Director of Driver Development
The purpose of this position it to increase the profitability of your company through the development of its drivers.
We start with developing better drivers through knowledge of how their equipment works. Start with respect. Never talk down to the driver. Drivers are to be treated as professionals at all times. Use objective information. Show them the torque chart for their engine. Go over several engine reports, including theirs if they have one. Emphasize what works while dealing with what doesn’t. Avoid criticizing the driver during this process. Show them the right way.
Discuss how collision mitigation systems work and why they work the way that they do. Stress how the modern system can work with the experienced drivers. Go into great detail with the drivers. Try not to disagree with drivers here. Work on agreement and empathy. No driver starts out liking CMS. Talk about that. Talk about their experiences. Talk about yours. Explain to them how to beat the system, by knowing how it works and to out anticipate it. When drivers drive to mitigate the mitigation system we have drivers driving better.
Take them out for a lengthy road test. Let them drive. Pull an engine report. Then have the director or trainer drive and pull the engine report. Compare the reports. Then let the driver improve their engine report with a third trip. Analyze everything. Encourage improvement.
You may think that this position belongs in a mid size or large company. It belongs in every trucking company. Even if you are a 1 truck owner operator. The 1 truck owner operator wears many hats. We are accountants, equipment managers, mechanics, etc. Of all the hats we wear, the most important hat that we wear is that of professional driver.
The most significant advantage that the single truck owner operator can have is that their driver is better than the average driver at any company. In 17 years as an owner operator, I have had the same driver. We are in an industry that has close to 100% annual driver turnover. The owner operator has a significant advantage.
Recognize the driver’s strengths and weaknesses. Use objective information. Treat the driver with respect. Start out with the driver’s strengths. Work on ways to enhance those strengths. Recognize their weaknesses. Come up with ideas to improve those weaknesses. Say, a driver has a high idle time percentage. Talk about shutting the truck off when checking in. Look at things like pre cooling the bunk before stopping for the night. Equip the trucks with things like APUs, to show the driver you are trying to help as well. If you are trying to improve MPG equip the trailers with skirts and tails to show that you are working with the driver.
It has always been my belief that the company with the best drivers wins. I does not matter if that company has 1 driver or 1,000 drivers.