A Tale Of Two Drivers

Topic 22872 | Page 1

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Old School's Comment
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Let's call them “Driver One,” and “Driver Two.”

They recently met up on a Sunday at the same shipper to pick up their respective loads. Driver One starts complaining to Driver Two about how his air conditioner just quit working in his truck and he can't get hold of their dispatcher because it's the weekend. He doesn't want to take his load because it is so hot. It is the first week of July, and Driver Two understands the dilemma. So, Driver Two offers a suggestion. They are leaving Louisiana and Driver One's first stop is in Charlotte, North Carolina. Their company has a terminal , directly in his route, in Atlanta, Georgia, and Driver Two recommends going ahead and taking the load, driving through the night on Sunday night, which will help minimize the heat effect in the truck, and stop at the terminal in Atlanta to get it fixed. Then Driver Two can communicate with dispatch and they can let the customer know that there is a slight delay due to a breakdown issue. Appointments can be rescheduled and every one should be satisfied.

Driver Two gets his load and goes on his way, hoping he has helped Driver One learn the little secrets of being productive out here on the road. Driver Two's load is in much the same freight lanes as Driver One, he has stops in

  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • New Bern, North Carolina
  • Landrum, South Carolina
  • West Columbia, South Carolina
  • Savannah, Georgia

A few days later as Driver Two sends in his empty call, his phone starts ringing. It is his dispatcher wanting him to deadhead to Gulfport, Mississippi and rescue a load that has been abandoned at the terminal there. Driver Two is more than happy to help out, but is a little flummoxed when he realizes this is Driver One's load that didn't belong anywhere near Gulfport, Mississippi. Driver One apparently made the executive decision to take the load to a terminal near his home, just in case there would be a delay with the repairs. Fortunately the terminal manager just assigned him another truck (temporarily) just to get the load delivered and then he could come back and be re-seated in his own truck. Unfortunately Driver One didn't seem to think the truck he was assigned was suitable so he went to his house to wait out the repairs.

Now Driver Two is stuck with a load that he doesn't have enough hours to run properly, and he explains to his dispatcher that he can make the first stop Thursday at 1300, but he will only have about two hours left on his 70 hour clock at that point, and it is four hours to the next stop. On top of that problem is the fact that he has zero hours coming back to him until Friday night at Midnight, so he is forced to take a 34 hour reset which throws him into the weekend and the customers are closed on the weekend. That will mean four days of sitting idle now because Driver One didn't take care of his business.

How do I know this tale is true? I am Driver Two!

Friends, take care of your business out here and don't leave your problems for another driver to figure out.

Oh, I forgot to tell you... this morning my tablet in my truck announced that my dispatcher had thrown me 300 dollars of x-pay on this load. Now, three hundred dollars isn't much for four days of work, but for four days of relaxing and doing whatever I want to do it's a pretty good deal.

The score is Driver One, zero and Driver Two one big fat paycheck!

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

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.

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.

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.
Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

Enjoy your extended weekend. Get some sightseeing in on your paid vacation.

One question though. Is each stop an unload? If so, why go to almost the northern most point and work backwards? Wouldn't it be far more productive to do Savannah, GA; west Columbia, SC; Landrum, SC; Charlotte, NC; then finish at New Bern, NC. I really don't see the reason for such a zig zag. Why go to Charlotte then to New Bern when Landrum is closer. Makes no sense in my mind.

Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

Addendum: If you have to finish in Savannah, GA then I would do West Columbia, Landrum, Charlotte, New Bern then shoot down to Savannah.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Patrick, our loads are sometimes loaded in order of priority, based on the customer's demands for delivery times. This dedicated account is kind of tricky at times. We have some very good customers who order a lot of material from SAPA, and they seem to think they have some leverage to get their materials when they want them. I can sometimes rearrange the order of things and shorten up the actual miles driven, yet still get paid for the way it was dispatched. It takes some communication with everyone on the load to make that happen, but it doesn't always work that way. We have a customer in Connecticut who demands that they be the first stop, it doesn't matter if it's 750 miles out of the way, we do it that way. Of course they are ordering about 200,000 dollars worth of product each week, so we do it the way they want!

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.

Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you for the explanation. It just bugs me, when I see terrible inefficiency. When I see a far more efficient way to accomplish things it begs me to ask "Why".

Old School's Comment
member avatar

I completely understand. I am constantly questioning my dispatcher about logistics on our loads. It sometimes drives me crazy, but I do what they want. If it were solely up to Knight Transportation, we'd be doing it differently, but SAPA pays them well to do it the way they request it.

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.

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.
Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

Wow. I guess driver one doesn't know how to be a team player and win. Sounds like driver one will always fail. Many of learn how to make the system within our companies work for us. Old School usually gets his way because he has worked hard, developed a great relationship with his dispatcher , knows his customers, and does what's needed to get the job done. This story is a great example of that.

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.
Big T's Comment
member avatar

And that folks is the difference between a top tier driver and a subpar driver.

Greg M.'s Comment
member avatar

The logistics on dedicated accounts can drive you nuts. For the last 5 weeks I have started my week with the same trip that I start tomorrow. Around 1 in the afternoon I will leave Cincinnati with an empty 53 footer and drive to near Tupelo, MS and take my 10 hour break. In the morning I make 3 pickups that are pretty close together and head home, getting back around 9PM. There have been times when all 3 pickups would fit into a pretty small box truck.

A lot of diesel burnt up hauling air.

I completely understand. I am constantly questioning my dispatcher about logistics on our loads. It sometimes drives me crazy, but I do what they want. If it were solely up to Knight Transportation, we'd be doing it differently, but SAPA pays them well to do it the way they request it.

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.

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.
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