Lately, the trucking industry has been fighting efforts by state governments that could restrict, if not altogether prevent, motor carriers from contracting with owner-operators.
California’s A.B. 5 law has temporarily been cleared but it could resurface again. Apart from legal battles, motor carriers and logistics companies that use owner-operators are looking for ways to strengthen the business model and improve driver satisfaction.
SunteckTTS, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based full-service transportation and logistics provider with a fleet of more than 1,000 owner-operators, had been using an English-only collection of passive and outdated video-based driver training courses.
Management wanted its orientation and ongoing training programs to be interactive and engaging for an increasingly diverse population of owner-operators.
In October 2019, Fred Bruno, director of safety for SunteckTTS, evaluated the DRIVE FIRST learning management system (LMS) from Luma Brighter Learning. The LMS comes with a collection of more than 400 learning modules, called Luma eNuggets, that cover relevant safety, compliance and orientation topics.
As part of the evaluation, Bruno and a six-member safety management team completed a variety of eNuggets in the DRIVE FIRST collection. All agreed the modules kept them engaged with a game-like learning environment.
Some of team’s favorite modules had interactive features, such as “Placing Emergency Warning Devices”, where they moved safety triangles to the proper distances behind a parked truck on a road. Another module, “Reasonable Suspicion Training: Prohibited Drugs in the Workplace & Effects of Drug Use” has learners complete a crossword puzzle.
“Everybody loved how interactive the training is,” Bruno says. The safety team was also impressed with the flexibility to customize the eNuggets with company-specific policies, information and authentic content.
The Luma eNuggets utilize various media — text, audio, video and animation — that match driver learning preferences. Some like to read. Others prefer to listen, and some learn best with video or interactive content. All of the modules have an embedded reader that gives drivers the option to listen to the content in their native languages.
SunteckTTS went live with DRIVE FIRST on Nov. 1, 2019. To date, all of the feedback that management has received from drivers is positive. Bruno credits the platform for achieving training success in these areas:
- Accessible learning. SunteckTTS recruits a diverse group of owner-operators in the Southeast, from Spanish-speaking drivers in Miami and Texas to Bosnian-speaking drivers in Jacksonville, Fla. With DRIVE FIRST the company is able to train drivers in their native languages to maximize engagement and efficiency.
- Flexible orientation. The training is completed by drivers according to their individual needs and learning pace. Some drivers get through the program in five days; others complete orientation in one day. No matter the situation, “we are getting resounding applause from drivers,” Bruno says. “I’ve had drivers tell me ‘that was best training I’ve done.’”
- Ongoing training. Following orientation, drivers continue using DRIVE FIRST as a reference guide for safety and company policy information. Drivers also have training assignments if they get safety or maintenance violations. For maintenance-related violations, drivers have to complete an eNugget with a custom video that demonstrates how to perform a proper pre-trip inspection. Drivers then fill out and sign an electronic driver-vehicle inspection report (DVIR) using the online platform.
Expanded benefits of online training
In addition to using DRIVE FIRST for orientation and ongoing driver training, the company is improving learning efficiencies and outcomes for its nationwide agent network.
SunteckTTS provides shipper customers with full-service transportation and logistics solutions through a nationwide network of more than 200 capacity agents that dispatch its owner-operator fleet.
The agents utilize a proprietary, cloud-based technology platform to coordinate the truckload shipments, which are primarily dry van and intermodal, with capacity from its owner-operator fleet and partner carriers.
Currently, SunteckTTS agents have been assigned eNuggets to complete for Hours of Service rules, Reasonable Suspicion Training and Coercion to comply with federal regulations.
“Agents that have completed the training have all said how much they loved it,” Bruno says. “It has been great to hear the positive reviews coming back. Not one person has said something bad.”
Through its partnership with Luma, SunteckTTS has training media and content that utilizes the latest instructional design technology and adult learning methods. The content is also current and relevant, for which Bruno credits Luma’s willingness to listen and respond quickly to feedback and suggestions.
“Whatever we bring to Luma, they say ‘let’s do it,’” Bruno says. “They are teaching people and we are trucking people. When you put the two together it makes a great product.”