Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Driver culture-Just in time not what is used to be!

A year ago the hours that truck drivers can drive was changed so that 10 hours per day working is what they are allowed. This includes waiting time loading and unloading; delays in traffic meals and bathroom breaks.

Prior to this time they were allowed 13 hours driving exclusive of all other details.

This means a trip from Edmonton or Calgary to Winnipeg which for years was a next day delivery has been changed to a 2 nd day delivery from Edmonton and a 3 day delivery from Calgary. Other points are in proportion the shorter hours allowed being recognized.

Another nuance evolved. If the drivers were cut down to a days work as are most people, why do they have to spend their work time driving at night? Yes, this evolution moved forward slowly. Because the loads were needed in he mornings to start unloading, The bulk of trucks just arriving would be looking for loads back out in effect turning the industry into a daylight driving only. If loads are ready at 6 PM which, under old rules would be okay, they are simply too late,

A 6PM load out would mean a driver, now attuned to daylight driving would only get a short distance down the highway and he or she would have to shut it down for sleep because they are tired or because their hours have run out.

The “enlightened driver culture” is now in place.

Along with this culture of real people working in daylight came the thought that it would be nice to take a summer holiday. Now, across Canada as never before drivers are booking off for a week or two holidays in the busiest part of the year instead of waiting for slack time.

Loads are not delivered or delayed greatly.

Some companies have taken a very hard line with their drivers trying to keep them behind the wheel. By coaxing or threatening they attempt to keep the driver moving there-by shelving their holiday wants. Many of these situations are resolved very badly with the truck abandoned at a far off point and the driver is flying home to keep his holiday wishes.

Yes, times just got a whole lot better for drivers and, that is not a bad thing. On the other hand industries depending on the just in time inventories delivered by trucks are going to have to re think their plans. That means more inventories and less just in time demands.

The 'get it there overnight' scenario offered over the years is no longer valid.

These laws do not cover trucks that do not cross a provincial boundary. Hence trucks in the oil service-supply business can pretty well run a driver 24 hours a day and, they do. Big bucks in the pockets of those drivers which is not in it self a bad thing . They often have to travel at night when there is frost in the ground. In their world delivery time and condition is everything!

John Clark
cyberclark@shaw.ca
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