Sharing the secrets of a Best Fleet to Drive For
TORONTO, Ont. — What does a Best Fleet to Drive For look like? Mark Murrell, president of CarriersEdge and founder of the TCA/CarriersEdge Best Fleets to Drive For program presented some key findings at the recent Transportation Workshop hosted by Motortruck Fleet Executive and Dan Goodwill & Associates.
Born in the summer of 2008, the Best Fleets contest is open to any US or Canadian for-hire carrier with 10 trucks or more. They must be nominated by at least one driver or owner/operator and are then evaluated on a wide range of criteria.
In 2010, the Best Fleet for Company Drivers was Fremont Contract Carriers (FCC) of Fremont, Nebraska while Paramount Freight Systems was identified as the Best Fleet for Owner/Operators.
Murrell, who is currently on a cross-country tour to promote the best practices of Best Fleet winners, gave some examples of why FCC won this year’s edition for company drivers.
Fremont, Murrell explained, has a profit-sharing program for drivers as well as a bonus structure that rewards a job well done while disincentivizing bad behaviour. When drivers have reached the 30,000-mile mark in any quarter, they get an extra cent per mile on all those miles for: running safely, delivering on time without customer complaints, having fewer than 8% out-of-route miles and purchasing 90% of their fuel from the recommended network. In total, that’s a four cent per mile bonus, or about $1,200 per quarter based on 30,000 miles, Murrell explained.
Moreover, FCC company drivers earn an average of $51,350 per year, so the bonus program doesn’t break the carrier’s bank. In interviews, most drivers said while FCC doesn’t offer the best pay, they offer steady miles and treat drivers fairly.
Comments like ‘I get paid okay, (other) companies pay a lot better but run you too hard or may not have the miles,’ indicate that drivers enjoy working at FCC for reasons beyond the pay package, Murrell noted.
“FCC came up with a compensation program that pays people for doing what they’re supposed to be doing and disincentivizes them from doing what they’re not supposed to be doing and it is only costing them $50,000 a year. That’s a really well put together program,” Murrell said.
Other programs that earned FCC the distinction of being the Best Fleet to Drive For, included a multi-stage review program for new hires. Drivers are interviewed 10, 30 and 90 days after they’re hired to ensure they are doing well and that the carrier is a good fit for them, Murrell explained. Before they’re even handed the keys, potential recruits are told honestly about the lanes Fremont runs to ensure they’re compatible with the lifestyle the driver is seeking.
“There are multiple touch points during that ramp-up time to ensure any problems get resolved,” he said.
Another key to FCC’s success is promising fast response time to driver inquiries.
“One of the biggest things we hear from drivers is they don’t like calling in a question and not knowing if they’re ever going to hear back,” Murrell said. Fremont guarantees any questions will be answered within 30 minutes.
The carrier also hosts monthly safety seminars, which are based on timely topics gleaned from engine ECM downloads.
“They notice trends such as hard braking, idle-time, fuel usage, etc. and figure out the one that’s the biggest problem and make that the focus of their monthly safety seminar so it’s timely and topical for drivers,” Murrell said.
Fremont has also taken an interest in its drivers’ health, and introduced a Biggest Loser competition that rewarded the drivers who were able to best improve their overall health through weight loss.
The remaining dates on the Best Fleets to Drive For seminar series, which is sponsored by Marsh Canada and Truck News, include: Edmonton, June 1; London, Ont., June 7; Mississauga, Ont., June 8; Moncton, N.B., June 9; Kitchener, Ont., June 14; Ottawa, Ont., June 16; and Windsor, Ont., June 21. The free, half-day seminars delve into much more detail about the best practices of the Best Fleets to Drive For. To register, call Judi at 905-530-2430. You can also register online at www.BestFleetsToDriveFor.com.
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