Prime Inc. and Nussbaum Transportation were named the overall winners of the 2019 Best Fleets to Drive For contest. Now in its 11th year, the annual contest is a join effort between the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) and CarriersEdge.
Prime took the prize for Best Overall Fleet in the large carrier category, while Nussbaum was named the Best Overall Fleet in the small carrier category. The overall winners were announced during TCA’s 81st Annual Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada on Monday, March 11.
Prime Inc. and Nussbaum Transportation have both been named to the Best Fleets Top 20 multiple times, but both won the overall award for the first time.
Nussbaum Transportation, operating 400 tractors, combines both high- and low-tech solutions to create a balance across its programs. The company boasts an industry-leading scorecard and mobile app, a simple but effective driver outreach schedule and a formal career path and certification program.
“Nussbaum impresses us every year,” CarriersEdge Co-founder Mark Murrell said. “Their driver scorecard is very creative, and they look beyond things like overspeed events to measure the behaviors that precede those events.”
For Prime Inc., operating 7,200 tractors, being a large company doesn’t mean losing the personal touch. Its variety of committees, social groups and educational offerings provide contractors with an ever-increasing range of options for personal and professional development. Notable this year is a new program designed in partnership with Missouri Good Dads to help drivers build and strengthen family connections while away on the road.
“Prime is a company that is always thinking of something new or different to do. Their drivers can be gone for a few weeks at a time, so they have really nice facilities to make the over-the-road time easier,” Murrell said. “Drivers, as a rule, don’t love huge companies. So, when that many drivers say good things about what you’re doing, you know you’re doing a good job building a community.”
CarriersEdge launched the Best Fleets contest in conjunction with TCA in the summer of 2008. Murrell said the program was created for a handful of reasons, but recognizing the good guys for their efforts was at the top of the list.
“We set out to recognize the companies that were doing the right things, as well as share their ideas with other companies so others can learn,” Murrell said. “We wanted to be able to recognize companies of all sizes, not just the huge players. That’s why all fleets with at least 10 trucks can participate.”
A less anticipated positive outcome has been that going through the process to become a Best Fleet tends to act as something of an annual self-evaluation for fleets, according to Murrell.
After a company receives a Best Fleets nomination, Company representatives complete and submit an online questionnaire, providing details on company programs and policies. The questionnaire is over 100 questions long and includes both standard human resource questions and industry-specific questions.
Murrell said filling out the questions seems to get company leaders thinking, helping them get more acquainted with their own strong suits and growth opportunities.
“In the beginning, the questionnaire often asked what companies were doing to address mixed gender in-cab training situation,” Murrell said. “Most companies said they did not have a policy in place. Since those days, many company have rolled out policies to address the issue.”
The questionnaires also work to help get companies thinking about how to attract a more diverse driver pool.
“Every middle-aged white man who wants to drive a truck is already driving a truck,” Murrell said.
Another stage of the Best Fleets process is driver surveys. Drivers and contractors at the fleet complete an online survey, providing feedback on company programs and overall satisfaction.
About 8,400 driver surveys were submitted this year, and Murrell said the process of going through those revealed several common trends and growth opportunities among fleets.
FreightWaves and Truckload Indexes will explore those trends in the next installment of the Best Fleets series later this week.