As part of covering ongoing trends in mobile technology, CCJ has been following Paper Transport’s strategy of using Samsung tablets and applications to improve the work experience for drivers.
CCJ recognized the company as an Innovator in 2018 for developing SmartETA, an application that assists drivers with trip planning details by projecting accurate arrival times for planned stops on their routes.
One of the initial motivations for leadership of Paper Transport, Inc. (PTI) to deploy the Samsung tablets was to further advance the company’s safety culture by infusing a cadence of driver training.
The Green Bay, Wis.-based company has been growing rapidly and now has 920 drivers that work in regional, dedicated, local, and intermodal operations out of the Midwest and Southern United States.
For training, PTI initially chose a vendor with video-based online courses. Using the tablets, drivers were assigned quarterly and monthly training to complete online and given daily safety messages.
Less than three years into the partnership, PTI was ready to move on. The video content was old and stale, notes Ben Schill, vice president of PTI. Drivers were not engaged and getting them to complete assignments was “nothing but a pain in the butt,” he says.
Finding the right fit
After conducting an extensive search and evaluation of products, PTI chose the DRIVE FIRST training collection and online learning management system (LMS) from Luma Brighter Learning.
The Luma platform met all objectives for PTI, which included allowing drivers to control the speed of their learning, enhancing their ability to retain information, and enabling the company to quickly develop and deploy custom content as needed.
“What we really loved about Luma is they are an adult learning company with the knowledge and experience to reach the learner at an individual level by catering the training in ways that actually makes the message stick,” Schill says.
DRIVE FIRST has over 300 individual learning modules called Luma eNuggets that cover a variety of safety, compliance and orientation topics. The modules engage drivers in a game-like learning environment with various media options. The eNuggets can be easily customized to add company-specific policies and procedures.
“Luma’s instructional design team has studied adult learning and knows how to generate content that is engaging, enjoyable and retainable for drivers. They work with us side by side to build new content,” says Julie Decker, organizational development manager of PTI.
DRIVE FIRST also gave PTI a system to eliminate paperwork. Fleet administrators had been faxing, scanning and emailing copies of paper forms drivers filled out during orientation and manually entering data into back-office systems.
By using DRIVE FIRST in partnership with Luma, Paper Transport has been able to:
- Reduce early-stage driver turnover. The company reduced turnover within the first 90 days of employment by 35% using DRIVE FIRST in combination with other strategies.
- Engage drivers in learning. Getting drivers to complete monthly and quarterly eNugget training assignments is a “non-issue,” and the monthly “hit volume” for self-learning is increasing every month. “Drivers will go in and take modules on their own, which is a very different environment than we had before,” Decker says.
- Build a resource library. PTI has developed custom modules that give drivers convenient access to information. For instance, drivers can enter the last 6 digits of their truck VIN into a module to view helpful tidbits for operating their vehicle.
- Quickly launch new programs. In mid-2019, the company deployed a custom training module to speed its transition to using the ELD specification for electronic logs. The training made the AOBRD to ELD transition “almost a non-issue for us as an organization,” Schill says. “That training was a very quick solution for keeping us ahead of the curve.”
- Eliminate paperwork. PTI embeds all manner of employment and policy forms in DRIVE FIRST. Drivers complete forms digitally and the data flows into its back-office systems. Forms are also pre-populated with some information, such as names and addresses, to save drivers time. “Paperless forms have been incredibly meaningful for us. We do all our orientation paperwork electronically and have simplified downstream processes such as the annual recertification of driver qualification files,” Decker says.
Creating a better network for onboarding
After PTI began using Luma training, PTI leaders saw an opportunity to shore up its orientation process to reduce early-stage driver turnover.
“One of the problems we noticed in orientation is that we were trying to pack hours of learning into two days,” Schill says. “Retention on that training never was as strong as we wanted it to be.”
PTI decided to time the release of training over the first 90 days of employment. For example, drivers complete enough orientation training to prepare them for the job and other training, such as for insurance benefits, is assigned after orientation “when it is most meaningful to them,” Decker says.
Besides using DRIVE FIRST to assign training, PTI uses the LMS to stay connected with drivers by sending daily safety messages, surveys and other forms of communication. The LMS sends emails that appear directly in the driver messaging workflow of PTI’s mobile fleet management system in the tablets.
Continuous improvement efforts yield results
PTI continues to find ways to create more value with the flexible DRIVE FIRST platform.
The company is planning to add another level of gamification to the training experience for drivers by awarding extra points to their scorecards for completing non-required modules. Leaders also want to assign training automatically for certain situations, such as when a driver underperforms in certain scorecard metrics.
Another pursuit involves the use of predictive analytics to automatically trigger driver training assignments from DRIVE FIRST.
“If we can deploy training to help avoid accidents or improve performance in any way before it becomes a negative, that is ultimately where we need to be,” Decker says.