Warehouse Freight Handler to Transportation Driver – Thoughts on ELD’s

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Well here we are in week 49 of the year & Welcome back to Warehouse and Operations as a Career where we talk about the many different opportunities in the Operations Industry each week!  The Warehouse, Logistics, Transportation or Operations whatever you want to call it can provide us great jobs to support ourselves and our families, and everyone of those jobs can be a fantastic career for us to retire from & really enjoy, hey, we have to work for the rest of our lives and I just think its better, easier if we love what we’re doing!  I’m Marty and each week we try and answer some of your questions about these positions & occasionally speak with those doing the task, or with individuals whom may of stepped through those positions on their way to the job they were interested in.  Now don’t be harsh with us, we’re far from audio experts, if you’ve caught some of our earlier episodes I hope you’ve felt like we’re learning or trying too, at least trying to make your listening experience a little easier on the ears.  We are however Op’s men and women with plenty of opinions, thoughts and experiences and we like sharing them & talking about the many opportunities in the fields of operations!  We’re having fun with it and hope each of you are as well.  I’d like to encourage your participation with the group, feel free to suggest topics or just send us a shout out to host@warehouseandoperationsasacareer.com and of course join our Twitter & Facebook feeds using @whseandops.  If you’ve missed any of the shows you can catch them on Apple Podcast, iTunes and Google Play Music and on our website warehouseandoperationsasacareer.com.

We’ll enough of all the sales sounding stuff as I have absolutely nothing to sell ya!, I’m not really sure why I went down that road today BUT let’s get to today’s topic.

I was excited to see this question last week as we haven’t seen many on Transportation and Transportation is a large part of our industry.  All that freight and material handling we do really means nothing if there’s not a way to get it to us end users or consumers right!  If you missed our Episode titled, I think it was episode 22, Driving, Transportation & Logistics you might enjoy it, check it out!  A gentlemen named Jim asked what we thought of moving from Freight Handling in the warehouse into a Driving position.  His company has a training program where you can enter transportation as a driver helper and they’ll help you get experience in their yard and help with the testing.  He also brought up a regulatory change that’s occurring at the end of this year regarding ELD’s and wanted to know what we thought about those units also.  Thanks for the questions Sir, lets talk about the ELD’s or Electronic Logging Devices first and we’ll share some thoughts on making the switch from warehousing to transportation, both are fields I’m really passionate about & believe them to be fantastic Career’s!

Ok, Back in March of 2014 DOT or the Dept of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, better known as FMCSA, you can check out their website at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/   announced a proposal to require interstate commercial truck and bus companies to use Electronic Logging Devices in their vehicles to improve compliance with the safety rules that govern the number of hours a driver can work. They stated, in part, “Todays proposal will improve safety while helping businesses by cutting unnecessary paperwork”.  Transportation Secretary Antony Foxx went on to say  “By leveraging innovative technology with Electronic Logging Devices, we have the opportunity to save lives and boost efficiency for both motor carriers and safety inspectors.”  An interesting statistic the article states is – Analysis shows it will also help reduce crashes by fatigued drivers and prevent approximately 20 fatalities and 434 injuries each year for an annual safety benefit of $394.8 million dollars.  It’s an interesting article, I suggest checking it out if you’d like to see how changes are proposed!  There’s been a lot of talk, discussions and changes over the last 3 years but my understanding is it becomes law DEC 17th, or maybe the 16th depending what article or news agency your tuned into and I read something just this morning that stated the 18th.  And there’s a couple of last minute exemptions I’ve heard about in the last 30 days so if you need to know any of the particulars I’d point you to the FMCSA website for all the facts.  I found another good article at https://www.overdriveonline.com/  you may be interested in, it does a good job of spelling out the requirements as they interrupt them.  Basically we’ll have a unit in our vehicle that will take the place of our old paper copy log books, it’ll need to record things like the date, times and locations of the vehicle, engine hours, miles and know who’s using the vehicle.  I think it has to record engine on and off time too or when the tractors moving.  Although we won’t need to keep our old time graphs & charts, the machine will need to show one or be able to print them out I’d think.  We could talk about the new regulation for hours but hopefully we’ve hit the high points, its new and interesting information, we’ll add the websites mentioned above in our show notes if you’d like to check them out!

