Schneider’s Maintenance Driver Ambassadors make transitioning to a new truck effortless
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Throughout our continual efforts to improve the driver experience, we've found many of the reoccurring obstacles drivers face relate back to the process of getting a new company truck.
A group of Schneider shop managers put their heads together to come up with a way to make the experience of transitioning to a new truck memorable and positive for company drivers – bringing to life Maintenance Driver Ambassadors.
What does a Maintenance Driver Ambassador do?
Schneider’s Maintenance Driver Ambassadors are master diesel technicians who use their knowledge of our fleet equipment to help ease the transition to a new truck by:
- Performing a quality inspection to ensure the truck is clean, free of defects and stocked with emergency supplies.
- Making sure the driver is comfortable with and knows how to use all the new technology the truck is spec'd with.
Each Schneider maintenance shop has one or two designated Maintenance Driver Ambassadors.
Schneider shop manager Darrell Godier – who led the program's creation – said choosing the right technicians to fill the Ambassador roles comes down to a few key qualities:
“We look for somebody that’s personable, has good communication skills and is aligned with Schneider’s core values – but most importantly, they need to have a thorough understanding of the equipment," he said.
Meeting with a Maintenance Driver Ambassador
Similar to buying a new car, when a driver gets a new truck, they meet one-on-one with a Maintenance Driver Ambassador in a designated truck staging area at a Schneider facility.
Here, the Ambassador will walk the driver through some of the features of their new truck and how to use them. This is also the driver’s opportunity to ask any equipment-related questions they might have.
Some items typically covered in the truck walkthrough include:
- How to use the dashboard controls and gauges.
- Where to find all the components in the pre-trip inspection.
- How to operate features in the sleeper (e.g., optimized idle, bunk heater, A/C).
- Where to find emergency supplies (e.g., fire extinguishers, warning triangles, spare parts).
Before hitting the road, a driver will receive a handout that's specific to their truck model and contains all the information covered in the walkthrough. After a recent update, each handout now includes a QR code that links to a huge library of Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) truck training videos.
Drivers are also given a direct phone number to the service advisor counter, which they can call if they have any questions about the truck in the future.
“Maybe you forgot how to turn your bunk heater, or maybe you've got a fault code,” Darrell said. “You can call us with all those five-, 10- or 15-minute questions – no hotlines, no dashboards. We may be able to spare you a call to call emergency maintenance.”
Seeing a positive response from drivers
Since the program launched in April 2021, feedback from drivers who have met with a Maintenance Driver Ambassador has been positive.
"The real win of it is the drivers love it," Darrell said. "This gives them a way to get all the questions they have addressed before they go out for their first drive. Most drivers are very appreciative."
Here's what some of those drivers had to say:
"When I was with my trainer, they had the same style of truck but not as new as this one. My Ambassador showed me how to operate things under the hood, all the buttons and the features inside the truck. If he hadn't shown me, I wouldn't have known that they were all there." - Christopher Mcdowell
“My ambassador was knowledgeable, articulate and driver-friendly. He did a great job of showing and demonstrating the features of my 2021 Cascadia.” - Robert Kidd
"There were several things my new truck has that the older one didn't have, like LED lights and optimized idle. My meeting with my Ambassador was really helpful. He did a good job showing me all the features on the new truck." - Joseph Gillespie
Darrell said the truck walkthrough has proved especially helpful for inexperienced drivers.
“When they go out with there, a lot of times they're staying in a hotel, so they haven't had any experience with how to operate a bunk heater or their APU,” he said. “We spend five to 10 minutes activating it, letting them activate it and making sure they know how to use it. That’s really one of the big wins of the program.”
Other ways Schneider’s maintenance team keeps Schneider drivers moving
On top of the Maintenance Driver Ambassador program, Schneider offers a vast maintenance network to ensure trucks are available and running smoothly. That means less time in the shop waiting on repairs and more time on the road.
Some of Schneider’s maintenance highlights include:
- 30 service sites.
- 99% tractor availability.
- 98% trailer availability.
- A fleet of 60 service trucks.
Plus, Schneider drivers can always reach someone if a maintenance breakdown occurs. Our 24/7 emergency maintenance line is staffed with diesel technicians who work with fleet trucks and equipment every day. Drivers can even request service from their company-provided tablet without having to call in.
See other ways Schneider is improving the driver experience
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