Letters: Truck Graphics, Middle Management

These Letters to the Editor appear in the Oct. 14 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

Truck Graphics

We enjoyed your great feature on members of the trucking industry who utilize graphics to promote their services, but thought we would be remiss if we did not take the opportunity to share the efforts Werner Enterprises has undertaken to recruit members of the armed forces to our team.

In February and May 2013, respectively, Werner unveiled Operation Freedom 1 and Operation Freedom 2. The 2013 Freightliner Cascadias, equipped with 72-inch sleepers and Detroit DD15 engines, feature military-themed wraps that recognize veterans for their service and encourage them to explore a career with Werner.

Both trucks, driven by veterans David Conkling and David Green, are wrapped in blue digital camouflage and sport the American flag and the silhouette of a soldier. The trucks have participated in events and parades throughout the country and have been spotlighted in several magazines.

They also have received numerous awards, including the “Most Technologically Advanced Cab” award at the 2013 Mid-America Trucking Show and first place in the working bobtail category at the 2013 Great American Trucking Show.

We are extremely proud of our country’s military veterans and the hard work and dedication they represent, and we are honored to recognize them with our Operation Freedom trucks. Thank you for the chance to share the industry’s collective efforts with your audience.

Jim Morbach

Director of Government and Field Recruiting

Werner Enterprises

Omaha, Neb.

Middle Management

The Sept. 16 edition of Transport Topics included an article on LEAD ATA, a much-needed program to groom young transportation professionals to become tomorrow’s leaders (“Groups Launch Leadership-Skills Programs,” p. 23). Also mentioned were individual trucking companies with their own executive training programs, some of them up to a year in length.

Developing and training future leaders is critical to the success of any company. Organizations run by executives with well-honed strategic planning abilities have the greatest chance for future success and profitability.

However, equally important to the financial success of any trucking company is middle-management training and development.

This is the management level responsible for tactical planning — the day-to-day plans that result in key metric performance such as driver productivity, deadhead percentages, on-time performance and fuel economy.

Common titles for trucking’s middle management employees include driver managers, terminal managers, fleet managers and dispatchers.

The upper-middle management relationship is important to understand. Upper management provides the enablers (and too often disablers) for middle management:

• Policy on driver pay and home time, for example, influences recruiting and retention efforts.

• Sales efforts define a company’s freight network, affectng empty-mile and home-time performance.

• Maintenance practices influence driver productivity and fuel economy.

The list of upper-management influences on middle-management key metric performance is not endless, but it is definitely significant.

Middle management works within the framework defined by upper management’s policy and capital decisions — the strategic plan. Their ability to execute the strategic plan tactically is just as dependent on training and development as is the success of upper management to lead the organization.

Today’s trucking industry is more dynamic and challenging than ever before. To survive, trucking companies must develop top executives capable of providing creative strategies that delight customers and enrich owners.

However, to be successful, those strategies must include training and development of the employees who make the literally hundreds of decisions a week that influence profitability — middle managers.

Joe White


CostDown Consulting

Grayson, Ga.