You can’t spell “trucking compliance” without “caring.” Try and you’ll end up with “tukomplince,” which sounds like some trendy Amazonian superfruit or an impossible yoga position.
And—much like an impossible yoga position—compliance for compliance’s sake will have your business tying itself up in knots. In the face of myriad regulations, penalties, and legal risks, it’s easy to focus on the costs of compliance and forget what’s it’s really about: your drivers’ well-being.
Compliance versus tukomplince: it’s a subtle distinction in attitude, but one that separates successful transportation companies from their not-so-successful counterparts.
The Culture Difference
Garth Pitzel will tell you that in the 1990s, as Bison Transport grew into one of North America’s largest fleets by adding over 100 trucks a year, the company aimed just to be ‘compliant’ with safety regulations while focusing more on how to deliver customer freight on time, every time.
Yet Pitzel, Bison’s director of safety and driver development, said that mindset left the carrier with a 35% to 40% driver turnover rate along with insurance claims that fluctuated in ‘extreme peaks and valleys,’ leaving Bison at ‘the mercy of results’ which ‘affected our insurance rates terribly.’
What changed? Adding “caring” back to all that tukomplince. Says Pitzel: “It’s about caring; demonstrating respect for your people by caring for their safety. … At the end of the day, you are making decisions first and foremost focused on the safety of your people.
Once Bison rebuilt its culture and compliance programs to emphasize driver safety, countless business benefits followed. For one, the company reduced its turnover rate by 20%, with only 6% due to safety issues; according to Pitzel, drivers now join rather than leave the company due to its safety reputation. Moreover, Bison has saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in insurance and earned $27 million in driver safety bonuses as of last year.
Be Like Bison
Those extraordinary results demonstrate the critical impact a smart compliance program—and not just compliance for compliance’s sake—can have on a business’s bottom line. Transportation companies should pay attention to Bison’s example and consider adopting a driver-first company culture centered on…
- employee support
- ongoing skills development (not simply training)
- retention, especially for new hires
For more insight into the values listed above, make sure to read the full Fleet Owner article here.