A new age of learning
Technology reshapes how carriers manage safety, compliance
Most fleet executives consider new driver orientation and training to be core processes. Unlike payroll, document management and other administrative tasks, these processes might be the last ones they would consider outsourcing – at least not completely.
Orientation and training are part of a company’s culture and financial well-being, considering the potential savings from accident reduction and driver turnover. Companies also might consider these programs to be part of their competitive advantage.
Increasingly, technology is reshaping the way fleets are conducting orientation and training. In some cases, fleets are electing to outsource some functions to make those programs more efficient and effective.
Many fleets already have streamlined their hiring procedures by using paperless systems to process online, fax, mail or phone applications. Besides speeding the application process, technology can maximize the effectiveness of the time drivers spend in orientation. Before drivers arrive, some fleets are having them complete skill assessments and training online. Test results can be reviewed before orientation and the curriculum tailored to individual needs.
In addition to doing pre-assessments and targeted training, some fleets are using new types of media to improve the learning process. Driver simulators are effective for assessing and improving driver skills, but they also are expensive. An alternative approach is to use the interactive plasma touchscreen “whiteboards” that can incorporate video and other electronic media for learning. Baylor Trucking, a 300-truck carrier based in Milan, Ind., plans to incorporate this technology in its driver orientation process, says Cari Baylor, director of sales and information technology.
When drivers are in the classroom, the latest interactive training tools help drivers advance at their own pace and provide instructors with instant feedback. These technologies also may help carriers save money by compressing their orientation process from several days to perhaps only one day.
Drivers can be assigned training based on need.
Technology also can be used to extend the same type of interactive training beyond the classroom to the cab and wherever else drivers roam. The latest onboard computing and mobile devices have color touchscreen displays and high-speed wireless communications. These platforms enable video and other electronic training materials to be sent, on demand, to drivers in the cab. Drivers also can access the same media from laptops or smartphones with an Internet connection.
The challenge with this new technology is managing the content and delivering it to drivers based on individual needs. With the rollout of Comprehensive Safety Analysis, carriers will need to respond more quickly to violations that occur, by driver, to be most effective in managing their compliance and safety scores.
ACS Expedited Solutions recently announced a comprehensive approach to managing fleet safety and compliance under CSA. Its new CSAdvantage service will include applicant processing, assistance with developing media and content for orientation and training, and a learning management system (LMS), among others.
CSAdvantage will incorporate data analytics from Vigillo to identify drivers in need of intervention based on violations and the overall BASIC score using the new CSA methodology. CSAdvantage also captures hours-of-service information from clients that use the ACS RapidLog scanning and auditing system, as well as from customers’ electronic logging systems. All of this information will be integrated into the LMS, which will use workflow tools to automate the intervention process for drivers.
CSAdvantage is scheduled to be ready by the second week of January. This new outsourcing service is an example of the new types of opportunities that exist for using the latest technology to develop a comprehensive, targeted training strategy – and increase safety and compliance. n
Aaron huff is Senior Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal.
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