Local Food Service As A Rookie

Topic 20873 | Page 7

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Rob T.'s Comment
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I’d be more embarrassed to damage something. Anyone laughing at you for GOALing 20ish times is more than welcome to show you how it’s done. Haha.

Regarding the filling in, it sucks but imagine how cruddy that sick driver is feeling. He’s not only sick but probably feels bad someone has to cover his route. And those customers that expect you to do the little extras he normally does should understand you’re not him. Just like you have to adapt to his route and customers, they need to adapt to you. Just do your thing.

I definitely would be much more embarrassed hitting something. Despite how irritated I was with myself, I had to turn that frustration into motivation to get it out. This experience is definitely just another step of the steep learning curve that's always talked about here that new drivers face.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

What a **** show of a day! This morning when I left my house at 330am it was 44 degrees and raining all night. At 5am it was 26 degrees and everything was a skating rink! Freezing rain was falling, and i seen numerous cars spin out due to driving too fast for conditions. I was probably the most frustrated today with everything than I've been since I started delivering mid august. It seemed like a nonstop battle having to increase my following distance because even though everything was ice 4 wheelers decided to keep cutting me off!! On top of that, several customers closed for the day, or weren't open for lunch. Either the customer didn't inform the salesman or they neglected to tell me, either way I was very upset. I was scheduled to be done about 130, putting in roughly a 9 hour day. That ended up being about a 12 hour day because of having to wait around. I know complaining about sitting for 2 hours is pity, especially considering how long OTR drivers usually sit at a customer. But I still hate it. Alright! Now that I got that off my chest, today was a rather easy day unloading wise. 500 cases, 13k pounds 150 miles. I had to deliver to that business I referenced in a previous post that I had to back into from the street requiring a 90 on a narrow road. I was unable to back it in there today because my truck was just sliding and making trailer go places I didn't want it to. I attempted it twice and decided to deliver from the street. I'd much rather have it in there because then it's only a few feet from the door, however I'd rather deal with walking an extra 100 feet per load (had 70 cases, made 8 trips with dolly) than end up sliding into the building or their company vehicles.

The other stop worth mentioning I had to pull my ramp out all the way and create a bridge. (See picture)

0093822001515709446.jpg I usually deal with going up the steps to the left side of picture but I wasn't going to even try with how icy they were. The ramp is probably 100 pounds but with it being so long it's hard to lift. I had to pull it completely out, then lift the front from the ground up to the spot that it locks into on trailer floor. The bar underneath ramp is hydraulic that helps lift it up a little easier when using it as intended, but when i do it the way I did it just gets in the way. The reason we can't just use the liftgate that my ramp goes over is because (THIS IS MY PERSONAL OPINION) that the owner of this place is too cheap to fix it. It's been broken since before I went there before I went to school in mid July. He probably hasn't fixed it because it doesn't benefit him any.

Got done with work about 430pm, got a 330am start time tomorrow. Yippee! Bright side is already have 7 hours of OT, plus likely 12 hours tomorrow of OT.

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.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Today I experienced another "first". I was scheduled to do the Omaha run with a 330am start time. Biggest problem is that I've been told clock in at time you're scheduled, regardless if my trailer is there. If I was in town all day that wouldn't be a problem. I was scheduled to leave my last stop in Lincoln NE at my 12 hour mark, and with a 3 to 3.5 hour drive back ahead of me I knew it was going to be very close. I left the yard an hour late because the shuttle guy had to drive slower due to icy roads, and then it took me an extra 45 minutes or so to get out to Omaha due to similar conditions. I'd seen 3 trucks in the median jack knifed, only thing that stopped them from crossing into oncoming traffic was the steep cables in the median. Some jack ass got on the CB running his mouth cuz I wasn't going fast enough for him, oh well, that's his problem not mine. I hustled all day and ended up making up time. I contacted one of my supervisors later in the day to see what the plan was. Our options were for me to stay the night out in the Omaha area, or to use my 16 hour exception and get as close as possible before I ran out of time and have the shuttle guys "rescue" me. They would get in a truck and come meet me and one would jump in my truck and help me get back to the yard. I don't like getting too in detail with the 16 hour rule because for many new drivers it gets confusing, and you likely aren't eligible for it. Simplified, to be eligible you MUST have started and ended your day from same location for the previous 7 days, and you MUST report to starting point the day you use it. When I talked to my boss he really wanted me to get back to the yard tonight to avoid having to rent a truck for tomorrow, as well as having an extra trailer in our yard. When I was at my 2nd to last stop in Lincoln he called me to tell me just get a room. He didn't want the shuttle drivers to get started late and end up causing our customers to be unhappy.

