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Posts Tagged ‘Logistics’

I have only been a Trucker for a little over a year or so before I become “De-Sensitized” to this New World I’m writing about what I see and hear. Like you, I had a lot of “Pre-Conceived” notions about Truckers. After all, the only time a Non-Trucker hears about Truckers is when they are pissed off OR, they crashed into something.
Hearing about Truckers before I became a Trucker meant nothing to me.
My first impressions were; “They sure complain a lot!” Pretty hard to feel sympathy or even pay attention when the only image you get is negative. As I began my training & began living the life of an “OTR – Over the Road” Trucker, I quickly saw how disrespected these American Workers are treated.
The hardships I encountered during my nightmarish training period which I write about on:
“Ask the Trucker – A Day I the Life of a Lady Trucker” are only a fraction of how poorly these individuals are regarded in this Country.

http://www.askthetrucker.com/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-lady-trucker/
Telling my story to Truckers is like “Preaching to the Choir”, the task at hand is to tell Non-Truckers to help effect a Change to the Trucking Industry. The reason there are Bad Truckers is because they are cultivated by the way the Industry Operates. As long as the bad image of the American Trucker can be instilled in our psyche, Lobby Groups and Government will make poor choices affecting Truckers.

Non-Truckers don’t relate to Truckers, but they are curious about Truckers at the same time.
When I arrived on Twitter, I was taken aback by how some unlikely people told me “It was their Secret Dream to be a Trucker” I was busily sending Tweets about my chief complaints about Industry failures and the Government Funds perpetuating it all the while I was receiving fan mail about the romantic life I was living from office dwellers that were yearning to tear off their pantyhose and join me for a road trip across our beautiful country! I was also being asked the same questions about Truckers.
What a stroke of luck for me! Avenues to spread my message by answering the number one complaint by Non-Truckers, or “4-Wheelers” as Truckers call them on the CB.
So instead of answering the same 3 questions in 140 characters or less every day I decided to share my answers here, in a place that is predominately Non-Truckers.
First, I have to say that Truckers dislike “4-Wheelers” because” 4-Wheelers” are oblivious to how close to death they are each day by lingering around Big Trucks
Now, this is sort of funny to me because at some point all Truckers will have to ride in a “4-Wheeler” so embracing this idea to dislike them does not serve any sort of real purpose.
Furthermore, that opinion does not represent a Professional Driver. There is a huge difference.
We ALL must share the same highway; neither of us is going anywhere, so how about getting to know each other better?
Tolerance, Education these things can help us have safer highways.
So, here is the number one question I have been asked by Non-Truckers about Truckers:
Why do Trucks pull out in front of me when I am about to pass them?
This is an Excellent Question because before I drove a Truck I used to get aggravated to no end about this!
Consider this:
Trucks are all different weights because the Freight they are carrying for example: Bottled Water, Paper Rolls being sent for Recycling, Rolls of Carpet is very heavy.
Trucks have Cruise Control; most people do not realize this.
Many Truck s are also “Governed”, that means they only go “up to” a certain speed, mine goes only up to 63 mph. This is especially true of Big Companies for Fuel Efficiency but it affects a driver’s pay also because we only get paid for the miles we drive, not for time working.
Governed Speeds are the reason you see groups of trucks on the highway seemingly riding each other’s tail. They are too closely governed and cannot pass each other. Sometimes, they are faced with a decision that they will have to lose their momentum by hitting the brakes because they are inching up on the Truck or Vehicle in front of them, even though they cannot go too much faster to pass them.
For instance, there are some large companies I know I can overtake, and some I need to lay back or it will take me a half an hour to pass them. By breaking my cruise control, my momentum I lose fuel efficiency and I also may struggle to regain my full speed, especially if I have a heavy load that will require downshifting to get the Truck pulling us forward again.
All this is occurring when I see a car coming up in my side view mirror, they are hesitating or they are not really going fast enough to pass me before my heavy load will begin pulling me back or pushing me forward into the bumper of another.
I have to use my best judgment of ‘Time & Distance” & that sometimes require me to make the executive decision to pull out in front of you. If I slam on my brakes, I may cause an accident that could involve many lives. The best advice I can offer you as the driver of a “4-Wheeler”, is be observant you’re “Time & Distance” before trying to pass a Big Truck who is being placed in sudden merge of oncoming traffic or getting too close to the vehicles in front of it which may force them to change lanes. Trucks have a difficult time seeing “4-Wheelers” so do not linger around them. Get by them if you need to but do it safely and quickly so you are not hindering them from moving out of the way of other traffic that you cannot see, but they can.
If they pull out in front of you it’s not to antagonize you, it’s because the weight is affecting the speed and safe distance in front of them. This can happen rather quickly if the road has any incline to it.
Be patient, we are trying to deliver you new Plasma Screen, Backyard Bar-B-Que, Children’s Play Set, Organic Food, Dog’s New Bed and much more.
I hope this helps.
I have two other common questions but that’s all for now.
Twonk! Twonk!

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Have you noticed lately there are a growing number of Truckers using Twitter?
While at first glance this may seem an odd addition to social media, examine if you will the entire process of logistics.
Ultimately idea’s shared through social media are intended to manifest profit. Whether the profit is monetary, social change or simply sharing information, knowledge about a better way of doing things to create a tangible item , at some point it , that item will require a ride with us on a truck.

