The value of simulation training for truck drivers, owners
Being able to comfortably meet and visit like-minded people has taken on new meaning for all of us. As such, I had a great day at the Walcott Truckers Jamboree 2021 at the Iowa 80 Truck Stop a little over a week ago now. Meet Todd Dills in person, listen to countless other people, while admiring the hundreds of unique trucks on display with the stories and history of each owner.
It all made me feel like I was seeing working in trucking from a new perspective, invaluable to someone like me and useful to anyone, really. Whether in the OOIDA trailer or chatting with retired owners sitting proudly with their gear on display, shows like these provide an opportunity to visit other people who have spent their lives walking and driving. trucks.
I shared with an owner how I provided personal private coaching to owner-operators and other small trucking companies and thought about how to improve this by putting together a small team of owners to retirement who might be able to broaden the knowledge base. A few weeks ago, while following a LinkedIn discussion about recruiting and retention, I thought about the possibility that the trucking companies were ignoring what could be our biggest untapped asset.
There are literally thousands of retired drivers and owners who have done this successfully. Many of them may well be willing to take on a new role by sharing their knowledge. Businesses should be prepared to pay for this precious resource.
Driver training regulations and standards are obviously in the news of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, of course, as driver trainers must begin the registration process to become certified to fill the role. Any seasoned professional driver knows there is a lot more to it than getting a CDL or even driving. Experienced owners can share educational information reinforced by the actual classroom – all the things they did right, all the mistakes they never wish they had made.
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It’s not easy trying to teach someone new things from scratch. I was fortunate enough to have a new part-time job after retiring from the road with the Illinois State College of Nursing as a simulation patient. I stage different diagnoses – dementia, heart attack, PTSD – to help teach nursing students how to deal with and respond to these situations.
It’s not easy to learn this stuff either. At the end of each simulated diagnostic scenario, students’ reactions may vary from intensity to intensity – many of them share the rate at which their heart rate has increased with stress, even in this safe environment. In no way are they really going to hurt or kill a patient, but the stakes are clear, the more realistic I can be in my acting.
Talk about an environment different from trucking!
Still, I can imagine the value that such interpersonal simulation training could bring here as well, whether with the wisdom of a retired owner or someone else.
If you are a small fleet owner and can handle it, just helping new drivers learn how to communicate effectively with dispatch and customers can generate big long-term benefits. What about when a driver has to deal with a mechanical breakdown? I have seen the difficulties with my own eyes – the drivers standing at the service counter don’t know what to say about a problem they have never encountered.
Play scenarios with them beforehand, however. You might find that they’ll thank you for the prep when the proverbial You Know What hits the fan down the road.
For the independent owner-operators among you, getting started with the administrative tasks of the business is not as easy as so many people in the trucking industry might think. Too many people have taken the road of truck ownership before they have Business truck 101 firmly in hand.
During a visit with representatives of the National Association of Independent Truckers in Walcott about their services, I learned that the association was having a real hard time understanding why options like their telehealth packages, almost free for NAIT members, just haven’t been taken or used a lot. I offered the possibility that it could be as easy as a lot of not knowing how to use these services. No one is really comfortable with something they have no experience with, and when it comes to our health, any discomfort could worsen in a remote connection situation given the intensely personal nature of it. ‘exchange.
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If, beforehand, a company representative could be available to walk a member through the basic steps and perhaps play / practice a telehealth call, comfort and use of the service could ensue.
I have used this formula to help the owners I work with start accounting – or restarted as a series of exhausted hours, as the case may be. The owner and I learn something from each of these experiences, quite often. Last week I was showing an owner my own, admittedly quite simple, cloud-based spreadsheet model for accounting when he noted the earlier purchase of two more dedicated accounting programs a few years ago. At first I felt a little intimidated knowing this, but as we saw my schedule together and the owner talked about their payment documents and invoices, I typed in the entries so the owner could see what was going on. was happening and could focus on observing the processes.
We walked into the whole of June in about an hour as the truck owner asked questions, and soon after it was clear that a new level of understanding had been reached. What made the difference was not so much the particular bookkeeping schedule as the level of ease to observe and ask questions here. Friendliness, absence of judgment.
With experience, we also build a greater level of trust in each other. This should pay dividends in the form of questions asked and answers, and new insights into the trucking industry, well into the future.
Readers can find plenty of information on the ins and outs of running an owner-operator business in the updated 2021 edition of Overdrive’s Manual Partners in Business for owner-operators and future owner-operators, produced with ATBS and sponsored by TBS Factoring Service. It is available for download via the link.