After I finished my last stop in downtown Lincoln I had roughly 1:20 left on my 14. I had called a hotel I seen on my way out to inquire about a room and they told me no truck parking. I recalled seeing a ton of trucks parked in Council Bluffs Iowa just off the interstate so I decided to head that way. I remember there being 2 casino's in that area and nearly every casino seems to have truck parking. I found a place to park and got myself a hotel (will be reimbursed, and given $50 meal per diem for staying overnight). I had about 15 minutes left on my 14 by the time i got parked. Biggest problem I had was trying to figure out where I could sleep for the night, as I haven't been faced with this situation before, and I drive a daycab so its not like i can just crawl into the sleeper. I think IF everything went right I could've made it 10 miles from the yard. Shuttle guys left at 5pm and I would've gotten back around 8pm. Since there wouldn't be anybody to pick me up I'd be in violation so I 'm glad I stopped when I did. Besides the road conditions slowing me down I had to deliver the first order to a chain account that just opened a new store. 132 cases for them and I had to back in between a bunch of parked cars in a busy strip mall. I had to block cars in in order to deliver most efficiently and unfortunately I had to move the truck 2 times to allow vehicles out that were blocked. Also, the address said it was xx street North, when the real address was the same, except "South". That took 20 minutes sorting that out which also contributed to me not making it home. Overall, I was loaded 666 cases (yes, it was a load from hell), 17k pounds, 14.5 hours (so far, I'll Put in about 4 tomorrow but get paid for 6), and probably close to 430 miles. On the bright side once I get back tomorrow I'm off the rest of the day as I typically am off Tuesdays.

Interstate:

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

Per Diem:

Getting paid per diem means getting a portion of your salary paid to you without taxes taken out. It's technically classified as a meal and expense reimbursement.

Truck drivers and others who travel for a living get large tax deductions for meal expenses. The Government set up per diem pay as a way to reimburse some of the taxes you pay with each paycheck instead of making you wait until tax filing season.

Getting per diem pay means a driver will get a larger paycheck each week but a smaller tax return at tax time.

We have a ton of information on our wiki page on per diem pay

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Not too much from the normal has been going on, same stuff different day. Today was a rather easy day. Only 9 stops all in town. 432 cases, 10k pounds. Only 9 hours. I was actually only scheduled for about 8 but I ended up having to sit and wait for an hour and half for customer to show up. Just wanted to post this to show that the hours aren't always 12-14 hours, however a majority of them are. Gotta take advantage of the shorter days.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Once again I got sent on the run to Omaha/Lincoln and again, I'm stuck in a hotel for the night. When I left Des Moines this morning temp was 44 at 330am and raining, i got about 15 miles east of council bluffs and everything was ice. The it was a mixture of freezing rain and snow and caused everything to be a sheet of ice with a nasty slushy mix on top. I had informed my supervisor last Friday of the forecast for today and was told just roll with it and keep him informed. I had 6 stops in Omaha, and 2 in Lincoln. Due to the weather conditions I delivered the 6 stops in Omaha (which took about 11 hours including drive time to omaha). I already knew I wouldn't make it back to Des Moines tonight because i was scheduled a 15 1/2 hour day in perfect conditions. Because I didn't make it back last Monday I was ineligible to use my 16 hour exception, as well as the conditions not allowing me to make it make to Des Moines as I'm required to start and end day at same place. Before heading out to Lincoln I checked the Nebraska DOT road condition map and seen they were reporting roads completely covered in snow and ice, as well as radio talking about blizzard warnings out that way I decided to come back to hotel i stayed at last week in Council bluffs. After I got checked into my room and started watching the news they were talking about over a dozen semis jack knifed in ditch, several spin outs, and that if you travel that stretch they will not be able to assist you as it's too dangerous. Wind is sustained 30 mph with 55 mph gusts. I started my day with 600 cases, 16k pounds. I'd estimate right now I have probably 6k still in my trailer. I cant imagine taking such little weight into blizzard conditions. I believe I had enough hours to make it to Lincoln but my stops there require me to unload from the street downtown, and there obviously isn't any truck friendly hotels downtown, and I wasn't about to take such low weight into that storm. Morning commute is supposed to be slushy and icy so I'll probably head out just before rush hour to try and avoid traffic. My first stop won't be there until 9am, and my 2nd (last stop) I have a key for. I'll likely move the cases for my first stop and unload the last stop first so I can make it back home earlier. Its not very efficient but i usually start my Wednesdays around 4am so I really don't want to risk starting too late tomorrow and have to push my start times back later the rest of the week.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

