Hitting the road

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EDMONTON, Alta. – After receiving rave reviews for two transportation management seminars delivered last year, Roy Craigen and TRANSCOM are taking their show on the road.

TRANSCOM is slated to deliver nine Transportation Management Seminars in May and June, hitting Vancouver, Halifax and most major centers in between. The seminars will target the owners and managers of fleets of all sizes.

“I’ve worked for companies as small as six employees and as high as 200 terminals and I think having a motivated staff, high standard of customer service and achieving operational excellence in cost control is very important whether you have one truck or 1,000,” says TRANSCOM founder Craigen.

The course offers a bold approach to training and managing drivers, operations and administrative staff.

“We’ve done this course in the past and it’s constantly being upgraded,” Craigen says. “It really touches a nerve and hits home for companies that are trying to maintain a high standard in trucking but wonder why their business practices aren’t making a difference.”

TRANSCOM’s full-day management seminar will explore a number of key areas fleet managers can hone in on to improve their carrier’s operation. Craigen will ask managers to ask themselves the following questions:

Are you spending too much

time putting out fires?

“I see ‘re-work’ as a major enemy of profit in trucking,” says Craigen. “So many people in trucking spend a lot of time re-doing work that wasn’t done right the first time.”

Mopping up after accidents, freight claims and environmental issues, processing workers’ compensation claims, tending to incorrect billing/payroll and fixing equipment that has been abused or neglected costs time and money that could be better spent, he says.

“We have created careers in trucking that amounted to nothing more than re-work of some kind or another,” Craigen says. The seminar will address ways of minimizing re-work and improving efficiency.

Is your organization struggling

to attract and retain

professional drivers?

“What are the honest reasons you are unable to hold onto your talent,” Craigen asks. “How much do you know about your maintenance team and administrative team’s ability to positively influence your professional driving team?

“Do you have a corporate initiative in place to develop a professional driving team or is an ad in the newspaper and a guy in a van at the truck stop the extent of that strategy?”

Craigen will discuss ideas on how to attract drivers to your fleet and keep the ones you have.

He says this involves evaluating your current business practices and taking the time to ask drivers to do so as well.

Does a morale problem exist

within your organization?

Craigen insists morale problems can stem from anyone within a trucking company; it’s not just a problem among drivers. And when one does infiltrate your company, it can spread like a disease.

“How much contribution has your administrative team made to the overall performance of the business outside their actual job description?” he asks. “What do your customers tell you? What is the coffee shop chatter up and down the highway about your business?”

Craigen will discuss how to determine whether a morale problem exists within your company and if so, what you can do to fix it. It’s a process that must incorporate staff at all levels, he says.

“You can have a negative individual on the maintenance team who will have a costly impact on your driving team,” he says, noting he worked with one carrier that had a maintenance staffer with a bad attitude who single-handedly chased away two or three drivers due to his negativity.

“If you hire a gal who can type 70 words per minute but can’t stand truck drivers, over time she will negatively influence the morale of your drivers,” Craigen says.

Are your customers asking

for better service?

“When was the last time you asked them?” says Craigen. “And what does your staff know about the level of satisfaction in your customer base?” Craigen will discuss simple and inexpensive ways of enhancing the level of customer service your fleet provides which will give your company a competitive advantage and the ability to advance pricing.

Are accidents and compensation costs affecting profitability?

“If you look at your 2005 budget, what have you already agreed to spend?” asks Craigen. “Is it reasonable, or did you simply get comfortable in accommodating waste?”

Craigen encourages fleet managers to determine which way their cost indicators are headed.

“Are you getting better or worse? And who’s taking responsibility to drive down those expenses?”

Are your operational managers and dispatchers equipped with the tools they need?

“Are you confident you have the bench strength to protect yourself from the liability issues of the laws of the land?” Craigen asks.

He says it’s crucial to give managers the freedom and the tools to develop and motivate the driving team, influence morale inside the office and on the highway and enhance customer service.

“Have they been trained on effective discipline practices for the driver group? Can they effectively discipline a senior driver?”

The seminar isn’t all about questions – it provides plenty of answers too. After identifying the answers to the above questions, Craigen says fleets are then able to take proactive steps to implement solutions.

“It boils down to taking a completely different approach to running a trucking operation,” he says. “It takes a dedicated effort to start a different culture. It takes a dedicated plan and the contribution of everyone inside the operation to make it work.

“We can’t expect an owner or president to do it on his or her own and we can’t expect a recruiter to be the salvation to providing our talent on the highway. It’s unfair to expect any one individual to make a corporate difference when it requires everyone in the company to understand what’s needed.”

TRANSCOM’s management training course was delivered in Edmonton and Toronto last year and Craigen received plenty of positive feedback.

“This seminar really opened my eyes to the needs of my company,” says one attendee. “I’m extremely excited with the new ideas that I will take back to my company.”

Another wrote: “Absolutely worthwhile! I’m so glad I made the time. It provided good value for the company. It exceeded our expectations and everyone can learn something from this including our customers.”

The seminar costs $285 and will include lunch and a detailed workbook that attendees can take back to the office with them as a source of reference.

The tour is being sponsored by Truck West and Marsh Canada Ltd. To enroll, contact TRANSCOM at 780-449-7200 or e-mail transcom@telus.net.

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