Welcome to the latest edition of the OpenLine newsletter!

I would like to begin by recognizing our Driver of the Month, Leon Wert, and our Rookie of the Month, William Adkins. I am proud of all of our drivers, but these two had exceptional performance deserving of extra recognition.

After 22 years in Safety and Recruiting, I’ve been in Operations for 11 months now.  I have enjoyed seeing firsthand how our hardworking men and women get freight from point A to point B, on-time, and damage-free. It’s truly a team effort for our Driver Managers, Territory Account Managers, and Sales Department to work together in keeping you busy and routed home. We simply have the best drivers on the road and a great team to support them here in the office.

As for a company update, freight has been great in some areas and slower in others. Starting in mid-October, the destructive fires, rolling power outages, high winds, and road closures on the West Coast disrupted freight and caused longer deadheads and, unfortunately, longer waits. As always, thank you all for your patience there!

The entire Operations Department takes sitting trucks very seriously. Every hour you wait causes stress bells and alarms to go off, and we strive to “pre-book” every area far in advance. Slower freight availability can slow down pre-booking. Then, actual load assignments are tricky with so much to consider – earliest empty, home time and shop requests, Hours of Service, distance to the load, and MAC Score (get your passport, TWIC, and Hazmat!).  It’s all hands-on-deck to keep you moving.

In this season of slower freight, we need your help to ensure maximum productivity. Please plan your trip well, read all load notes, and communicate often with your Driver Manager. Safe, on-time deliveries will help you stay busy during the upcoming months.    

Also, as with every holiday season, get ready for repowers! They are necessary to honor home time requests. Last year, to compensate for the frustration and help offset ‘lost equipment’, we introduced Repower Pay that ensured both drivers get $25 each for a repower excluding the entire month of December. Remember, Christmas home time requests are due December 9th to guarantee a Christmas Day arrival.

This year, we hope that our new Repower Accountability Policy will reduce hassles as well. This policy came about after receiving feedback from our drivers through Workhound surveys. Senior Ambassador of the Road, Alton Jackson, led the charge with other terrific drivers to improve the driver experience during repowers by instilling more driver accountability in the process.  For Repower Pay, we now require all repowers to be followed by a Macro 47 where drivers get to rate one another on their professionalism related to timeliness, operable equipment, and proper load securement and weight.  If it’s determined that a driver was negligent, they will not only not get the repower pay, but also be issued a Type 1 Service Alert (a service alert is very, very bad).    

As for Safety news, we completed nearly 900 Safety Blitz calls in the 4th quarter! The calls discussed tarping, injury prevention techniques, and the change from our PRIDE Performance Bonus to the simplified Fuel Bonus for 2020. For more information about the new Fuel Bonus, click here or call Stefanie Ryan at 918-270-9604. 

In closing, thanks to our drivers for nominating Melton for the Best Fleets to Drive for award. This honor is among the most recognized in the industry and we need your help to win the top prize! To vie for the top spot, drivers can weigh in by completing this survey before December 31st!

I appreciate your service and wish you happy holidays!

Angie Buchanan

VP of Operations