream of people laying in their horns and then passing me in the shared turn lane (on my left as I'm waiting to make a left turn) which makes me have to be much more aware of my surroundings. I have to stay focused when I do have an opening because there's a stop sign and telephone pole on my passenger side and obviously the building with their awning on the driver side. When I get to the top of the hill I have to pull up by the cars in front of my truck and back to where I'm sitting at.

0487395001523580965.jpg While backing I need to aware of any cars approaching because alot of people are trying to get to work due to what time it is. I snapped the picture from the door of the restaurant. I park the truck there as opposed to where I'm standing because I need to make sure someone doesn't park there so I can get back out alot easier. The extra 20 steps is worth the lower level of stress to me.

0579495001523581194.jpg As you can tell I didn't do a good enough job securing my pallet...... thankfully nothing broke, it just took time to clean it up. Thursday was about the same as it has been 560 cases, 14,000 pounds and took me 11 hours for 11 stops. That included waiting at the usual place for an hour and a half. I was informed they are rerouting my truck next Thursday to eliminate any sitting. Had a close call today. There was a light that changed yellow and I hesitated about going or not. I really should have stopped but I went for it. There was a car on my left that appeared to be stopping (2 lanes turn left to get on interstate) and I made a rookie mistake by NOT WATCHING THE WAGON. I was too focused on making sure the car that was facing me didn't make a right turn to get into interstate in front of me. Thankfully I happened to glance at my mirror and seen the current path i was on would have side swiped the car on my left as after I ASSUMED (you know what they say about that.....) they were stopping they decided to go for it as well.

Continued.......

Elog:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

CMV:

Commercial Motor Vehicle

A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Driving a big truck definitely has ways it give you a reality check pretty quickly. I was thinking about how far I've come, not only with my driving but my unloading. If I would've been given a day like Wednesday early on there's no way I would've gotten it done. Of course mistakes or accidents happen when you least expect them. Tomorrow (friday) I'll be switching back to the downtown route i used to do. I had contacted my manager this morning and asked him if it's possible to take over that route until the guy who's out hurt comes back. They have a guy from rock island here on tuesday, then a different guy that delivers here on Thursday and Friday as we're down a driver and those are only days we need covered. I explained my reasoning of wanting to be closer to home in case anything goes wrong with my wifes pregnancy and she needs to get taken into the doctor quickly (not that there's any problems, i just worry too much). By doing the downtown route I'll be no further than 15 minutes from our yard and another 15 minute drive home as opposed to doing the Friday that takes me to Ames and Marshalltown that will me over an hour away. My manager had no problems with it, however when/if the guy whose route it is does come back I'll be out back on the other route. Everything we do is based on seniority and at the moment I'm low man on the totem pole. It should be a pretty easy day as the big BBQ joint ill have takes about half my truck, then ill use a pallet jack at my 2nd stop to move all my pallets to one side so I don't need to use my side door after the first stop. I forgot to mention, on Wednesday I deliver to a mall downtown. This just so happens to be the one i broke down at, as well as In a previous post I'd talked about my trainer doing a blindside 90 into this alleyway. This is a pic of the alley

0730055001523582741.jpg typically when I get here there's a car all the way down by the poles. I don't attempt getting it in because honestly I don't feel confident in myself enough to do so. When my trainer did it it was extremely tight and took 15 minutes of him wiggling it around. I opt to park out in the loading zone on the street and grab the utility cart they have in the mall. It's a hell of a walk as the doorway I need is where I snapped this pic at, but it's better than hitting something. I have 2 stops there with each one taking about 30 cases. I wish I could load up both orders on the same cart but as you may be able to see the asphalt in this alley isn't that great. It's a very bumpy ride and the last time I did that I ended up having some product fall over and bust open. Go figure it's what the customer really needed for lunch that day. After that day, i decided to just do one at a time. Takes me more time but atleast I'm less likely to damage product and cause the company to lose money, but more importantly my customer won't be out a product they need to help them be successful and theyre more likely to be happy with the service I provided. My mentality of walking farther works ok for food service, however if i was a P &D (pickup and delivery)driver i wouldnt have a choice but to get into this alleyway. I actually think P &D is alot more risky to start out fresh out of school than what I'm doing. Granted, P &D doesn't have the physical labor aspect I do, but they're forced to bump the dock regardless of how new to driving they are or how tight it is. Most docks I see P & D or even some sysco delivering to aren't big like a Distribution center where you can set yourself up for a straight back. Often times they're doing a 45 or 90 off a busy street, and particularly downtown, people do not want to wait for you and will squeeze behind you as your backing up. I wanted to elaborate on the P &D just briefly from what I've seen as I don't want someone reading this to think that will be an easier route fresh out of school. I still believe getting OTR experience will be very beneficial if you choose to do any local type of work.

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.

