In ag retailing, we can get it all right. We can have the best product; we can have the best social media campaign; we can have the best in class customer service policy. It’s our drivers and delivery staff that are the final, and most important leg, on what I will call the “Customer Experience Relay Race”. All other members, or processes, can execute flawlessly, but the race is won or lost in the final leg.
The spring rush can leave all of us a little frayed. Let’s try to be the driver’s advocate as we consider our daily and weekly schedules. Demands of weather and customers can push us hard and ours is an industry that is given an exemption from many of the hours of service rules that others must follow. However, we are all still human. A fatigued driver can be a danger to themselves, others, equipment, and the customers they service. Driver fatigue is something that needs to be recognized and prevented.
Another key to helping them do their job is having safe equipment. Not only do safe trucks help keep our DOT CSA scores low, they help to keep drivers focused on what matters most- the delivery of products safely and effectively in a courteous and timely manner. Our maintenance programs can’t afford to take a break in the heat of the season. Meanwhile, labeling of things like fuel and hydraulic tanks and what direction to turn a valve can appear to be over-kill but is a great reminder to the driver who is in the thick of a planting or spray season that broke hard and fast. Often these folks wind up going to a delivery site that can be ambiguous. A good preseason plan could include addressing some of these delivery point issues so that the customer, driver, and the company they serve all make it safe and sound to the end of the relay race.
Have a safe and successful season!