By Kenny Lund, ALC, Corporate
The Supply Chain has never been more appreciated or misunderstood than in the past year. This is a good time to give a reminder of the most important person in this wonderful chain of supplies traversing this great country: THE DRIVER. Yes, the driver!
They are the ones who make the whole system work. They work day and night to make sure the store shelves are stocked and ready for sales each and every day. They are the heroes of the road and must be recognized and appreciated or we are doomed to see them dwindle in numbers, leading to even more expensive transportation prices.
Years ago, when I was brokering loads from California to the Southeast, I had a favorite shipper. I moved two refrigerated loads a week to Atlanta for a small bakery operation. I never had trouble finding a carrier to take the loads. In fact, I had drivers call to see if those specific bakery loads were available and even had a few wait a day or two until they could take a load of pastries.
I assumed drivers liked the loads because they were one pick – one drop loads that were easy to haul, as they were very light weight. I could cover those loads for less per mile rates than just about any other loads available. That small shipper almost always paid the lowest rates around – often $100-$200 less than the going rate.
One day I asked a driver why they liked these loads so much. The driver gave me an answer that I have never forgotten. He told me that they treated the drivers very well and gave each one a case of their confectionary creations. They asked that they take good care of the load and deliver it in good order. The drivers were always appreciative and I never remembered a claim on any of those loads. I have often reflected on that shipper.
An inexpensive box of pastries was a genius move that spoke well of the bakery. I am sure their employees were also well taken care of in that kind of culture. They gained so much just by being decent to the drivers and sharing a box of goodies with them. In turn, their loads were well taken care of and they saved on their transportation costs.
Those pastries teach a great lesson. Treat people well and they will give you better service. Be decent and they will go out of their way to make sure your loads are protected. I have heard many good and bad stories of drivers’ treatment on the docks. The shippers and receivers who take good care of and appreciate the drivers will always do better.
In the produce world this is even more important, as the drivers must take extra care when handling perishable products. Take time to talk to the drivers and give them the information they need to take care of the product loaded into their trailers. Drivers are key and we must take care of them and recognize their role in this amazing supply chain. God bless the drivers!
Kenny Lund graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a degree in Business Administration and managed the refrigerated transportation division in Los Angeles for eight years, before shifting full-time into managing the Information and Technology Department in 1997; becoming the Vice President of the department in 2002. Lund was promoted to Vice President – Support Operations in 2005. In 2014, Kenny, in the position of VP of ALC Logistics, began working with that division of ALC to sell their software solution (TMS). In 2019, Lund was promoted to Executive Vice President of ALC Logistics.