Flatbed hauler shortens orientation training by one week

user-gravatar Headshot
Updated Oct 14, 2019
Fraley & Schilling recently revamped its driver orientation program with paperless forms and a new learning management system.Fraley & Schilling recently revamped its driver orientation program with paperless forms and a new learning management system.

On average, driver orientation training classes at motor carriers last four days. Besides filling out paperwork, drivers go through instructor-led training and video instruction for 8 hours a day. Some fleets go well beyond four days to give hands-on training for load securement and other special requirements.

Earlier this year, Fraley & Schilling set a goal to compress its orientation training by going paperless and by improving the learning experience and outcomes for drivers. The flatbed hauler operates more than 500 trucks and also powers dry van and tanker trailers across the eastern half of the United States.

In May 2019, the company implemented a new training collection and online learning management system (LMS) from Luma Brighter Learning called DRIVE FIRST.

With the platform’s Rapid Form tool, recruiters now send drivers an email with a hyperlink to complete employment and policy forms online “before they even step foot in our door,” says Mike Posz, director of safety. Certain fields in the forms such as names and addresses are auto-populated to save drivers time.

“This is definitely the future. Everybody is going to be doing this at some point,” Posz says.

Fraley & Schilling also uses the DRIVE FIRST training modules from Luma to engage drivers in orientation and ongoing monthly training. The collection has more than 300 individual learning modules, called Luma eNuggets, that cover a variety of safety, compliance, orientation, and health & wellness topics.

Since it began using DRIVE FIRST in May 2019, Fraley & Schilling has been able to:

  • Eliminate paperwork. Data from employment forms that drivers complete digitally flow into back-office systems automatically.
  • Personalize training. The company’s previous training platform consisted mostly of videos with PowerPoint slides and people talking. Luma eNuggets utilize various media options and engage drivers in a game-like learning environment. Drivers are assigned custom training packets by job type — flatbed, dry van and tanker — for an individualized learning experience.
  • Compress orientation by a full week. Fraley & Schilling used to have a two-week orientation program. Drivers spent the first week in the classroom and the second week in hands-on training for load securement and other areas. Since it began using Luma, the company has been able to refocus its orientation program on “the areas that matter most,” says Dan Schilling, director of recruiting. Besides reducing the costs of hotel rooms and food, Schilling expects the shortened orientation program to pay dividends in driver retention and revenue.
  • Double monthly participation. In addition to using DRIVE FIRST for orientation training, Fraley & Schilling assigns drivers monthly eNuggets on important safety and health & wellness topics. Driver participation in the monthly training has doubled since the company switched vendors in May.

Developing new training resources

Fraley & Schilling has tailored the user experience of the online platform to match its own branding, from the logo to colors and fonts. The flexible design elements give drivers “a seamless user experience” from recruiting through orientation and beyond, Schilling says.

The DRIVE FIRST training collection from Luma is designed to create a paperless driver orientation and training process.The DRIVE FIRST training collection from Luma is designed to create a paperless driver orientation and training process.

Since partnering with Luma, Fraley & Schilling has added company-specific policies and procedures as well as developed new learning modules. Some custom modules were designed for office employees, such as one for e-mail etiquette.

Departments frequently work together to develop new training. Safety and human resources, for instance, recently developed an eNugget that aims to reduce workers compensation costs. The module shows drivers where injuries are mostly likely to happen and is coupled with an agility test, Posz says.

“It’s an all-out affair here. It’s not just one person or one department,” he says. “We are all going to be better as a result of our team efforts.”

Posz plans to include short videos in eNuggets to supplement hands-on training. Drivers will have a library of resources to access anytime on the road, such as watching a safety or fleet manager from Fraley & Schilling demonstrate how to secure a steel coil.

“All we have to do is send Luma something,” he says. “We send them an idea and they put it together. It is amazing what they are able to do.”

Maximizing driver engagement

Training is a core part of the safety culture at Fraley & Schilling. For drivers, training is also financially rewarding with a year-end safety bonus of which one-third is tied to completing their monthly training assignments.

Before partnering with Luma, the motor carrier had difficulties keeping track of driver status for training completion.

“Luma worked with members of our team to create automated reports that go to all safety and fleet managers every Wednesday morning to report the level of engagement of drivers assigned to them,” Posz says. “This opened up the communication channels.”

Besides having a financial motivation to stay current on training, drivers are engaged by content from Luma that helps them perfect their craft as industry professionals.

“When drivers are committed and engaged in our safety culture, it pays off in more ways than one,” Posz says.