Part of the question was what did we think of the units.  I think it’s a good move in the right direction, like anything new though its going to have some pro’s and con’s, be great for some instances and create hardships for other situations.  Many companies have already made the switch, several years ago actually.  I’m hearing in the distribution world or route delivery men’s positions there’s been little effect and probably it’s been a positive thing.  For an over the road driver, that’s say only an hour from his or her designation and has ran out of hours it could present a hardship.  You know I’m kind of big on Safety and rules, so I try to see the positive in them.  Every time there’s a change with the hours of service laws the industry just works better with schedules and appointments, it always works out and after all, these kinds of things are to really protect the employee and the public so I think it’s a good thing!

And the first part of Jim’s question was what did we think of moving from the warehouse into the transportation fields?

Transportation is a great career field.  Wither your looking at Distribution or Route Delivery Driving or something more like Vendor Supply and Long Hauling it can be fun and rewarding.  In Jim’s case he has an opportunity to move from a Material Handler position and into a driver training program that’s sponsored by his present employer.  The first step could be training as a Driver Helper.  As we’ve talked too in previous episodes the driver helper may be responsible for stacking down freight inside the trailer, sorting out the freight by stop’s, maybe stacking the dolly or two wheeler and hand truck loads for the driver to run into the delivery location.  Once trained on using the hand truck our driver may teach us how to wheel the product into the delivery, proper stacking and storage for their customer, things like product rotation and FiFo or first in first out, possibly even how to mark or check off the invoicing, documenting returns and returning the product back into our companies inventory!  His company is going to let him use their equipment and their yard to get the feel of the tractor and prepare to take his driving test after he’s received his permit and completed his testing.  If you’ve ever backed a trailer you know practice is the only way to teach it!  I think it’s a great opportunity for those of us that like being on our own and want the responsibility a driver position brings with it.  We’ve spoken several times about how us as drivers are like the president of the company once we leave the facility.  We’ll hear about every error made from the sales dept, to the order selector mispicking the product to the loader that left something off.  Even the credit dept that forgot to notate a discount or credit to the accounts invoice, we’ll hear about it and in someone’s eyes it’s going to be our fault.  But there’s no greater feeling as a days delivery’s being accomplished and all our customers being pleased and successful due to our accomplishments!  It’s hard work, we may leave with 20 stop’s and 1200 cases to be broken down and delivered each day but the pay is usually good, Route Delivery can be very rewarding and a great career choice!

Vendor delivery or Long Hauling is a little different yet I find it very interesting too.  If you don’t mind being away from home a bit it’s a good deal, the open road, the freedom, and you are truly in charge of yourself out there.  I think we need to be a little self-disciplined with this choice as we’re the boss, AP/AR, the credit dept, and President, shoot we’re the whole company when we’re out on the road!  Maybe not for everyone but the long-haul world is a great career for the right individual and there can be great money here as well.  I feel any type of driver position can be a fantastic career choice!

I’ve heard people talk about all the regulatory and rules associated with today drivers and although that’s true, there’s just as many regulatory concerns in warehousing.  Safety is of course the first priority in all industries & fields.  Check out the You Tube Videos for transportation, you can get a pretty good look at the opportunities regarding accidents out on the road.  Many of them make you think what in the world was that driver thinking!

You know, just as when we’re on the road in our own personal vehicles or out shopping at a lumber yard or one of the big box stores or DIY stores it’s usually not us being unsafe we have to worry about.  And in the warehouse environments we know what we’re doing operating our equipment its everyone else were watching.  I mean we know we’re focused on our job’s and tasks, I think that’s where the phrase defensive driving comes from and I’d like to add working defensive also.  It’s those other drivers on the freeways and equipment operators in the warehouse we have to watch as closely as we do ourselves.   You know last week we visited with our Safety Guru Joe and discussed several of the dangers on the front docks and the transportation yards, I’m not sure how I jumped off topic again but hey, my rant kind of applies to what we’re talking about!

I hope I answered Jim’s questions today & I hope you all found a little value in the show.  I had fun talking to the points, I’ll reach out to a few people that’s gone from warehousing into transportation and vice versa.  Maybe we can have a few guests tell us what gave them the idea and how its worked out for them.  I think that’d be interesting.

Until next week please remember wither our job is in Transportation, Distribution, Production or Manufacturing, it’s our job to keep Safety our first priority!

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