P & D:

Pickup & Delivery

Local drivers that stay around their area, usually within 100 mile radius of a terminal, picking up and delivering loads.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers for instance will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Friday went great! I had 17 stops, only 522 cases, 12k weight and 42 miles. I ended up finishing half hour ahead of schedule despite sitting and waiting for an hour at my 7th stop. I was an hour ahead by 6am (with a 330am start time)because the BBQ place has so many cases and they come off so smoothly. Had 2 customers that were an off day delivery Including the 1 I sat at. The other one was scheduled for 8am but knowing that they're a hot dog I doubted anyone would be there before 10 or 1030. I text the salesman asking him what time they show up since my paperwork doesn't show time windows when It's not their usual delivery day. I also let him know I skipped them but would get them before lunch. He told me 10am, so had I not made a decision on my own I would've sat there for 2 hours. Other than that nothing changed, a few customers were very happy to see me because with having fill in drivers covering them their delivery time fluctuates greatly, not to mention the other guys have to ask them where everything goes. That gets bothersome when the customer is trying to tend to their customers but still babysit the driver. They've had atleast 6 different drivers cover this route in the 2 months the other guy has been off. I'm glad I switched until he comes back, actually only put in 10 hours today. Much better than when I had to use my extension running the other route I had. Unfortunately my brake handle to help slow me down coming down the ramp broke at my first stop so I had to physically pull back as coming down to prevent getting too much speed coming down. Man am I thankful I got brakes. I informed my boss to send me a new one out with my Monday truck. If they forget I'll grab "mikes " wheeler that he was using so that i have brakes. Total hours paid for the week is just over 59. I will end up with gross pay for the week about $1700.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

While browsing the other section of the forum today I came across a post where one of our moderators, Rainy D. Had posted some of her paystubs. One of them in particular showed that she is making the same amount of money that I am being a solo driver OTR driver because she's proven herself to be a top tier driver. She doesn't have to deal with the physical unloading. That is why I keep stressing so much NOT to go into food service strictly for the pay. I've done warehouse work for quite a bit so I'm used to the physicality, plus I was aware of what I was getting into. I still get off work most days and feel sore.

Rainy lays out some numbers

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.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Monday I had a couple additional stops on my route as another driver had a stop order much more than normal. To be able to deliver to all our customers at a reasonable time they turned most of my pallets sideways, allowing them to load 2 more pallets than normal on me. I had 723 cases, 18k to unload, and logged 83 miles. I had been to the 2 stops I had added onto me while in training, but because I hadn't been there in about 7 months I plugged the address in to Google maps so I could see the satellite view. I knew where the locations were but wanted to see the layout before I arrived, especially as I'd get there in the middle of lunch and getting into a bad situation. I ended up putting in 13.5 hours. Tuesday was the same as usual, 747 cases, 17k to unload and logged 129 miles. My Tuesday route takes me out east to Newton and Knoxville Iowa, then to Ankeny, which is just north of Des Moines. Typically i finish my out of town stops (Newton and knoxville) then log my lunch on my way out. There's a hardware store just off the highway that has a large dirt lot for truck parking that I use. That way I am out of my customers way and there's multiple options nearby if I'm hungry for lunch. When I finished my last stop in Knoxville I seen that I still had 1:15 remaining on my clock until I was required to take my 30 minute break. Knowing that the last couple weeks my first stop in Ankeny has been out of something I opted to make a dash out to Ankeny and take my lunch in their lot. I arrived at my stop with 20 minutes remaining before my break, at 11:30am. They had a sign in their door informing customers that they were out of their cauliflower pizza crusts (sounds very odd, but many people have told me theyre delicious) until tomorrow. I immediately went in with my paperwork and then brought them what they needed first to help ensure their customers were happy. I ended up taking my lunch right after i got them unloaded and I ended up limping the truck 100 feet to where vacant business is in the strip mall so I was out of the way. I was required to take my break before I could legally drive, so I wanted to minimize the space I moved so my ELOGS wouldn't switch me to driving and put me in violation, yet still be out of the way. I ended up putting in 13 hours. Here is an example of how positioning the truck while unloading saves time and effort. This stop has a gravel parking lot that sucks pushing a loaded wheeler through! I always unload my frozen first because then I jackknife so I can position the trailer like this......

0638382001524063666.jpg I place my ramp on the concrete slab which makes my job alot easier. Even though I come here every week I still G.O.A.L. every time. I usually stop a few feet shorter than I need to in order to get out, and assess the position I'm in to ensure I won't hit the part of the roof that sticks out, and to see if my ramp will clear the support beams for the roof, as well as clear the railroad ties they have on the ground. I'd much rather take the extra minute to get out, than take an extra hour dealing with an incident report and having an upset customer because I damaged their property. One other thing I want to make a mention of is how sometimes the warehouse doesn't stack the pallets as well as I'd like. For instance......

0694708001524063966.jpg despite the pallet being strapped in, my cooler pallet (left) is leaning pretty good. This requires me to be even more careful as I try to separate it. I need to downstack nearly the entire pallet because if I don't I will likely have a big mess by the time i get to my next stop. This is another safety hazard of this job. With all that weight, if it were to come down on you, you would surely get injured. If the pallet starts to come down the best thing to do is step back. When I was with Sysco one of our warehouse guys missed several months of work with a back injury from trying to catch falling product when his pallet began to tip. In this case I was fortunate enough to not have my pallet tip over, or have anything break. Today (wednesday)I am home. My wife had something she needed to do that would take almost a few hours so instead of dragging the 2 kids with and causing her additional stress I told her I'd take the day off. I had contacted my manager on Monday letting him know that I'd be "calling in"one day this week, and asked what day works best for them schedule wise for me to miss work. I'm grateful for how they've helped me and I don't want to screw them over. Wednesday is technically my day off but with us being short staffed I've been working 5 days so he told me Wednesday is best. In the 8 months I've been doing this I've gotten much better with unloading process. I'm finishing most routes 45 minutes to an hour ahead of schedule. The only downside is that I'm getting a heavier workload thrown on me because I've demonstrated I can handle it. It all works out ok though, the more hours i put in the more money i make.

Elog:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

Elogs:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Retired Army (soon)'s Comment
member avatar

I know these posts take time. I am not going into your line of work, with my military related injuries all that stuff would cause me significant pain. BUT, I do read your diary daily and enjoy you sharing.

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