Expediter PTL shifts to one-day driver orientation, saves thousands

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Updated Nov 5, 2019
PTL has saved “tens of thousands” of dollars by compressing its driver orientation training from three days to one, says Tyler Billeg, vice president of driver development.PTL has saved “tens of thousands” of dollars by compressing its driver orientation training from three days to one, says Tyler Billeg, vice president of driver development.

Orientation training was cumbersome and inefficient at Premium Transportation Logistics (PTL), a provider of expedite hauling and logistics, based in Toledo, Ohio. New drivers were spending several days in its office to complete the requisite paper forms, online courses and safety quizzes. PTL wanted to give its drivers a more thorough, seamless and interactive learning experience.

In early spring of 2018, PTL partnered with instructional design company Luma Brighter Learning after it had evaluated several vendors and products. Luma’s expertise in learning science and technology stood out to Tyler Billeg, vice president of driver development.

“We were looking for a real partnership that would be more than just a vendor-customer relationship,” he says. “Luma has the best interests of drivers and carriers in mind. We felt good about partnering with good people. That is what we were looking for and once we saw the DRIVE FIRST platform it was a no brainer.”

The DRIVE FIRST learning management system (LMS) from Luma has a collection of more than 300 individual learning modules called Luma eNuggets. The modules cover relevant safety, compliance, orientation, and health & wellness topics informed by Luma’s users and clients in the trucking industry.

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.

PTL went paperless by working with Luma to integrate a Rapid Forms tool in DRIVE FIRST with its driver applicant tracking system from a third-party vendor. Drivers recruited by PTL now get an email with a hyperlink to complete forms and training modules online prior to arriving for orientation. Names, addresses and other data fields in forms are auto-populated to save drivers time.

Since PTL began using Luma DRIVE FIRST in early 2018, the carrier has been able to:

  • Streamline recruiting. PTL nearly doubled the size of its fleet of driver contractors in 2018 without hiring more recruiters and other office staff. Billeg credits Rapid Form and the more efficient training process for being able to handle significantly more recruits and increase throughput for orientation.
  • Establish one-day orientation. Before partnering with Luma, PTL’s orientation was a three-day event. Drivers spent one day on paperwork, one day on classroom instruction and another day watching videos. Drivers now complete training online before arriving. “That doesn’t always happen but typically it gets done,” says Billeg. Drivers who complete the training are much more likely to show up for orientation and stay with the company, he says, and credits the shortened orientation for saving “tens of thousands of dollars” in labor, hotel and food costs.
  • Personalize the learning experience. PTL customized its Luma eNuggets with company-specific policies and procedures and also created training groups in DRIVE FIRST for delivery van, straight truck, truckload and fleet owner-operators. Each driver group is assigned relevant e-Nugget modules that engage them with various media in a game-like learning environment.

Improved training delivers better outcomes

The most significant breakthrough for PTL’s orientation is that drivers are learning at their own pace. Rather than passively watching a video online or in a classroom, drivers spend their time reading, listening, playing, and clicking through training that matches their unique learning preferences.

Drivers can provide feedback for the training and fleet administrators use the DRIVE FIRST platform’s analytical tools to understand, track and improve how drivers are learning.

“We have the ability to know what training is getting done and more importantly that it is being done correctly,” Billeg says. “Drivers seem to like our orientation more than other carriers. It is more seamless and easier to understand. We try to hit the key points and move on.”

In addition to using DRIVE FIRST for orientation training, PTL assigns monthly training. Drivers who complete the assignments are eligible to receive the company’s driver-of-the-month award.

PTL continues adding new training in partnership with Luma. For instance, if the company decides to switch its fleet of 80 trucks to a different provider for electronic logging devices (ELDs), Billeg plans to train drivers using an e-Nugget rather than bringing them into the office.

“We talk to Luma all the time about things we are dealing with that can be solved through remote training,” he says. “The value of our partnership can’t be overstated.”