Why We’ll Always Support Best Fleets to Drive For

We Support Best Fleets to Drive For

March 11, 2024

News

One of the fundamental reasons my wife Lisa and I started TruckRight was this: we wanted to help fleets become the kind we would have driven for back in the day.

As a former long-time drivers, we like to be involved with organizations that actively make life better for their drivers, and we actively throw our support behind fleets that are focused on driver well-being. That’s why, for many years now, TruckRight has been a proud sponsor of Best Fleets to Drive For – and why we always will be.

Let’s dig deeper on why we think it’s such an indispensable program.

If you’re not familiar with Best Fleets, it was established by CarriersEdge to honor the trucking companies who put a priority on their most important asset: their drivers. Using a series of key metrics to measure driver satisfaction, Best Fleets recognition is given to companies who understand that driver happiness equals driver success – and business success, as well. Now in its sixteenth year, the program is recognized industry-wide as a symbol of excellence.

In case you think that Best Fleets to Drive For is just another pay-to-play award, let me take you through exactly how the winners are decided. It’s a rigorous process that uncovers the ups and downs of every fleet that’s nominated.

In a nutshell: the drivers decide who wins.

Nomination. To even be considered, a fleet has to be nominated by one of its drivers. Executives can’t nominate themselves. But that’s only the beginning.

Questionnaire. Every nominated fleet must then fill out a lengthy online questionnaire in order to move forward. It covers a wide range of categories, and is usually around 100 questions long. It’s very through, and a mediocre carrier isn’t going to be able to fake their way through it.

Interview. Here’s where it gets real! The CarriersEdge team interviews leaders from each nominated fleet to get more context on their questionnaire results. They can then help decide who really is the best of the best.

Remember how I said it’s the drivers who decide who wins, though? That’s because….

Driver Surveys. For the final step, CarriersEdge turns to the drivers themselves. A percentage of drivers from each fleet are given a 50-question survey. The drivers’ responses create a no-holds-barred picture of what it’s like to drive for that organization. This is the make-or-break stage that reveals beyond a doubt who the Best Fleets really are.

This thorough, driver-led method of determining the best fleets is why the program has TruckRight’s unwavering support.

Perhaps Geoff Topping of Challenger Motor Freight put it best: “The carrier can’t just say they’re doing things for their drivers. They need to really prove they’re doing them, and I think Best Fleets to Drive For elevates that one more step.”

In a way, Best Fleets is a mirror for the entire trucking industry. Best Fleets winners have better retention rates, better performance, better safety records and better results. Fleets with unhappy drivers, on the other hand, face constant turnover, turmoil, dissatisfied clients and detrimental outcomes.

What makes a fleet one of the Best Fleets to Drive For?

What do Best Fleets have that no one else does? To answer that, it’s better to look at what you’re not doing. One of our clients once asked me what they needed to do to be recognized as a Best Fleet. I gave him an honest answer: his terminal building, particularly the drivers’ lounge, was unappealing.

I’ve spoken before on how subpar driver facilities can push away drivers. This client, fortunately, chose to take a good hard look at their drivers’ lounge. They made the decision to transform their uninviting and crowded driver area into a welcoming VIP lounge, complete with an impressive new drivers-only “red carpet” entryway. That’s the kind of thing that makes drivers feel valued. It’s also the kind of thing that makes them want to give 110%.

The Best Fleets winners and Hall of Famers make driver satisfaction part of their core values, and part of their operations. Here are just a few examples of the things that Best Fleets (many of who we’re proud to call TruckRight clients) do to make it happen:

  • C.A.T. (2023’s Best Overall Large Carrier winner) has the “Red Thread”, an automated mentor program. It generates graphs, flags at-risk drivers and creates action items for the C.A.T. executive team. Michael Robinson, the VP of Safety and Development, says “The one true reason I believe CAT has a great retention program is teamwork throughout the whole company, everyone is involved in driver retention and the drivers quote our retention program to our office staff when they would like a little more attention.”
  • The Erb Group (a Best Fleets Top 20 winner four years in a row) holds annual driver barbecues at all terminals in their network. Wendell Erb, President and CEO and a driver himself, makes an effort to drive to every single one. “(Best Fleets to Drive For) is a standard for fleets to aspire to. And when we all aspire to that standard, it raises the industry as a whole…it’s an ISO for how to treat your people”.
  • Chief Carriers, (2023’s Best Overall Small Carrier) upgraded its terminal facilities to include a covered area for their drivers to tarp their loads, protecting them from rain or sleet.

These are all the types of moves that can make a huge difference in making your drivers feel appreciated.

How does Best Fleets help great fleets get even better?

Here’s another thing we love about Best Fleets: it encourages fleets to never stop improving. The finalists all receive a detailed list of their questionnaire and survey results. This lets them see where they’re succeeding the most, and where they can improve. (Believe it or not, some fleets have admitted in the past that they didn’t know exactly what was making them so successful.)

The results from Best Fleets gives them a benchmark for their successes. Boyle Transportation, a Best Fleets Hall of Famer, always analyzes their Best Fleets report and uses it as part of business model and planning for the following year. “The winners of this competition are very data driven,” says Michael Lasko, Director of EHS and Quality. “They dive into various aspects of their company, analyze the results and the feedback from professional drivers, and act upon it”.

Best Fleets to Drive For provides an accurate scale for fleets to measure their successes. They can see there’s a correlation between easily accessible online driver training and a reduction in preventable accidents. They can see that efficient onboarding equals more long-term drivers. Most of all, they can see how happy, satisfied drivers create satisfied customers, help their companies exceed business goals, and set both themselves and their drivers up for success.

As a longtime Best Fleets supporter, we’ve seen time and time again how our clients’ businesses have flourished once they focus deeply on the well-being of their drivers.

So what’s next?

In just a few weeks, the Top 20 Best Fleets and Hall of Fame fleets will be honored onstage at the Best Fleets Education & Awards Conference. At that event, we’ll also learn the names of the Best Overall winners in the Best Overall Large and Small Carrier categories.

As proud sponsors, we’ll of course be there.

Since it’s an industry event full of great thinkers and leaders, we’ll also be participating in discussions about how fleets can keep on improving, and what other fleets can start doing in order to reach the Best Fleets level. The conference is designed to be educational for fleets of every size, from 20 trucks to thousands, which means any fleet that attends will benefit. Hopefully, we’ll see you there.

Best Fleets to Drive For honors the carriers who value the backbone of everything our industry does: our truck drivers. That’s why the Best Fleets program has our support. And always will.

Lisa and I have now been part of this industry for over 40 years. We view Best Fleets as the best yardstick to measure how we’re all doing, and an incredible motivator for continuous improvement.