Rules and procedures suck. There is something in the human D.N.A. that makes us want to rebel against being told what to do, especially when what is being asked of us makes no sense, at least to us. Most of the time these seemingly nonsensical requirements are put in place for a good reason.

What We Don’t Know

Shippers and receivers often have procedures in place that, as a driver, make zero sense. Park here, stand there, disconnect and pull away, chock this, lock that…rules, rules, rules. Every requirement is put in place for a reason, whether it be for our safety or theirs. Maybe it is just in place to help them stay organized or to help with their workflow. Whatever the reason, it is up to us to, as professionally as possible, do what they need us to do.

Sometimes that means we have to wait. Sometimes it means we have to let other people get loaded or unloaded even though we were there first. That particular situation really irks us as drivers, trust me, I know. I experienced a situation not too long ago that really brought this to light.

I Was Just Trying to Help

I showed up at a customer for a delivery and when I got there all four of the docks were full, three with dropped trailers, one being live unloaded. There was also a truck parked off to the side with its trailer doors open. 

I went inside to check in and was told to back in when the driver getting unloaded pulled out. I asked about the truck waiting outside because I didn’t want to jump the line. The people inside knew nothing about it, so back outside I went to wait my turn.

I got back outside and decided to let the driver of the truck in the parking lot know what was going on. After he rolled down his window, I told him what was going on and he announced that HE was backing in when the driver in the door pulled out. I very politely told him that I had been told to back in next because they didn’t know he was there. I had no problem letting him go before me, and told him so, but he immediately got belligerent insisting he was next and refusing to let them know he was even there. 

Long story short, he set his truck up to block me out and backed into the dock. Because he refused to follow the procedure, people had to accommodate him instead of him accommodating the customer. When I finally got backed into the dock to unload all four pieces I had for them, they were none too pleased. I was then told they would have taken me before him anyways since now they had to move all kinds of freight around to make room on their dock. If he had followed the procedure they could have gotten it more organized in a more timely manner. 

They had to receive freight in a certain way. That driver didn’t help things out. That procedure of checking in may not have made sense to him, but it was what the customer needed for their situation that day. 

We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

Things can change from day to day at some shippers/receivers. Making sure we are following procedures, even when they don’t make sense to us, may help our customers have a smoother day, and leave them a better impression of you, and the trucking industry in general. So let’s park here, stand there, disconnect and pull away, chock this, lock that… whatever the customer may need that day. In my opinion, that is what being a professional is about.

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Clark W Reed

Clark Reed of Roscoe, Illinois is an OTR company driver and trainer for Nussbaum Transportation based out of Hudson, Illinois. He has been driving since 2005 and has driven van, reefer, and tanker. He currently hauls dry van to all lower 48 states. Clark is passionate about MPGs and how driver habits influence them. The lifetime average of his 2018 Cascadia is 9.75 mpg, with eyes on 10. Clark, along with Henry Albert, was one of the seven drivers in 2017's "Run on Less" by NACFE, a road show, demonstrating what fuel efficiency can be obtained with existing technologies.

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