Your on the extra board now

Discussion in 'General Food Service Discussion' started by MikeJ, Jun 20, 2014.

  1. MikeJ

    MikeJ Well-Known Member

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    Hi guys,

    So yesterday and today at work were okay, not to bad learned another valuable lesson today, but this pill was a tad easier to swallow then the yellow poll pill I swallowed on Wednesday ha-ha!

    When I was hired on I was hired on as a CDL helper and was really just a glorified route helper. Well that lasted all of 7 weeks. The past 2 days the company was short drivers and had no choice, they put me out for 3 days running routes on my own, which was bound to happen sooner or later, it was just to tempting and juicy not to. So they put a CDL helper out on 3 routes. One was a real doosey to say the least the company knew it was a tough one, however they did say to me they knew that I would have delivered all the stops. I told them "Well yeah I had no choice." However they kind of felt bad and dispatched a cargo van to help.

    Luckily, the past 2 routes were in neighbor hoods that I knew much much much better and along streets I knew much much much better and the stop count was less.

    Any how when I was done at work they had me come into the bosses office the captain boss was on vacation this week, but the lieutenants have a lot of push pull so they sat me down and said "We like what we see, were pulling you off of helper status and putting you on the extra board. You'll get a pay raise, (I also think I am now after 90 days or so eligible for company benefits like real health insurance.) Any how I now have a real driver number, unlike today when I had to call into customer service and the woman goes "Who are you? I've never heard of you before do you have a driver number?" I said "No I'm just a helper with a CDL who just so happens to be driving a route today. I don't even know where I stand." She goes "Ha! well, were all in crazy town here I read you loud and clear on that one."

    Another driver I had got to work with used to call customer service and tell them "We got big problems here, big big problems." Even if it was something real stupid like a miss pick or internal pallet damage or something that wasn't the end of the world.

    Any how they promoted me to extra board and then gave me a $50.00 gift card to Outback Steak House. I guess that gift card came from upstairs. It was an award for going above and beyond. I literally said to them "I went above and beyond?" They said "Well your a helper and you took an A truck out into the city 3 days in a row running routes I would say that's above and beyond."

    So I guess now I kind of made, it, but a good example of things. Today went pretty good, I'll tell you the lesson I learned in a minute, but as far as driving goes, all the stops I had I made sure to know exactly how I was going to get out and like I would pull into a stop and even if I had to walk a little further, trust me I'll take the extra few feet I can drive a two wheeler a lot quicker then screwing my self and having to wiggle the truck out of some disaster like I ran into on Wednesday, just easier, to walk the two wheeler and way faster to, the extra steps don't take as long compared to all the other ignorant things that can happen.

    Plus the reason I do this job is for the exerciser, it really is. I mean if I wanted I could go drive a charter bus, but I like being able to drink the Coke that comes in a glass bottle and eating pizza and because work my @$$ off everyday handling cases of beer and fighting with beer kegs, the helper who was with me Wednesday and Thursday loved kegs he was like Oh a Keg I'll get it! He was all running around stacking kegs and taking kegs two at a time down the stairs. He was all excited about doing kegs. Today we had a fair amount of kegs they gave me a helper today too.

    Some of the warehouse people work as helpers. The kid who was with me the past 2 days he was like an intern and also worked in the warehouse some and also worked as a helper. He was just 20 years old and I guess is in school to be a business logistics major, he was really a good worker and I was glad I had him.

    He said the beer company I now work for as a driver was going to train him to get his CDL if he wanted it. He seemed pretty excited about getting a CDL through the company. Which is good if you have the opportunity, it's good that this company really has some training set up, obviously I was trained on my own, which in a way the one nice thing about truck driving school was I was able to control my whole fate so to say I paid the money was able to get all my endorsements and then made it through.

    Like okay I told the kid the one thing I have that not a lot of people have is passenger bus. That was a big one. I also explained to the kid all the different endorsements that there are and how that whole situation works.

    I also explained to him the difference between what we do in distribution and OTR truck load. Like he never really heard of log books and I said "Here at the beer company were within a 100 mile air radious of the terminal so we don't need to be on log books, but if you work OTR truck load you can't just drive till your hearts content. There's an 11 and 14 rule you have to follow and a 34 hour reset at the end of 8 working days. It's not like this, I think I said go to the truck stop and buy a log book and study the rules and play with it, you'll see how it works.

    I said plus there's different logistics I said truck load carriers are companies like Swift, Werner, Schneider, US Xpress, Crete , Martin, Millis we get a lot of Millis where I work I didn't even get into flatbed carriers like Melton or TMC, but there truck load too or Intermodal like JB Hunt. He said in OTR truck load do you have to use a two wheeler and make deliveries and I said "Yes sometimes, but most of the time, you don't really touch the freight at all." Pretty much your going from manufacturing plant to warehouse to warehouse.

    I said the big difference with OTR though is, you can be gone from home for 6 weeks at a time living in your truck the truck load companies are the trucks that have the sleeper cabs.

