Overdrive Extra

Max Heine

Schneider raises the bar on applicants

| March 23, 2009

 Schneider National is taking a variety of measures, some different than their competitors’, to cope with the downturn. Last week at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., the VP for driver recruiting, Michael Hinz, reviewed Schneider’s latest developments with me and Linda Longton, the editorial chief for all our magazines here at Randall Reilly Publishing.

One big change is closing the door on inexperienced drivers, Hinz said. Unless you have six months’ fairly recent driving experience, forget about the nation’s largest truckload fleet. At least for now. When the economy rebounds, the company might loosen a bit on this, but the plan is not to return to the same level of taking on newbies.

“When you have an experienced driver base, they can make a contribution sooner,” Hinz said. Even though this transition was planned, he said, the economy helped. It’s no secret that the industry’s turnover problem has virtually gone away for now, given soft freight and the number of laid-off people looking for new lines of work.

Among other developments Hinz noted at Schneider:

• Pay is frozen for all employees. If you’re an owner-operator on percentage of revenue, that doesn’t affect you.

• The company plans no change in its owner-operator balance, now about 2,400 of its 14,000-driver workforce.

• Schneider is buying 1,200 new trucks this year, mostly Freightliners and Volvos.

• Starting at the beginning of March, freight volume has been up, though Hinz didn’t believe it necessarily indicated any definitive turnaround.

– Max Heine

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