I figured I'd give an update on how things are going since I've been driving just under 6 months now, and have been "solo" for roughly 3 months. I still encourage those interested in this sector of trucking to begin their career OTR , although many drivers do indeed obtain their CDL through these food/beverage distributors and begin straight out of school. Some even skip sending you to school and train you for your license on their own. I do not recommend that, as if your let go from that job many companies will still want to see proof you attended an accredited school for insurance purposes. I feel starting OTR will give you major advantage as your likely more comfortable with backing as well as able to maneuver your truck in ways that even some experienced drivers struggle with. With that being said I am very satisfied with how my skills have progressed, and look forward to continuing to improve. If you ever feel like you aren't learning something new, or getting too comfortable PLEASE hang the keys up because your becoming a hazard to everyone else on the road. Things are constantly changing and require you to adapt to be as safe, and productive as possible. Since my training ended I've been on my own with the exception of Wednesdays, as Wednesday we had 4 drivers but only 3 routes. They paired me and another driver together because the route I was on also had 300ish miles of driving, but only 400 cases. They wanted to be sure in the event of unforeseen circumstances that the route could still be completed. We recently had a driver who came to work for PFG from US Foods, who started just before I returned from school, leave the company to go back to US Foods. He was told me he was making the same amount of money working 5 days there, as he was working 4 with us. One of his reasons for leaving was that he was accustomed to the way US Foods did things as he spent 2 years there. Thats not to say one of these companies is better than the other, they just have different ideas and ways of doing things. His biggest complaint was when they "built" the truck (created truck layout instructing loaders where to place each pallet) they dont do enough to get us to the bulkhead , allowing us to take The frozen out the back end rather than using the steps to take it out of our side door. He felt they should put most of the weight/pallets on one side of the trailer. They did move maybe 1 pallet to other side of trailer to get us to it faster but he still complained. They couldn't move too much because with the shuttle driver driving a set of doubles with each trailer containing 13-20k 170 miles across I80 you really do not want to risk him tipping over. Anyways, enough about that. With him leaving we had to "re bid " our routes, of course I'm lowest on seniority list so I don't have a choice in What routes I have. Only route I know for sure I'm running is the monday downtown route. I've been running out to Omaha and Lincoln on Mondays but with the weather causing me to have unplanned layovers, as well as picking up more customers they've decided to run it out of the terminal as a planned layover, as they can run a 48 footer out that way and have extra trucks to avoid renting a truck like we have to do in Des Moines if I don't make it back. My new scheduled Monday Tuesday Thursday Friday, off Wednesday Saturday Sunday. I would've preferred to work 5 days but they rearranged trucks and although we're down 1 guy they've only got 1 guy working 5 days and he has seniority over me. I'll likely be facing new challenges as I try to find where I'm going, as well as how to maneuver into the ideal spot to deliver from.

