Message From the Top
Schneider National: Valuing the Skills of Truck Drivers
By: Scott Arves, President of Transportation, Schneider National Inc.
It’s no secret the trucking industry is having trouble attracting drivers. While the quality of life for over the road truck drivers is improving, public perception of the intelligence and skills required to perform the work is not improving quickly enough.
In an effort to attract and retain drivers, transportation companies like Schneider National are working to change the face of truck driving. Steps such as increasing driver pay, offering a variety of driving opportunities, providing better and more frequent time at home, providing Internet access, offering better facilities, and providing superior training are designed to help reduce the industry’s steep driver turnover rate–which averaged 136 percent in the first quarter of 2005, according to American Trucking Associations, Inc. (ATA).
These efforts only begin to address a long-term solution to the misconceptions about truck driving. By recognizing the skills, education and split-second decisions drivers apply in their jobs every day, the industry stands to elevate society’s view of truck drivers and more successfully attract talented long-term professionals.
People should consider what a good driver must do to deliver a single load. Before even stepping into the cab of a tractor-trailer, drivers need to know how to log hours, safety procedures and mechanical operations. They also need to master numerous cab controls, engine operations and the techniques of the trade. Coupling the tractor to the trailer, inspecting equipment, conducting brake tests and making wide turns are also vital skills.
Intuitively, drivers employ math and science skills derived from the fields of physics, geometry and kinetics (the mechanics of body movement)—all while managing schedules and multiple forms of communication. Drivers must also become adept at reading directions and understanding maps at appropriate and safe times in order to fulfill customer commitments efficiently.
Working smart, trouble shooting and problem solving are everyday requirements drivers apply to their jobs, yet society persists in dividing labor into the work of the hand vs. the work of the mind. When society ignores the intelligence behind the work, it mistakes fact for prejudice—an error that impacts us all.
To underscore the value Schneider places on its drivers, in February 2005 we introduced the largest pay increase and work-life improvement for drivers and owner-operators in the company’s 70-year history. It appears to be making a difference already: the company is experiencing its highest driver retention rates in recent history and sits near the top of the industry.
Schneider National is committed to developing the best, most valued driver team the industry has to offer. To learn more about Schneider National and exciting careers that deliver, I invite you to visit us online at www.schneiderjobs.com or call 1-800-44-PRIDE.