Improving Drivers’ Success? There’s an App For That

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Posted on October 7th 2014 7:49 PM

Trucking companies commonly offer drivers traditional safety bonuses and other incentives for drivers who maximize efficiencies, maintain equipment and reduce waste, but in the midst of a driver shortage some carriers are looking to new technology to improve the concept.

As reported by CCJ magazine as part of its ‘Innovator” series, Marshfield, Wis.-based Roehl Transport – a dry van, refrigerated, flatbed and dedicated services carrier – rolled its “Your Choice” program into its MyRoehl app for mobile devices, allowing drivers to look at their scorecard in real-time, which shows monthly performance.

The company isn’t necessarily re-inventing the wheel, but perhaps finding better ways of using today’s technology.

“We already were predisposed with the idea of pay for performance, so it became a matter of how we could do it better and make sure our best performers are getting the top pay,” Greg Koepel, Roehl’s vice president of workforce development and administration, tells CCJ.

In many performance-based pay programs in the trucking industry, driver compensation systems are related to time on the job, often taking effect only after a driver has been employed for at least a year, with additional pay increases on subsequent anniversaries.

“We didn’t like that approach,” says Koepel. “Someone who is relatively inexperienced could be a high performer, and why should they have to wait five or six years to experience the highest pay levels in the organization? If they are performing at a high level, let’s offer them a pathway to a high level of compensation as well.”

At its core, the Your Choice pay plan measures drivers in six main categories:

  • Productivity
  • On-time service
  • Roadside inspections
  • Credentials
  • Preventable costs
  • Fuel efficiency

Drivers earn points for good performance and are deducted points in categories for such things as incurring preventable costs. Each quarter, the points are totaled, and the driver falls into one of 10 mileage-based pay levels, measured to the thousandth of a cent, based on the performance points they’ve earned.

“This is real-time,” says Koepel. “If you are performing right now, we want your pay to reflect that … We want to pay you for that safety now rather than waiting for some lagging period of time to say ‘You did good – here’s some money for that.’ ”

This helps eliminate what Koepel refers to as the “yo-yo” effect that otherwise would create wide fluctuations in pay from quarter to quarter.

One unique aspect of Roehl’s performance-based pay program is the built-in “braking” mechanism that doesn’t automatically move a driver to a lower pay level if they have a bad quarter. In the Your Choice pay plan, a driver would have to accrue consecutive “down” quarters before their pay is adjusted to a lower level. A driver never will go below the minimum mileage pay established for his or her years of service.

Drivers can earn extra points for doing jobs that other carriers don’t consider part of the process, such as tarping a load, sitting at a border crossing and clean inspections. In the productivity measurement category, drivers can also earn points for loaded and empty miles, live loads, drop-and-hook events, congested ZIP code deliveries and detention time.

“Very often, the only productivity measurement most companies use is miles,” says Koepel. “We recognize that there are a lot of things that drivers do on our behalf that either constrain their productivity but are an important requirement of doing the job, and we want to be able to recognize that activity.”

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