Forward saves on driver training costs, improves compliance with virtual orientation

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Updated Jul 23, 2020
Since the Spring of 2019, Forward has trained more than 1,000 drivers with its virtual orientation program, which is saving the company about $1,000 per event.Since the Spring of 2019, Forward has trained more than 1,000 drivers with its virtual orientation program, which is saving the company about $1,000 per event.

Forward Air Corp. wanted new drivers to have a seamless orientation experience to its Pickup and Delivery (PUD), Forward Final Mile (FFM) and Forward Solutions (pool distribution) business segments.

To accomplish this, management saw a need to replace the learning management system (LMS) and video-based training content the company had been using with a modern solution.

Greenville, Tenn.-based Forward (CCJ Top 250, No. 34) is an asset-light freight and logistics business that provides intermodal, expedited regional, inter-regional and national less-than-truckload (LTL) and truckload services (TLS) with a fleet of nearly 3,000 employee and contractor drivers.

The company has a nationwide network of more than 125 terminals with locations near major airports, and a network of pool distribution terminals and final-mile services.

In the spring of 2019, Forward completed a pilot test of the Luma eNugget LMS platform from Luma Brighter Learning. Drivers who went through the new orientation program had a “better learning experience,” said Pat Jones, director of fleet safety. The program was also more efficient for drivers and fleet administrators.

The Luma eNugget LMS platform comes with a collection of more than 400 individual learning modules, called Luma eNuggets, that cover relevant safety, compliance and orientation topics using multi-media designed for the unique learning preferences and learning culture of truck drivers.

During the rollout, Forward asked Luma to develop additional program-specific training content focused on city driving and final-mile deliveries to homes and offices, among other topics.

“We told them what we wanted, and they created it,” said Jones.

Since using the new platform, Jones said that drivers have had zero complaints related to the online training and ease of use. The fleet has also benefitted from the LMS documenting all training events to include the amount of time drivers spend on assigned modules and their scores on knowledge assessments.

Forward has achieved significant results since using the Luma eNugget LMS platform that include:

  • Cost savings: Forward saves around $1,000 every time a driver goes through its virtual orientation program, Jones estimated. With the new LMS, the company has eliminated airfare, hotel and other costs of live training events. To date, more than 1,000 drivers have gone through its orientation program utilizing Luma.
  • Training efficiencies: Luma’s Rapid Forms tool eliminates paperwork by drivers filling out and signing digital payroll and policy documents online. Drivers complete the full Luma orientation program in eight hours, and experience none of the technical problems that frustrated drivers and fleet administrators with the previous LMS and training content, Jones said.
  • Safety improvements: Since using the new training platform, Forward has lowered its Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scores in Unsafe Driving by 19% and Driver Fitness by 5% in the Forward Solutions division that transitioned to 100% Luma online training in the spring of 2019. Jones credits the CSA improvements to using a better product for driver orientation and remedial training.

Combining driver training strategies

Currently, 100% of company and contractor drivers in the PUD, FFM and Forward Solutions business segments are onboarded using Luma online training.

Forward suspended classroom training in early March due to the coronavirus pandemic.  As a solution for its LTL and TLS fleet owners to seat empty trucks, Jones said Forward once again went to Luma to develop an online training option for this segment of the business. Within a week, Forward was able to onboard power seat drivers for its fleet owners by utilizing the technology to conduct virtual driver orientation training.

Forward is also using LumaLive, a video-conferencing tool included in the LMS, for live group training sessions. Fleet administrators send invitations to drivers from the LMS, and drivers login to the secure group training session on the planned date and time. The training sessions are recorded for later viewing if drivers cannot attend live.

In addition to using the Luma eNugget and LumaLive training resources, Forward recently resumed a portion of its classroom training that uses full-scale truck simulators. The company uses the technology at its two largest terminals in Columbus, Ohio and Los Angeles, California, to conduct live skill assessments and training.

“More companies are going to online training, but we’ve made a big investment in truck simulators,” Jones said. “Because of that fact, we will always have some type of classroom.”