    Any how to the lesson I learned today, that lesson is slow down and double check the bays when you are actually at your delivery. I delivered the wrong pallet to a store today and had to go back to collect the right pallet. I learned that sometimes it pays to pause take an extra second and double check. I hate moving slow it's partially because I am half German and like when they tell me 5:00am you should be at work that to me, means like at 5:00am I should be pulling out of the yard on my way to my first stop, but sometimes you have to take a deep breath and go were going to waste a whole lot more time, if we have to go back and reload. I mean I know there isn't a person out there who hasn't accidentally had a short or delivered the wrong thing somewhere it happens to everyone, I've done it I'm sure I'm not the only one who was. It's not the first time it happens and we'd be kidding our selves if we said it wouldn't be the last.
     
  2. TedWard

    TedWard on the Chainwax

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    That was kinda weird but we're back in the club

    I've left a pallet behind before accidentally and had to return to get it, and in our business, well, some restaurants have multiple locations, some drivers (not me no never) have delivered the entire stop to the wrong location, because they didn't read the address on the invoice, or weren't aware of the other location. Of course having our router constantly change up our routes and stops doesn't help. The people at the restaurant many times aren't aware either and sign the papers automatically and it's a big big mess to clean up, but it happens.

    Now, it's great that they will train the kid to get his CDL, but, if he does and becomes a driver, it might affect his schoolwork adversely. I'd be so tempted to take it because having a CDL and a clean driving record is so valuable in this economy, because as we know, there is a driver shortage in this country, we need like thirty billion more drivers, there's that much freight, or that's what the CDL mill told me.

    It would be great if he had his CDL because it's one more skill he could always fall back on if he ever desperately needed to find work, but I wouldn't trade it for finishing his edumacation.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 22, 2014
  3. MikeJ

    MikeJ Well-Known Member

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    That's the one thing I never got either, driver shortage? Why is there always such an adverse driver shortage? It's not just trucking either I get emails from Charter bus companies asking me if I am ready to come over to there side of the line. The company I work for and I've said this like 100xs now is starved for drivers. Heck both Sysco Cleveland and Mains Food and Paper have had ads on the radio for drivers. Almost every school district has signs out looking for school bus drivers. Bedford City Schools, Berea and Medina, Ohio there school bus yards all have big banners out front that read WANTED: CDL DRIVERS CALL: 123-456-7891

    The Budweiser distributor here in town is also hiring same with the Rolling Rock distributor as well. Who else MBM in Columbus,Ohio. The only company here in Cleveland that really isn't hurting for drivers is Gordon Food Service. I look look look and GFS doesn't really have anything around here. Once in a while they need chain alliance drivers to work out of the Springfield,Ohio warehouse, but the GFS yard here in Cleveland seems to not have that much turn over. I don't really check the tanker truck lines, because I don't feel I am qualified to do that, nor do I want to. I know Shell here in Cleveland there private fleet drivers make good money, but you have to have experience to work for Shell and that's tanker and you know once your in the food business, your in the food business, it's a hard business, but it's also kind of a hard business to leave as well.

    The Estes terminal in North Ridgeville, Ohio always has a now hiring sing up in the front yard same with the Central Transport terminal. Also if you go down LTL row in Richfield, Ohio near the old CF break bulk terminal you see Ward, New England Motor Freight and FedEx LTL all of those companies have now hiring signs in the front yard.

    I think this kid was going to continue to go to college at Ohio State which is what I would have advised him to do. He said they were going to let him merchandise which could be good to that could get him into the sales department and he could be a sales person within the company. My moms friends husband works as a sales man here at Sysco Cleveland in fact a few years ago I had the opportunity to work in the warehouse at Sysco Cleveland I turned it down, but I mean if I wanted to after doing beer I could go to Sysco actually there a close drive from my house.

    As far as education I didn't go to truck driving school until I had got my associates degree.
     
  4. TedWard

    TedWard on the Chainwax

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    I heard that GFS really has their S together.
     
  5. Lazlo

    Lazlo Active Member

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    I think some of it is demographics, the Boomers are retiring and Gen X and Y didn't move towards the trades like previous generations did because we had " college, college, college " shoved down our throats our whole lives even though a good percentage would've been better off walking into the plumber's union hall the day after graduation to apply for an apprenticeship.

    The rest has a lot to do with the industry itself. We have an image problem: Pilots are seen as clean, respectable people but the avg person sees one overweight, unshowered, dirtball trolling the rest stop for teenage runaways while he throws away his piss bottles and they assume we're all like that and don't want any part of it. OTR drivers are sometimes out for weeks at a time, that's a hard sell when you can make more money working construction and be home every day . Somewhere along the line somebody decided that the DOT hours of service limits should be the template for the standard workweek.
    How many other people go to work everyday with no clue what time they'll be off, knowing that they're expected to work up to 14hrs if told to? It stinks after a while and people bail because of it. Medical requirements are getting tougher too, the whole BMI/sleep study deal is a joke...blaming sleep apnea for us being tired. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the odd shifts, long hours, and the fact that the way most of us are paid incentivizes us to run to the point of exhaustion has nothing to do with it right?
    The flip side: If you can pee clean, keep a reasonably clean driving record, and can tolerate the BS you'll always be able to find work.
     
