I always tell my team: ”Remember how we make our money and who makes it — the drivers.” To do is to understand. Improvement can come when you understand.
My First Driver Ride-Along
In October of 1996, I took my first multi-day road trip with one of my drivers. Tom Brauer and I shared a dog-house cab-over for three days while Tom delivered loads between the Toronto, Canada area and locations in Wisconsin and West Virginia.
It was my first time in a truck and I learned more about the job that Tom did than I ever could from my computer and my phone. The experience helped me become a more experienced and effective Service Team Leader (now called DBL, or Driver Business Leader).
My Second Driver Ride-Along, With a 22-Year Veteran
In early May of this year, I took my second multi-day road trip in my time at Schneider. This time it was with Doug Huber (right in the above photo) in his 2016 Freightliner Cascadia. Doug has been with the company for 22 years. He and his wife live on Fontana, Calif. He is managed out of our new Phoenix facility.
Doug and I picked up a load of potato chips in Vancouver, Wash., and delivered them to Frito Lay in Boise, Idaho, that same day. Doug and I then shut down for the night at the Pilot Flying J in Nampa, Idaho. The next morning we picked up a load of brown sugar in Nyssa, Ore., and relayed it back to our Portland facility. All told, Doug and I were together for roughly 36 hours.
Those 36 hours proved to be as important in my understanding of the job our drivers do as the first road trip was in 1996. I re-learned how tough a driver’s job is and how much goes into getting a load from point “A” to point “B” on-time and safe.
Doug is the consummate professional. He was kind enough to answer all of my questions about the job, the lifestyle, what worked and what didn’t. Over those 36 hours and roughly 870 miles, I saw and felt what it takes to back into a tight parking spot, crank dolly legs, navigate the Cabbage Pass safely, clean out a trailer and move a heavy load while still maintaining an MPG (miles per gallon) of 7.9. I also got to play with the new tablet. Hint: It’s awesome!
Thank You, Drivers!
Thank you, Doug, for educating me and putting up with me, taking twice as long doing everything you normally do. Thank you to all our drivers for the hard work you put in day-in and day-out making this company great. Without you, our drivers, we would not be successful.