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The future of trucking depends on drivers under 21

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When a business or person makes a decision and that decision is wrong, what do you do?

You change or suffer the consequences of both that decision and the decision to stay the course with that bad decision.

Many such decisions have been made about our transportation system over the years. Maybe it’s time to assess these decisions and see if any of them can be overturned for the good of the company.

Dr Edwards Deming and Walter Shewhart have developed a simple system for making quality decisions. The problem is, what seems simple isn’t easy and people refuse to do a good job of understanding and executing simplicity.

The PDSA system

Planing. Simple enough. Make a plan. But how much planning? Are you planning everything? Every eventuality? So you planned a system, an example being the 41,000-mile interstate highway system. The interstate highway system has had a negative effect on communities of color. Years later, voices were saying, “Maybe we should do something about this. “

reo. Make the plan. The problem is, most people didn’t anticipate the unforeseeable and never anticipate the unexpected. When flaws in the planning and implementation phase are discovered, instead of following Dr. Deming’s teachings to go back and start over, American companies are moving forward.

“We’ve spent so much so far, we can’t go back to the drawing board.” This, according to Dr. Deming, is a big mistake. The mistake is not to admit that a mistake has been made. Why is it? Because heads must roll in American companies. Responsibility must be assigned in American companies. Too bad most American companies have never heard of Dr. Deming’s philosophy and his fourteen points. Like point eight: drive away fear. In other words, don’t be afraid to admit a mistake; no one should be afraid to continually improve.

Sto study. Every manager wants the perfect study, but history has taught us that many studies are imperfect. Many are flawed because management has a predetermined outcome and must try to cover up the mistakes of the past. Errors in the planning phase. Errors in the making step. “We can’t remove it, we’ve come this far,” is the refrain.

Act. Now the change for better quality is implemented, and when the project fails someone asks, “How the hell did we get to this point? They say we have followed PDSA literally to the letter.

The transportation industry has made major changes, which in retrospect could be seen as bad decisions. Be forewarned, I will only offer a solution to one of the five problems. I want readers to have a chance to reflect on these issues and put them in perspective for future discussions.

The five biggest mistakes in the transportation / logistics industry

1. Lack of diversity and inclusion of all Americans in the transportation industry.

2. Just in time (JIT) delivery.

3. Air movement when moving goods. If you need aerodynamics on a vehicle, you are going too fast and wasting fuel.

4. The trucking industry competes with railways instead of integrating with rail from the start. We have all this rail infrastructure that is used once or twice a day in many areas. Think about it, what else, how can vehicles travel the rails? In today’s world, why build freight locomotive engines producing 4,000 to 18,000 horsepower pulling hundreds of cars? Why not build self-contained 50 horsepower powertrains to move individual wagons one at a time? Why not build a flatbed wagon that could move a tractor, trailer, and driver independently, one at a time, overnight from city to city. I see this as a possible future of transport.

5. The simplest – the one we, as an industry, can solve right now. We have the technology. We have the management system. All we need is the will, the vision for a different future and, of course, lobbyists with the money to grease the cogs of Congress to pass the DRIVE-Safe Act. .

Here is the problem

Somewhere along the line, it was decided that 18-year-olds should not be trusted to drive 80,000-pound vehicles across state lines.

An 18-year-old can drive an 80,000-pound vehicle within a state (not across state borders), but since most trucking is interstate, there is little opportunities for 18 year olds to drive big rigs. The problem with trucking is that by the time a potential driver turns 21, he or she has chosen a career other than truck driving or started college.

[Related: Technology can address concerns with DRIVE-Safe Act]

There are those in the trucking industry who are developing technology to build autonomous trucks. This same technology can be used to educate a new generation of truck drivers. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, student drivers and their instructors can gain immediate feedback on student performance.

In my research on this issue, I discovered two companies with the capabilities that, combined into one system, will revolutionize the trucking industry.

Entering the world of speculative commercial fiction, if and when the Tangerine technical sensor and camera system – and these are very big if and when – is paired with the Tenstreet driver management system, it will train truck drivers. professionals who are constantly improving. program from the first second they take the wheel.

The first thought I wrote was: To become a truck driver, we start with high school graduates with a B average. But on second thought, I was wrong. We should find out for sure who would be a great professional truck driver. Perhaps the child who has an aversion to “learning from books” has a natural ability to go with the flow of traffic.

My vision of training the truck drivers of tomorrow

The student gets behind the wheel of a vehicle equipped with sensors and a management system that notes the quality of each trip, down to the minute if necessary. There is a video of all incidents. Speed, hard braking, tight turns, and ridiculous acceleration all become data the AI ​​system must analyze and record forever.

The system forever records student performance and compares it to yesterday and today, and it predicts how well a student will be tomorrow. The truck drivers of the future will benefit from transparent and continuous supervision.

In other words, there will be no gaps in the performance history of the driver, from student to retiree. In many ways, this system will be like getting an airplane pilot license. A pilot’s experience is recorded by hours, aircraft type, and who the instructor was. A 16-year-old can get a pilot’s license to fly an airplane, but an 18-year-old cannot drive a truck across state lines.

The system can also help recognize outstanding drivers for their success. I can see thoughtful leadership teams developing marks of appreciation for deserving drivers.

Imagine the trucking companies as sports teams and the drivers as the most valuable players. This Tenstreet Tangerine system can process Big Data. The system could evaluate each driver in the system against each other. Just like a sports book has a national rating, the professional truck driver could. All this data is kept in a secure repository and, as in sport, is available to those who need it.


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