Jun 1, 2010 12:00 PM, By Charles E Wilson
Building a winning safety program was no accident for 13-year-old Andrews Logistics Inc
Andrews Logistics continued...
Andrews Logistics currently employs 215 drivers, roughly the same number it had before the recession. “We culled a few of our weaker drivers, but we replaced most of them with better candidates,” Eschle says. “We believe we employ some of the best truck drivers in the industry. We also believe we have people on board who appreciate making it through the bad times with us.”
Keeping turnover low is a key objective today at Andrews Logistics. “We're seeing a much tighter driver market this year,” Eschle says. “We're beginning to see a lot more challenges in driver hiring. Shortages of tank truck drivers are already very apparent, but quite a few drivers are still available on the dry freight side.”
Andrews Logistics wants drivers who have the qualifications and versatility to work in any part of the operation — tanks, vans, or flatbeds. In addition, anyone wanting to work for the company absolutely must embrace the safety program, and that requirement is made abundantly clear during the hiring process.
Beyond that, drivers must be at least 25 years old and have a minimum of three years over-the-road truck driving experience. “We also want tank experience, but we realize that we will probably need to recruit from non-tank driving sectors in the future,” Odgers says. “We'll have to offer higher pay and expanded training programs to attract people who are new to tanks.”
Newly hired drivers spend a day and a half to two in an orientation program that covers government mandated training and company policies and procedures. That is followed by one to three weeks of on-the-job training (OJT). “Among other things, the program is designed to weed out people with weak driving skills,” Odgers says.
A cadre of Master Driver Trainers handles OJT. Each Andrews Logistics location has at least one Master Driver Trainer, and no newly hired driver goes out on the road by himself until the trainer signs off.
Master Driver Trainers have worked at Andrews Logistics for at least a year and have more than five years truck driving experience. Trainers have a clean driving record with no roadside inspection violations and no preventable accidents. On average, a trainer works with five to six newly hired drivers a year and receives a bonus for each driver that stays with the company at least a year.
Andrews Logistics runs only company trucks, all of them Paccar products, and most purchased with rebates through the Consolidated Fleet Solutions buying program. In addition to the recent purchase of 32 tractors for expansion, the fleet follows a regular replacement schedule.
“Keeping our tractor fleet up to date is part of our safety program,” Eschle says. “It's important to run equipment that is in the best possible condition, and regular replacement also ensures that we have the latest technology. With CSA 2010, nobody will be able to run junk.
The fleet includes both Kenworth and Peterbilt tractors. Kenworth T800s were purchased in 2007 and Peterbilt Model 386s were bought in 2008. The 32 tractors ordered this year are Peterbilt Model 386s with 63-inch mid-roof sleepers.
The new tractors are powered by a 2010 Cummins ISX engine and have a Fuller 10-speed transmission and tandem-drive axles. Bendix roll stability is a key safety technology ordered on all new tractors. These are the first tractors that Andrews Logistics has ordered with Thermo King's TriPac auxiliary power unit that eliminates engine idling when the driver is in the sleeper.
Tank trailers in the Andrews Logistics fleet include aluminum MC306 and DOT406 units from Polar Trailer Inc, Heil Trailer International, and LBT Inc. These tanks typically hold 9,200 gallons of product and have four to five compartments.
Tank hardware includes Dixon Bayco's bottom-loading valves and FloTech overfill protection. Internal valves are from Betts Industries. The newest trailers have the Hendrickson Intraax air suspension system with Tiremaax inflation, Alcoa aluminum wheels, and Bridgestone tires.
The carrier also runs Polar stainless steel insulated chemical trailers. The 7,000-gallon trailers have Betts valves and Girard pressure-relief vents.
With its winning business model, Andrews Logistics is almost certain to continue growing and expanding. The company also plans to increase the number of safety trophies in its collection.
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