  6. TedWard

    TedWard on the Chainwax

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    I always emptied mine in the bushes and used them again. I are recycle.

    Sleep apnea is no joke if you have it, I was almost falling asleep at the wheel before getting my machine (driving locally).

    I don't know about an actual shortage of drivers. I've never gone to the store and they've been totally out of all toilet paper because there was a shortage of truck drivers. I've never been to a gas station that did not have gas to sell, you see my point? If we were short of drivers, there would be things unavailable to us on a regular basis, because everything is put on a truck. The shortage of drivers may should be termed the enormous turnover rate of drivers.

    Driving OTR I have had to stay awake for up to 72 hours. I've probably ranted about this before. I'm new, I'm afraid to turn down a load, I need this job I have zero experience. I'm trying to get the hang of it, so I have an 8:00 appointment and I make it, I started my 14 hour clock and I got an empty trailer with 13 hours left, I'm in LA hoping they'll get me something sweet and get me out of there that morning. I've found a truck stop and I'm waiting for the Qualcomm to buzz. I slept good last night, nothing is going on, I look at my laptop and find a grocery store I can walk to and pick up supplies. Stop at a produce stand on the way back and I'm loaded down brother. Look at the Qualcomm, nothing. Try to watch some tv, or a movie or read and try to take a nap, can't, spend the day at this dusty truck stop eating bad food. Lay down around 9:00 maybe I drifted off but the Qualcomm buzzes, they need me to pick up a load at 11:00 and take it where, Nevada or something by 6:00 AM. I have to drive all night now. According to the DOT rules, I've been off duty for ten hours so I'm okay to drive for up to the next fourteen, according to the DOT I can safely stay awake for 27 hours at least, right, I got up at 7 delivered at 8, didn't sleep during the day, but had a ten hour break so I can drive all night.

    In order to do this I'm gonna be guzzling energy drinks and coffee precious coffee all night long.

    I deliver, find a place to park and try to nap but I'm full of stimulants so I'm just laying there, I start to doze off in about an hour and the Qualcomm buzzes, they tell me to pick up a load over here, I drive over there and the load doesn't exist. I park, I lay down almost asleep and the Qualcomm buzzes, they tell me to pick up the same load that doesn't exist, oops sorry. I'm freaked and stressed and highly caffeinated. I toss and turn and toss and turn for hours do I sleep? I don't know, I don't think so, I'm resting because I'm laying down, but I'm not really sleeping, because it's daytime and my circadian rhythm has left the building.

    You must understand that if you are OTR you must conserve your hours, anytime you are not moving, you are off duty. The Qualcomm can buzz or chirp every fifteen minutes, but if you are on line 4 for ten hours you've had your break, and that's what happened, another load and the only way I'll get there on time is if I leave now, drive all night, hope to sleep the next day (which I won't) (do you have any idea how much caffeine is in my system at this moment?) and drive all night the next night to make the delivery window by the second morning.

    The alternative to this is to tell the dispatcher no, or show up to the appointment late, either of which will put you in the poor house, because they won't send you any loads, or any decent ones. I was OTR for a year, after my training, ten months max solo, I was assigned to twelve different dispatchers in those ten months, I figure they go through the dispatchers as fast as the drivers.

    Pay attention everyone. This will happen to you if you have less than two years experience and cannot sign on with a reputable OTR company. And the energy drinks stop working after the second night. The third night is spent rolling the windows up and down turning the radio up all the way, turning up the heat, turning up the AC and pounding your fist, on your thigh trying to keep yourself awake. Another trick is to eat. You don't get tired while you're in the act of eating, so you eat all night. Then you get on the CB radio and start raving like a lunatic because sleep deprivation has sent you over the edge, in case you ever actually heard someone whisper ("I got no panties on"). Or the guy talking about the bowel movement he's about to have, describing it in specific details, then starts singing poop of earl to the tune of duke of earl. That's how it happens.

    I'm sorry, but the DOT HOS need to be revised by a panel of experienced drivers, not a bunch of pencil pushing statistical spouting analysts.
     
  7. Lazlo

    Lazlo Active Member

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    Amen. Turnover is horrendous. I worked for a company once that had no,respect at all for the HOS. I sat there once while my Mgr showed me how to "log right" so I wouldn't run out of hours. Same deal as you described Ted I was young, new to the Company, needed the job, and didnt say no even though I should've. This is one of the reasons I like electronic logs.

    The HOS are a joke, I agree. I think more consideration needs to be given to the type of work that we do. I don't know about you, but 12 or 13 hrs into a shift spent lifting/running/climbing with 1000cs and I'm starting to get pretty loopy. The 16hr rule is a joke too...don't know how anyone can consider someone who's been lumping food for that long as being safe to drive.
     
  8. TedWard

    TedWard on the Chainwax

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    And another complaint would be the ten hours off. I can pull into a truck stop, park, have fuel dinner (made for me) and a shower, get 7 or 8 hours of sleep, grab a coffee and go. A local driver has to add wait, subtract what, 60, 90, 120 minutes from the ten hours for commute time? Bull something smelly.
     
  9. MikeJ

    MikeJ Well-Known Member

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    Yeah that's true we have to drive to work and drive home.
     

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