In my 6 months (just under) my opinions about this company is still relatively good. I do sometimes dislike management is 170 miles away and the only communication I have with them is a phone call or text message, I'd sometimes prefer to just drop in and talk rather than a text but at the same time I like feeling like I don't have somebody breathing down my neck. I do not have any gripes about the drive cam in its current operation where its always recording but only saves if an event triggers it. I heard from a sysco driver (i haven't verified validity of it) that ran out of Lincoln NE while I was in Omaha 2 weeks ago that Sysco was beginning to roll out new drive cams that allowed the company access to view real time video of what the driver is doing. That plan is supposedly on hold because there was a class action lawsuit at a sysco house in Canada that Sysco lost and had to remove them in Canada. I have mixed feelings about that but feel the company has every right as we are after all in their equipment and are representing their brand. Honestly, the only negative I can think of with working for Performance Foods is that the only time I receive a phone call from my supervisor or manager I'm usually in trouble for something. It's never to ask how things are going or how we can improve practices and safety, which is odd because in my interview I was told they call us atleast once every other week to check in and see how things are going. My driving has definitely improved and only time in the past month I've tripped the drive cam has only been because bumpy roads. overall I'm happy with PFG but there are things I wish they would change, but they have reasons for the way it's done and no matter where I would go they're likely to have things i dislike, no job is perfect

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

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.

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

I've been fortunate to not have had any accidents or incidents. I've had a couple close calls that performing a G.O.A.L. has definitely saved my rear. As I've stated before, I'm not sure what the future holds for me, but for the next 6 months I will be with PFG, fulfilling my contract and then my wife and I will sit down and see what's next. Maybe I stick with them, or maybe I go elsewhere. Right now I'm focused on keeping my safety record, and keeping my CSA in good standing.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

Simon D. (Grandpa)'s Comment
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smile.gif

Great read, as ever! 👍

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

I got thinking that on this forum it's frequently talked about some of the places that local drivers are required to get to in order to deliver but there aren't too many visual examples. Here is the satellite view of a place I've delivered to twice

0953424001517766892.jpg The green line indicates the path of travel that I took, with the red X indicating the general area the door was I needed to get to. The parking lot was pretty full which made getting in even more difficult. This was difficult even with a 28 foot trailer, having to keep looking at all my mirrors, as well as watching what's going on in front of me, and trying to be sure nobody was pulling out in front of me. The coffee shop we deliver to inside only got 10 cases so I had already placed their product on the tail of trailer to minimize the amount of time I was preventing people from leaving.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Today was my first day running the new set of routes. I was supposed to work yesterday but dealt with the flu all weekend and felt that since I still wasn't feeling too hot, and dealing with food it was best i called in to prevent spreading it. Apparently it was a good day to miss, we picked up about 4 inches of snow. Des Moines hasn't seen a single snowfall over 3 inches in 770 days (Dec. 28 2015). It definitely showed. Just north near Ames there was a 60 car pileup involving atleast 12 trucks. Unfortunately 1 person died. East, and west of the metro area also seen pileups of atleast 20 vehicles. Also, the truck I would've been in broke down. I feel guilty for missing work, but felt it was in everybody's best interest even though I'm not too happy losing out on the money.

Anyways, today wasn't too terribly bad. The worst thing is most roads are still pretty icy. I had to go 30 miles east for my first few stops. I will never understand why people tailgate each other (trucks included) ESPECIALLY when the interstate is a sheet of ice and we're doing 45. I lucked out, since I've delivered to most of the stops I went to today. Overall day was 525 cases, 17 stops, 14k to unload, 150 miles. I was scheduled to finish in 12 hours but due to the weather it was closer to 13. I'm happy with that, SAFETY comes first. One of my stops had me scheduled to be there at 8am, but they don't show up until 10. I could have sat on the clock and got paid for those 2 hours but instead I skipped them and did the other 4 stops nearby, then came back. I also sent a text to our router asking him to redo the routing so in the future I don't need to work around the 60 cases I skipped. It's very inefficient to be moving cases multiple times. There will be times like that where you have to take The initiative to improve things, and make your own choice. The office staff isn't out here doing it and simply don't understand a lot of what we go through, that is why COMMUNICATION is important.

Interstate:

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

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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