Mobile TV helps fleet hold onto drivers

DC Velocity

May 15, 2018

With driver turnover rates at record levels, fleet operators have tried everything from pay raises to health and wellness programs to keep drivers from defecting. Now, a flatbed trucking company based in Tulsa, Okla., has found another way to keep its drivers on board—provide them with premium satellite TV.   Paul Transportation Inc. installed in-cab satellite TV systems throughout its fleet of 175 tractors in 2017 and has since reported a 60-percent drop in its driver turnover rate, according to EpicVue, the Salt Lake City-based trucking industry satellite TV company that supplied the gear. Each truck is outfitted with an exterior dome antenna that supplies a live TV feed while the driver waits for his hours of service to renew or for a shipper to load or unload goods, according to an EpicVue video.   The satellite TV package has helped the carrier slash its annual driver turnover rate to 85 percent from 144 percent and cut down on the number of empty seats it needs to fill at any one time to three from 25, Nick Williams, Paul Transportation's recruiting manager, said in a release. The carrier has seen recruitment-related benefits as well. "In the first two months after we began installing the systems, we had an increase of 300 driver applications," Williams said. "That is double the usual number in that time period."   The in-cab satellite TV improves drivers' quality of life by helping pass the time and making it less frustrating when they have to wait, Williams said. Drivers have also reported that they like being able to keep up with their favorite shows while on the road and that the TV feed makes their truck more home-like, he said.   EpicVue says it offers the in-cab satellite TV systems to fleets with 20 or more vehicles for a monthly subscription fee and with no upfront hardware costs.
Nussbaum Transportation and Prime Inc., were named the Best Overall Fleet in their respective categories in the Truckload Carriers Associations’ 2019 Best Fleets to Drive For Contest.   Hudson, Illinois-based Nussbaum took top honors in the small carrier category and Springfield, Missouri-based Prime received the honor for the large carrier category. Prime and Nussbaum have both been named to the Best Fleets Top 20 multiple times, but are winning the overall award for the first time.   Nussbaum operates a fleet of 400 tractors, combining both high- and low-tech solutions to create a balance across its programs. The company scored high in several categories including having an industry leading scorecard and mobile app, a simple, effective driver outreach schedule and a formal career path and certification program.   Prime’s fleet includes 7,200 tractors, but was noted for maintaining a personal touch despite it’s size. The company hosts a variety of committees, social groups and educational offerings, providing contractors with a range of options for personal and professional development. New for this year, the company implemented a new program in partnership with Missouri Good Dads, to help drivers build and strengthen family connections while away on the road.   Both companies were also noted for their safety and retention numbers as well as satisfaction scores well above 90%.   “For several years, these fleets have been catching our eye with their range of creative programs,” said Jane Jazrawy, CarriersEdge chief executive officer. “Each year they continue to expand on those offerings, so it’s easy to see why their drivers speak so highly of them, and why they’re achieving such stellar results.”   Best Fleets to Drive For is an annual survey, now in its 11th year, that recognizes North American for-hire trucking companies that provide the best workplace experience for their drivers. To participate, fleets must be nominated by a company driver or independent contractor working with them, after which they are evaluated across a broad range of categories reflecting current best practices in human resources.   From the nominated fleets, the top 20 finishers are identified as the Best Fleets to Drive For and are then categorized according to size. The highest scoring fleet in each category is named the overall winner.   The Best Fleets to Drive For survey and contest is open to any fleet operating 10 or more trucks, regardless of TCA membership status. Nominated fleets are evaluated in areas such as: Driver compensation, pension and benefits, professional development, driver and community support, and safety record. The award is offered in partnership with CarriersEdge and is co-sponsored by DMC Insurance and EpicVue.   “Year after year, the overall winners are truly changing the game,” said John Lyboldt, TCA president. “It’s imperative that fleets establish driver-centric offerings which attract and retain a skilled workforce, while establishing programs that improve the work-life balance for their employees. Prime Inc. and Nussbaum Transportation have done just that. Congratulations to both winners on this well-deserved honor.”