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A sharper focus on safety: CCJ Innovator Daryl Flood sees rapid improvements with new culture, safety initiatives

CCJ Innovators profiles carriers and fleets that have found innovative ways to overcome trucking’s challenges. If you know a carrier that has displayed innovation, contact CCJ Editor Jeff Crissey at jcrissey@ccjmagazine.com or 800-633-5953.

12670900_1601325076855989_2116591708909402645_nOne glance at Daryl Flood Relocation & Logistics’ trophy case is all it takes to understand that the company has an established reputation for quality service. According to Daryl Flood, founder and chief executive officer, the nine most important words at the company are “Satisfy the customer, satisfy the customer, satisfy the customer.”

The Coppell, Texas-based company’s business is divided into two market segments. Roughly 60 percent comes from the over-the-road market as a household goods moving agent for Mayflower Transit, a brand under the UniGroup umbrella. The other 40 percent is in the short-haul space as a dedicated distribution and last-mile delivery service provider for GE Appliances. Another small portion of its business is devoted to workplace relocation services. Overall, Daryl Flood operates about 250 power units, most of which are owned and operated by independent contractors.

As with most transportation providers, safety always has been a top priority at Daryl Flood. With most of its revenues generated by servicing two customers, Flood knew the company could do better to ensure it would remain a preferred transportation supplier. In 2013, he created a new job function to better align the company’s safety performance with its quality of service and hired Scott Roberts as director of safety, compliance and risk management.

Reaching new heights

Daryl Flood is measured by Mayflower’s safety performance rating system that uses a vehicle-miles-traveled metric to compare agents within peer groups for UniGroup’s Mayflower and United Van Lines brands. When Roberts came aboard three years ago, Daryl Flood’s SPR score was 868, good enough for three stars (out of five) in Mayflower’s tiered safety system, about average for an agency.

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Mayflower uses its SPR to score agencies and their individual drivers based on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s safety regulations, including the Compliance Safety Accountability program. In addition, it serves as an internal audit for agencies to identify late logs, missing paperwork and hours-of-service violations that occur even without a roadside inspection.

In Mayflower’s safety performance rating system, Daryl Flood Relocation & Logistics is third nationally in its mileage category for all agents, is in second place from a Top 10 hauler perspective and last year ranked number one among Top 10 haulers for five months.

In Mayflower’s safety performance rating system, Daryl Flood Relocation & Logistics is third nationally in its mileage category for all agents, is in second place from a Top 10 hauler perspective and last year ranked number one among Top 10 haulers for five months.

In 2014, Daryl Flood’s SPR improved 209 percent, and last year it improved another 180 percent. Today, its SPR score is 5,483, earning the company a five-star rating. In 2015, 50 drivers ended with a five-star SPR compared to 26 drivers in 2014, and 23 drivers had a perfect SPR compared to eight in 2014.

Daryl Flood is third nationally in its mileage category for all Mayflower agents, is in second place from a Top 10 hauler perspective and last year ranked number one among Top 10 haulers for five months.

In addition to Mayflower’s SPR system, Daryl Flood’s drivers are measured in a number of ways. Both Mayflower and GE Appliances perform customer surveys after a completed move or delivery to gauge the effectiveness of their carrier partners. Daryl Flood and other agents then are evaluated by on-time performance, claims percentage and other service-related metrics. Likewise, Daryl Flood performs its own client satisfaction surveys to homeowners via postcards and phone calls in an effort to measure the level of service provided by its drivers.

“What really matters to us there is [a homeowner’s] willingness to recommend us,” says Roberts.

Foundation for success

Roberts attributes Daryl Flood’s rapid safety improvements to a number of factors, none of which he says is more important than the support and buy-in of the company’s executives. “Safety cultures don’t happen overnight – trust has to be established,” he says. “No safety professional is going to be able to do that without commitment from the top down.”

Daryl Flood also hosts an annual Independent Contractor Conference every February. “We basically shut down the company for three days and bring over 100 qualified drivers to the learning conference,” says Roberts. Daryl Flood invites executives from Mayflower and other organizations to speak to drivers about new technology, changes in safety regulations and other topics relevant to the household goods transportation segment.

Tom Clemins“The IC conference is about relationship-building,” adds Roberts. “As important as relationships are with our customers, it is twice as important to have those relationships with our drivers.”

The company also hosts an awards ceremony at its IC conference to honor its top-performing drivers with safety performance and driver of the year awards. All five-star-rated drivers are recognized with plaques, and the top three drivers are presented with additional monetary awards in front of their peers.

Daryl Flood also has improved its onboarding process to establish its safety culture at the beginning of its relationship with new drivers. Roberts says online training courses serve their purpose in the onboarding process, “but safety culture in particular is as much about relationships as content,” he says.

Once drivers have toured Daryl Flood headquarters and met with various department representatives who lay out the company’s expectations for drivers to maintain their qualifications, they then meet with Roberts in his office, a practice he says is vital for the driver to understand the corporate commitment to safety.

“Most of the time in this industry, a driver has a negative connotation toward a safety professional,” says Roberts. “That initial meeting allows us the opportunity to set the tone that the safety department is a good place to go,” rather than a place focused solely on remedial training and scrutiny. “We talk about how the team performs and how they have to perform as an individual to foster teamwork.”

Through increased communication to Daryl Flood drivers such as monthly email newsletters and regular phone calls by safety department personnel, safety has become a positive experience. “Drivers come by and spend time in the safety office because they want to, not because they were called here,” Roberts says.

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Another factor in Daryl Flood’s improvements has been the safety department’s desire to “celebrate the little wins,” as Roberts puts it. The company rewards drivers on a quarterly basis for 100 percent compliance with perfect log books and documentation, clean roadside inspections and no HOS violations or recordable accidents.

“I don’t do their logs for them, I don’t send in their paperwork on time, and I can’t make them be neat,” says Roberts. “We have to guide them through the orientation process, and at the end of the day, they have to perform. Then we celebrate that.”

Even retraining events for underperforming drivers are treated with positivity. If a driver has an issue with a log book, safety personnel will start the discussion talking about the driver’s particular strengths before addressing where he needs to do better. “Usually it is an eye-opening experience, taking that approach rather than beating the driver up over it,” says Roberts.

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Jeff Crissey is the Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. In his role, Crissey is responsible for maintaining the excellent print editorial product, improving online audience development and increasing CCJ readers' knowledge of business and safety-related industry issues. Crissey holds a Bachelor's Degree from Auburn University and has been a member of Randall-Reilly Publishing's editorial staff for 14 years, where his coverage of industry topics has earned numerous regional and national awards over the years.