Fleet managers are smart enough to know that graduating from CDL school doesn’t make a new truck driver an expert. Mastering the truck driving career is a combination of on-the-job training, experience, and a willingness to continually learn. Motor carriers can help the process along by implementing regular, ongoing training that keeps truckers up to date on all the latest techniques, rules, and regulations.
An area of great concern is cargo control. More than anything else in trucking, the responsibility of cargo control rests squarely on the driver. From the moment a truck leaves the shipping yard to the moment it arrives at the receiving location, drivers are responsible for making sure their cargo remains safe and secure.
Mytee Products, a company that specializes in cargo control supplies and equipment, says that effective cargo control methods are only as good as the equipment truck drivers use. They recommend that ongoing training include educating drivers about choosing the right webbing straps, chains, blocks, winches, etc. for each job.
As a fleet operator, here are five ways you can implement new cargo control training for your drivers:
1. Classroom Training
The place a lot of motor carriers start is classroom training that brings drivers into the office for a few hours of training based on videos, demonstrations, lectures, etc. Training sessions can be conducted by company management or outside consultants. A motor carrier’s insurance company can even be tapped for one or two training sessions per year. Classroom training does not have to be long or complicated, just consistent.
2. Online Training
The internet is a plethora of helpful information for truck drivers. Thankfully, numerous organizations have put together free online training courses designed to help both independent contractors and fleet drivers be the best they can be. There are tons of cargo control resources available online.
3. Hands-On Training
Hands-on training takes place at the motor carrier’s headquarters using all the same equipment the driver uses on the job. This sort of training allows the motor carrier to create real-world scenarios that give drivers an opportunity to practice their cargo control skills. Under the watchful eye of trainers, drivers can get a feel for how to tie down their cargo safely. They can learn how to safely deploy truck tarps.
4. On-The-Job Training
Motor carriers can institute an on-the-job training program that pairs truck drivers with trainers at regular intervals. Just like the on-the-job training received fresh out of CDL school, this ongoing training can be offered on a regular schedule. Drivers are accompanied by a trainer on one or two jobs before the trainer moves onto the next driver.
5. Cross Training (with dispatchers)
The last form of training is cross training that includes both drivers and dispatchers in the same training sessions. This may seem a bit radical to some, but cross training helps drivers better understand dispatchers and vice-versa. It can be especially helpful on complicated loads for which cargo control is anything but typical.
Cross training helps dispatchers better understand what truck drivers are dealing with on a daily basis. It helps them better understand the many complicated cargo control issues that can interfere with an otherwise smooth job. On the other hand, cross training also helps truck drivers to better understand what their dispatchers are dealing with. They learned firsthand just how much of the shipping process is really out of the hands of dispatchers.
One of the keys to successful cargo control is training. The better and more frequently drivers are trained, the better they perform in the field.