The concept from your mind to paper with pen, the word document made on your computer, everything you see around you has been delivered by a truck. Supplies you will require to affect social change utilizing social media, the building supplies to rebuild homes after a natural or made made disaster, transporting fresh water & food; it is all brought by a Trucker.
Truckers are a relevant part of the logistics process that make your thoughts and ideas come to life.

In addition, Truckers are always on the move and they use products that help them live in an efficient manner on the road, transporting products, sometimes representing a product by their conduct on the road.

From a marketing standpoint you might title this sort of interaction a “Focus Group”.

I was introduced to Twitter by @AsktheTrucker which is where I wrote my story of becoming a Trucker in 2007 and the terrible treatment I received during my CDL training.

My driving schedule of 500-600 miles a day hindered my mission to inform prospective trucking students of the challenges that they might encounter and help them to better prepare as they entered the industry.  Twitter afforded me the ability to communicate in real-time what I saw and what I heard and to describe the obstacles I encountered in delivering goods across the United States of America.
The urgency of my message came as the economy crumbled and I became acutely aware that many displaced workers would become desperate for a new life like I was when I came to trucking. Most would be set-up for failure by unscrupulous recruiters who prey on the disenfranchised hopeful individuals who have the least to spare. The method is errily familiar to the mortgage industry who sold many people the American Dream of Home Ownership in loans that were packaged to make commisions for loan orginators but not for long term success to the homeowners.

I watched in disgust as prospective students were given unreal expectations of what it takes to live the lifestyle of a trucker yet they qualified carriers for government funding in the form of subsidies and tax incentives and still they were set up to fail. This process generated incredible turnover. This was why the trucking industry always claimed they had a shortage of drivers. The students were an industry in themselves of cheap labor, to be used and discarded.

Twitter provided me a method to depict for prospective students a real snapshot of the trucking lifestyle before students got themselves saddled with a high interest loan, a useless CDL and perhaps lose the house they were already desperate to save.

The chatter on Twitter is reminiscent of what occurs on the CB, another thing relatively new in my life but natural to the Truckers isolated existence. Granted, it gets ugly at times but often they are sharing valuable information that assists other truckers.

Truck drivers are highly misunderstood and underappreciated for the hours they work, the risk of life and limb to deliver freight and the manner they are treated , esspecially by my home state of California which made me want to reach out even more.
My Twitter Mission grew each day because the relevance of what is happening in our Country.  Trucking is one of the last American Industries we have not completely outsourced.

Nothing makes sense when you hear the claims by the American Trucking Association that there is a “Qualified Driver Shortage” but there remains enormous turnover when unemployment is high. This industry is not being held accountable who claims it cares about safety but pushes drivers to do unsafe things, pays low wages, expects a great deal of unpaid labor , long hours of driving with few breaks and yet classifies truck drivers as unskilled!

The Government is scrambling to create jobs but subsidizes truck driver training that produces few qualified truck drivers and while many are screaming about wasteful spending , no one examines why this industry has not reduced it’s enormous turnover rate in training carriers who benefit from taxpayers. No one demands accountability and transparency on why there are no statistics kept on student truck carriers crashes.
Why the huge disparity in who goes to CDL School and those who become qualified truck drivers? Why are experienced drivers with good records being “Starved Out” ? Why are student carrier crashes not defined and held to a higher standard if they are benifitting from government funds and favorable tax incentives to hire certain demographics? Why are unproven drivers permitted to receive a Hazardous Materials Endorsement when they go for their CDL permit when these prospects have ZERO expertise in driving a big rig?

Why are we punishing “Mom & Pop” Truckers , the last small businesses we have not destroyed in an America that says they don’t want socialism?

Does capitalism mean destroying small business to benefit the few who have the means to crush those who cannot compete?

Unfortunately, Truckers are not the most sympathetic creatures, so society in general ignores them. This is precisely why the conduct by big trucking companies has been permitted.

The nature of the job requires a certain sort of person, perhaps not the type of person you want to attend your garden party but I hope that the Truckers on Twitter will remind you how fortunate you are to have the little luxuries in life. To be able to walk to the corner store for milk and bread and not have to drive to the railyard for such daily items. For you to enjoy the convenience of having things that the truck driver often has to live without in order to keep store shelves full for the masses.

Perhaps products you want to sell, invent, distribute, a book you want to write, the advertising pitch you have an idea for and plan to draft up on your computer tonight…. when your idea becomes a tangible thing …. it will be delivered by a truck driver.

A Man or Woman Trucker just like me stayed up long hours without pay in many cases to wait for those goods to be loaded, maybe drove all night in a snowstorm unable to stop for a shower to make their delivery appointment on-time, got cut off and barely averted a disastrous crash from cars zipping in front of them and slowing down, sleeping in that dirty old truck with no air-conditioning in the summer or no heat in the winter because they can’t afford the fuel, or in the case of California, no reasonable solution for temperature control.

Help these people do their job safely and effectively by learning what the truckers need,  not what the trucking industry tells you they need or what they say they are doing … it is a facade.

Twitter makes Truckers relevant because they play an integral part in the supply chain of logistics & technology. Twitter is the CB for the World and Truckers now have a voice outside an industry that has not represented them.

Truckers need you to listen, they need help.

Safe Parking, Accountability by Shippers, Receivers and Carriers for Climate Control in the Cab, Violence Against Women during Training and retaliation for reporting and a whole bunch of trucking organizations with executives being paid good salaries who deliver NOTHING for the truck driver.

These are just a few topics that have been concealed in this industry and social media is giving drivers relevance to speak outside of the cabs, outside of the CB frequency for the first time ever. Please Listen to them.

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