Staying Relevant In A Competitive Environment

Topic 26909 | Page 1

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Old School's Comment
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Trucking is very competitive. In any competitive environment you've got to take every advantage to keep yourself at the top. You're always measured and scrutinized, and there are others who will manage to position themselves ahead of you once you slack off. A lot of people ignore this fact and let their trucking career go stale. They end up constantly moving from one company to the next because they can't get enough miles, they can't make enough money, or they just don't think they are getting the respect they deserve.

We see it all the time. Sometimes we try to coach people concerning these things right here in our forum. They just don't realize how critical it is to their success that they consistently prove themselves capable of really getting things accomplished out here. Only a relentless pursuit of improving your performance out here will keep you in favor with the rest of your team (Planners, Managers, Dispatchers). Everybody's performance is measured in trucking. Your performance as a driver has direct results on the merits of the people who have the ability to either help you or hinder you. When you continually and flawlessly make them look good to their superiors they will just about do anything for you. That's just how it works. As drivers, we are individuals, but we are part of a team.

I saw an opportunity this week that I could take advantage of. I got myself emptied out on an already challenging multi-stop load a full day ahead of schedule. I worked the phone, moved my appointments and drove straight through two nights to make it happen.

Some may wonder why I'm driven to make such sacrifices when it would be perfectly acceptable to deliver the load as scheduled. Of course the answer is because it sets me up to be put on another load quicker. That's how you increase your pay - you simply focus on being more productive. You don't need to ask for an extra .03/mile. You just need to show the team that when they give you the ball, they can expect you to score. It's a simple concept, but it requires diligence and flawless execution.

I never leave out with a load without having already sent my dispatcher an ETA, and a PTA. He knows ahead of time when I'll be ready for the next load, and therefore he gets something hooked up for me. He knows my numbers will make him look good at the end of the month. Most of the time I'll change the appointments and get myself ahead of schedule. That's how you make money at this. You create your own destiny. You never let others determine your productivity levels.

After five years of working with my same dispatcher, he knows me well. He keeps me booked up and it's gotten consistently harder to impress him. He expects a lot from me, so he keeps me scheduled really tight. When I left out on this particular load this week, I sent him my PTA before I left, and he questioned me. He said, "Dale, nobody's ever been able to run that load like that. Are you sure you can do that? I'm not going to change my info to the planner, but if you get it done, we will probably just bring you back empty." My response was, "Have I ever given you reason to doubt me?" He simply said, "Not until now." He added an emoji so I knew it was a lighthearted remark.

Here's a screenshot of his comments after I reported I was empty. It's a high compliment as far as I'm concerned.

0092165001572450033.jpg

I just wanted to lay this out for you guys. It's sometimes hard to describe the competitive nature of this job. In fact, many go through this career never realizing how much they could be improving their bottom line by being competitive and taking the initiative to be more productive. I'm hoping this little illustration will give some of you some insight into the mystery of excelling at this career.

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.
Army 's Comment
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Nice Post. Its always great to hear how things are done and done correctly.

Rob T.'s Comment
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I'm starting to think you're not human old school! That's very impressive and definitely a great demonstration of how you continue to be a top tier driver and get the rockstar treatment that you do. It seems you're constantly over 3000 miles, how do you avoid getting burned out? Ideally, would you prefer hitting 70 and taking a reset or pacing yourself to run off recaps, assuming your loads were not dictating it?

Jay G.'s Comment
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Thank you Old School and to everyone else who shares excellent write ups like this. I wish I had more to add at the moment, so hopefully in the next couple of years Ill be able to "pay it back"

Old School's Comment
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It seems you're constantly over 3000 miles, how do you avoid getting burned out? Ideally, would you prefer hitting 70 and taking a reset or pacing yourself to run off recaps, assuming your loads were not dictating it?

Rob, I'm not sure which is more ideal. Actually, I consider that a driver's preference. My friend who lured me over to this account preferred running re-caps. He just didn't enjoy sitting for 34 hours. I'm quite opposite. I run re-caps at times, but this particular account lends itself to burning up your 70 and then doing a reset on the weekend.

I don't ever feel burned out. I enjoy setting goals and reaching them. I do that daily. It's like the thrill of the hunt for me. I enjoy the journey far more than the destination. I make sure I do things that I enjoy along the way. Last week I took a Friday night in a small town and went to the local 2A football game - I had a blast.

I mix it up quite a bit out here.

Bird-one's Comment
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"Only a relentless pursuit of improving your performance out here will keep you in favor with the rest of your team". A key point that an ability to be a relentless communicator. Learn that and you'll go far.

Amber L.'s Comment
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I love reading anything you write! Very motivational while being totally straight forward and realistic. My husband and I test tomorrow morning and I can hardly wait to start trying my hand at being an efficient and safe team! Thank you for all the insight and inspiration!

PJ's Comment
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Great write up OS. You certainly take alot of pride in what you do. Having the same DM for that long is a blessing and also not the norm in this business. It has been my experience DM’s move around within or outside of companies with regularity.

It is a very good example of how things can be once that trust is established between the driver and office staff.

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.
Bingo's Comment
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I'm still pretty new, and I get a bit of anxiety asking my dispatcher if I can deliver early all the time. I really hate to bug people and make more work for them, but I am always getting loads that I can deliver a lot earlier than the due date on them. Like the one I am on now. 4 days and a few hours for a 720 mile run. The miles I made at the end of the day today, plus a drive shift tomorrow will set me up nicely to deliver the following morning. I don't need those other two days, so I am going to have to ask again if I can deliver early or drop at a yard since it will be on a weekend.

Maybe they like me bugging them like that and I am anxious over nothing, lol.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Maybe they like me bugging them like that and I am anxious over nothing, lol.

They do. They want people who are ambitious. You're not bugging them, you're helping the company be more productive. Trust me, dispatchers spend too much of their time dealing with problem drivers who are lazy, unreliable, and unmotivated. They're thrilled with the drivers who want to turn a lot of miles.

With time, you'll learn to handle more of these things yourself and take the burden off dispatch. Company policy probably says you're not allowed to change appointment times yourself. At some point, you'll take a chance and start doing it anyhow. You'll make more money, give your customers better service, and take the burden off the people in the offices at the same time. That's the stuff you'll learn to do as you gain experience with your company and develop a stronger relationship with your dispatcher.

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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