Brad Holthaus, publisher
Excessive driver turnover has plagued the industry so long that it’s easy to forget it’s a life-and-death issue for some carriers. At the Partners in Business Retention Forum 2007, held in Dallas just before the Great American Trucking Show, Steve Bredigkeit said that when he was promoted to director of the Boyd Bros. owner-operator program in April 2006, the carrier had a high three-digit turnover rate. “That’s so bad, it’s staggering,” he said.
Bredigkeit presented steps Boyd took to bring owner-operator turnover to 68 percent, such as providing contractors with business tips and coordinating driver vacations with slow freight seasons. Those were but a few tips shared by executives regarding hiring, fuel costs, education, maintenance and quality of life.
Even a panel on a non-traditional issue, driver health, revealed much. Melton Truck Lines removed soda machines from its drivers’ lounges. Dart Transit removed a drivers’ smoking room and replaced it with an exercise room. Schneider National has an initiative to deal with sleep apnea. After Con-way Freight started a wellness program, worker’s compensation claims plunged 80 percent and lost days fell 75 percent.
My thanks to financial services provider ATBS, Freightliner Trucks and Castrol for joining Overdrive in making possible a meeting such as this. It was refreshing to hear the resourceful efforts to enable both sides of the carrier-contractor partnership to succeed.
As long as discussions like this continue, fleets that truly care about their driving force will be the leaders in reducing turnover.