How Payne Trucking quickly adapted its driver training to work during a pandemic

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, Payne Trucking needed to quickly create a virtual driver training program for its specialty fleet of end dump trailers.When the coronavirus pandemic hit, Payne Trucking needed to quickly create a virtual driver training program for its specialty fleet of end dump trailers.

From the start of the coronavirus pandemic, motor carriers had to rethink their strategies for driver orientation because of new health hazards associated with in-person contact and classroom training.

Additionally, COVID-19 has companies looking for new technologies that can improve the job experience and create better training outcomes amid a rapidly changing work environment.

Payne Trucking wanted to streamline the administrative side of driver orientation and develop custom online training content for its niche in dry bulk and hazardous materials transport with end dump trailers.

After evaluating competing learning management systems (LMS), in the spring of 2020 the Fredericksburg, Virginia-based carrier quickly implemented the Luma eNugget LMS platform to fulfill its unique training and documentation needs.

Payne Trucking operates more than 130 tractors that power its specialized fleet of 800 end dump trailers, dry vans and storage containers with a service network that covers the Midwest and Eastern states from Florida into Canada.

The platform from Luma Brighter Learning has modern, user-friendly instructional design templates that “leave it up to your own imagination” to create and customize training content, said Chris Haney, Payne Trucking’s director of health, safety, security, environment (HSSE) and human resources.

Chris Haney, director of health, safety, security, environment (HSSE) and human resources for Payne Trucking.Chris Haney, director of health, safety, security, environment (HSSE) and human resources for Payne Trucking.

“I haven’t found any other LMS that offers the freedom that Luma does,” he said. “I can do all of this in house.”

The Luma platform comes with a collection of more than 450 individual learning modules, called Luma eNuggets, that cover relevant safety, compliance and orientation topics with multi-media tailored to the learning preferences and culture of truck drivers.

All of the Luma eNuggets can be customized with company-specific policies and content. Additionally, the modules come with embedded driver feedback tools for rating and commenting.

Luma and its customers use the real-time driver feedback to quickly adapt content and media to improve driver engagement, attention and learning outcomes.

Payne Trucking had previously used an LMS with “canned” training courses. The content was too generic for its specialized training needs and too difficult and expensive to customize. When drivers took a safe driving or equipment inspection course, for example, they still needed one-on-one instruction to understand the distinctions of Payne Trucking’s specialty equipment.

In the few months Payne Trucking has been using the Luma eNugget LMS platform, it has seen improved training efficiencies and outcomes by:

Virtualizing orientation: When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Payne Trucking reduced its two-day in-house classroom orientation training program to an online experience. Drivers remotely complete paperwork and training courses from any location and come to headquarters for one day of specialized hands-on equipment training before being handed off to a driver trainer.

Digitizing forms: Payne Trucking eliminated orientation paperwork using the Luma Rapid Forms tool. During the COVID-19 crisis, Haney created eNuggets to provide guidance to drivers, shop personnel and office staff with digital forms to fill out and sign to receive federal emergency sick leave benefits.

Expanding training: Besides training drivers, Haney has developed company-wide orientation, remedial and refresher training courses for non-driver associates from driver trainers to mechanics and operations staff. The LMS automatically sends out assignments at employment milestones such as a 90-day continuing educational training package for drivers.

Payne Trucking created end dump trailer training modules for drivers by capturing aerial footage of unloading different types of products.Payne Trucking created end dump trailer training modules for drivers by capturing aerial footage of unloading different types of products.

Improving safety: Payne Trucking uses a cloud-based application from SpeedGauge to track and manage speed trends and driver behaviors from its fleet telematics data. After noticing risk increase during the COVID-19 pandemic, Haney created an eNugget on speeding. The module had a 100% participation rate from drivers, and Payne Trucking moved into the top safety quartile of SpeedGauge customers. “I believe that had a lot to do with the way we are able to present awareness with this particular eNugget,” Haney said.

Custom training on-demand

Haney and his staff of Donna Cutshaw, acting as in-house Luma administrator, and Rob Clark, safety and traning manager, are always coming up with new ideas and strategies for training and communication. Recently, Payne Trucking purchased a drone to capture aerial footage of the fleet’s 40-foot end dump trailers unloading products that include salt, dirt, sand, aggregates, gravel, stone and glass recyclables, to name a few.

“All products come out differently when you put a dump trailer 40 feet in the air,” Haney said. In colder months, some products freeze and come out unevenly. This may cause trailers to tip over. “We can talk about it all day long, but to take drone footage of unloading different types of products and put them in a training module — I don’t know how to put a value on that.”

Payne Trucking also uses its Luma eNugget LMS as a valuable communications platform. Haney has been sending drivers and other employees on-the-spot education materials and guidance during the COVID-19 crisis.

He also sends periodic “safety flashes” to educate drivers and document their awareness when the company sees incident or accident trends developing. The LMS tracks driver completion and assessment results. To date the company has had a 100% participation rate from drivers.

“Not only am I getting proof that drivers have received it, and completed it, but more importantly from the liability side there is a realized level of comprehension, and that is priceless,” he said.