The Changing Role of Drivers

Professional truck drivers play a critical role as the "face" of your business

Penske Driver

Operating in today's service-oriented world means placing a high priority on your brand and ensuring it delivers the best experience possible for your customers. You juggle scheduling, purchasing and operations, making sure the items customers demand are restocked frequently.

That's why truck drivers are such an important part of the service experience. Today's driver is making frequent deliveries, wheeling items in and out the door and restocking the shelves. He is recognized by your customers and is a visible part of your storefront.

The Changing Responsibilities of Drivers

In the past, companies' expectations of drivers were one-dimensional. But as the role of the driver is expanding to respond to the fast-paced needs of customers, it is more essential than ever to hire the right person for the job.

Drivers' jobs remain as challenging as ever. Behind the wheel, they must navigate through narrow urban streets or congested suburban roads. They also need to be mechanical experts when it comes to truck pre- and post-trip inspections. And, as data become integral to every supply chain, they must keep up with ever-changing technology—on and off the truck.

It's a tall order. Yet that's not all. Today's drivers need to be customer-focused too. That focus means working effectively with both store managers and manufacturers. It also means being nimble and quick enough to make multi-stop deliveries, on time, with patience and personality.

"Drivers need to be adept in loading and unloading, operating material handling equipment and delivering product on time and intact," said Tom Scollard, Vice President, Dedicated Contract Carriage, Penske Logistics. "Today's drivers are the face of the brand, and we make sure we hire and train people who can embody the kind of adherence to quality and detail that our customers want to see reflected in their products and services."

Customer Service On-The-Go

Front-door deliveries add an even more critical link between the delivery driver and the brand.

Often the driver brings the product in via hand truck through the front door, where they're more likely to interact with customers and store personnel. A personable driver who knows the product and is comfortable in every aspect of delivery will help make connections with customers.

"During many deliveries, our drivers come face to face with our customers' customer," Scollard said. "So, in addition to the driving and delivery skills, appearance and proper representation of our brand and the customer's brand are critical. Now our drivers are no longer just behind the scenes, but are highly skilled individuals with a lot of responsibility." In many cases, today's drivers will even wear customer-branded apparel.

It takes a wealth of experience and expertise to understand what it takes to meet high customer expectations and to deliver on that demand. Given the growing complexities of customer expectations and the evolving role of the delivery driver, it has never been more critical to partner with a premier third-party logistics provider that can deliver your brand.

Tom Scollard
Tom Scollard is Vice President of Dedicated Contract Carriage for Penske Logistics. He brings more than 30 years of transportation and logistics experience to the business. Scollard joined Penske in 2010 as a Strategic Account Executive servicing DCC accounts before being named to his current position. Prior to joining Penske, he served as Vice President of Sales for Quickway Distribution Services. He also worked at Rollins (prior to its purchase by Penske Truck Leasing) as DCC Director of Logistics Sales and in national account sales. Scollard is also a member of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP).