Regular Doctor or Emergency Room?October 5, 2015
Here at ACT, we have many specialized positions that are tailored to meet the needs of drivers, customers, and other stakeholders. Unlike other carriers our size, ACT has made the investment to run three shifts in Operations with 24/7/365 coverage. Other companies just send someone home with a cell phone or force their front line managers to be on-call 24/7. We believe running three shifts is necessary to make sure our drivers and customers are taken care of as well as letting our day time Driver Support Managers, Customer Service Reps, and Planners maintain a work/home life balance. This work/home life balance upholds one of ACT’s Core Values: Family. One of the most important positions that often gets overlooked is the role that keeps the Operation moving after business hours. I am talking about our After Hours Team consisting of Leland Hughes (Department Manager), Chris Marshall, Caleb Williams, John Monzingo, Mahogany “Wood” Collins, Bob Dinning, and Cindy Sandahl.
These individuals work diligently all through the nights and weekends to ensure that driver needs and customer needs are met. Do you ever wonder, “What do those folks on nights actually do?” Well let me answer that for you:
- ACT receives, per week, an average of 604 phone calls from 1700-0700. The second shift (M-F, 1300-2300) averages one phone call every 7 minutes. Imagine taking a phone call every 7 minutes for a 10 hour shift. That is about 86 phone calls per night per person.
- Each After Hours person is responsible for FOUR boards or roughly 150 drivers at a time. This number of drivers equates to a WHOLE LOT of satellite messages to sort through and respond to… while taking a phone call every 7 minutes.
- Here in Liberty, electricity can be pretty spotty during bad weather. We lose electricity quite a bit. In the event of poor weather, After Hours personnel are in charge of running outside, checking fuel levels on generators, starting the generators and plugging everything in to keep our servers and computers alive and the lights on… while sorting through a whole lot of satellite messages and taking a phone call every 7 minutes.
- In the event of an accident involving ACT, an After Hours person takes down all of the crucial information about the event while trying to coordinate with local law enforcement and hazmat crews if needed, while trying to contact and alert key managers for ACT at home and the customers involved… while trying to keep the lights on, sorting through a whole lot of satellite messages, and taking a phone call every 7 minutes.
- Upset drivers call at all hours to unload their minds onto After Hours personnel. Chances are the person taking the call cannot do a whole lot to fix the problem, but they will still take the brunt of negativity that should be reserved for their daytime Driver Support Manager… while handling emergencies, keeping the lights on, sorting through a whole lot of satellite messages, and taking a phone call every 7 minutes.
- Customers track their shipments 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Customers request empty trailers all hours of the day. Customers will email and call to get updates on where their shipment is and if it will be on-time. Some of these customers are very respectful, but some are upset about a load potentially running late or not having a trailer immediately available to preload. After Hours has to gather as much information as possible to respond to the customer… while calming down an upset driver, handling emergencies, keeping the lights on, sorting through a whole lot of satellite messages, and taking a phone call every 7 minutes.
- This might not surprise you, but trucks breakdown all hours of the day. Chris Marshall is our After Hours Breakdown Specialist. He gets calls from drivers that are broken down as well as getting calls from vendors looking for payment and approvals to work on trucks. Chris handles these calls and tracks down invoices while helping the rest of the After Hours team by tracking customer loads, calming down an upset driver, handling emergencies, keeping the lights on, sorting through a whole lot of satellite messages, and taking a phone call every 7 minutes.
I think you can see where I am going with this. Our After Hours folks wear every hat at this company at the same time and are constantly in motion in order to keep drivers moving and safe. So, I’d like to ask you to please be respectful of their time.
Before contacting After Hours, ask yourself, “Is this an issue for my regular doctor or for the emergency room?”
You see, your Driver Support Manager is your “regular doctor”. This individual is tasked with getting you miles, getting you home, and meeting your needs. If you have an issue regarding some of these items, it’s best to wait and talk to your Driver Support Manager who can affect changes to improve your experience at ACT. After Hours can’t increase your overall miles, they can’t get you consistently better home time… but your Driver Support Manager can.
If the issue at hand is something for the “emergency room” then you need to engage our After Hours team. They are here to serve you with an immediate need or respond in the event of an emergency.
Don’t take offense if you are in a conversation with a member of our After Hours team and they have to abruptly end the call. This is not because they don’t like you, don’t care about you, or think that your needs are less important. It is because they have to handle a breakdown, track a customer load, calm down an upset driver, handle an emergency, keep the lights on, respond to messages, and answer a call every 7 minutes. Please be respectful and courteous to this team. They keep the ship afloat while the day time team gets much needed rest to keep the engine moving during the day. This is one of the highest stress jobs in the organization so please do what you can to make it as easy on them as possible. Maybe even offer a thank you out of the blue to them… they will appreciate it and will ride the rest of the night on your kind words.
As always, thank you for all that you do!
Brandon J. Kohlwes, Vice President of Operations