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When building a great product or service across the Final Mile of the supply chain, critical elements can get overlooked. Training and performance monitoring is often one of them.
As a supplier of Home Delivery and Final Mile logistics to manufacturers, retailers, e-commerce providers and third-party logistics companies like you, impressing your customer is one of our key success metrics.
That said, have you ever wondered what the secret ingredient is? Is it a mix of carefully assembled ingredients? How so? When it comes to delivering goods directly to the personal home or business, careful coordination is required. Below, we offer a peek behind the curtain at those elements, in the first installment of the GO Process Discovery series, Driver Training & Performance Monitoring.
As it relates to Final Mile Home Delivery, the primary focus of the driver training and performance monitoring process, is to provide a qualitative learning regimen for completing home deliveries – at scale.
Part of the challenge being in the Home Delivery business, is that so many things can easily go “sideways” during this critical stage of the Final Mile. This is especially so during a pandemic such as COVID-19 when sensitivity levels are at an all-time high. Any slight hiccup can lead to a bad customer experience at the tail end of an otherwise great buyer’s journey.
What if the truckload of packages come late from the distribution centre, or the customer is not home, or the mailbox is broken, or there is nowhere to safely park for a walk-up delivery? For each and every Home Delivery, our driver associates are challenged with these questions and more. The degree to which they are equipped to make the right choice often determines the final impression that you leave on your customer.
When delivering tens of thousands of parcels per day, they won’t all be perfect. This is even more so if drivers are left to their own judgement. Taking measures to ensure that they are as close to perfect as possible is the main responsibility of the driver training department. This is where comprehensive guidance, review and performance management are of paramount importance.
Conducted in close collaboration with Human Resources to impart our high standard for Home Delivery, driver training leaves the trainee very little room for error. Not only do we check for adherence to standard operating procedures (SOPs) for Home Delivery success, training places equal emphasis on behavioral etiquette and process.
To start with, we recruit and analyze driver associate candidates from a resource pool developed and maintained by our Human Resources department. Select trainees are screened, verified, and evaluated based on a variety of criteria such as: citizenship, police record, driver’s license (G-class mandatory), and driver abstract.
Trainees undergo sessions developed with attention to critical details essential to Final Mile Home Delivery success. Course materials consist of a mix of in-house and partner content, and are subject to ongoing updates to stay current with seasonal Home Delivery concerns. Materials are organized to provide both depth and breadth of content covering all the components required. Training sessions are conducted in a classroom setting to promote open participation, covering areas such as: company history, core service outline, delivery types, keys to success, and performance standards.
Expectations in terms of yard safety, warehouse safety, and ultimately road safety, are explained with simulated case scenarios that equip the trainee with standard operating procedures (SOPs) and the anticipated code of conduct. After providing the trainee with a holistic view of the service expectations of them, the likelihood of safe and secure driving and conduct during Home Delivery is significantly increased.
At the conclusion of the Final Mile Home Delivery training process, a comprehensive multiple-choice theory test evaluates comprehension levels and retention. Trainees are expected to demonstrate their level of understanding through their ability to recite common practices and procedures outlined during the process.
In order to gauge trainee reactions to multiple (often conflicting) variables, most questions are situational, presented in a manner consistent with how they would be encountered throughout the Final Mile process. For training to be deemed a success, a level of sensitivity and respect must be conveyed to each trainee. A minimum score of 80% on the written test is required to proceed to the next level of evaluation – the road test.
Conducted by ministry-approved driver trainers with extensive training experience, heavy emphasis is placed on the road test. Trainers check the driver abstract for prior infractions, then closely monitor driving behavior during the 30 to 45-minute road test.
Special attention is placed on the trainee’s ability to follow simple, but often overlooked traffic rules, such as coming to a complete stop rather than a rolling stop at a stop sign, and avoiding driving through an intersection on an amber light.
It is understood that most will act differently when presented with an artificial training environment such as that presented during a driving test. As a result, for those that pass the road test, monitoring devices are placed in vehicles to ensure that presented driver behavior is followed while on the road with your product. Such devices help identify reckless or hasty actions that may put pedestrians or other commuters at increased risk.
For those who need it, at the end of complete evaluation, a limited 2-month window of time is permitted for re-applying to the training process. This window of time is specifically for trainees who have exhibited a keen interest throughout the process, but have failed to complete select area(s) of the training process successfully.
Factors such as English language proficiency, ability to understand complex traffic bylaws, and minor road test infractions - things not immediately associated with Final Mile Home Delivery, come directly into play, particularly in heavily populated diverse areas. Some of these factors can be given a degree of clemency for reconsideration. Trainees are given a period to further review the material provided, then submit to re-evaluation and testing.
Training does not end at job certification. We place emphasis on timely audit and review of driver associate performance. As a recurring evaluation component, regular audits are conducted throughout the full tenure of employment. Audits serve as an eye-opener to identify and resolve inconsistencies, while serving as the basis for rewarding those directly responsible for helping maintain a high standard for our Final Mile Home Delivery service.
A major component of the audit is based on a service review scorecard. The scorecard acts as a baseline measurement of a driver associate’s overall performance, evaluating them in a number of areas including: politeness, delivery accuracy, behavior, and customer management. Audits are carried out discretely, without prior notice given to driver associates or customers, in order to preserve the authenticity of their findings. Results are then recorded and measured against established targets.
The Ride Along process, specifically for new graduates from the training program (less than two-months service) ensures that a driver associate is never without access to credible counsel in completion of their duties. As a process expert, experienced in Home Delivery performance excellence, the Ride Along coach accompanies the driver associate on select routes to observe and report any variance from the expected performance standard. This process is applied as needed to ensure maximum retention of information.
Ride Along coaches are also instrumental in helping identify drivers who have challenges retaining process information and others who may be less receptive to feedback. Such driver associates are taken off their route and retrained. After demonstrating acceptable improvement, and following a ‘cooling off’ period, they are then re-inserted into the Home Delivery cycle.
In order to boost the morale of our driver associates, a few programs such as The Top 5 and GOLD, act as incentives for maintaining high performance levels in Home Delivery. The Top 5 acknowledges high-ranking driver associates across twenty categories from all stations. These top performers are recognized at the end of the calendar year and provided with gift cards and assorted items.
The GOLD Program (GO Legendary Driver) helps identify and acknowledge top performers, presenting them with opportunities for advancement within the organization, either as team leaders, logistic coordinators, or quality assurance officers. This is carried out in close consultation between the station managers and Human Resources to help high performers realize a path for personal growth.
While the entire process is completely transparent, GO Logistics has always kept customer preferences at the forefront of our driver training and performance monitoring programs. We continue to invite our clients and customers to be a part of this process as we can only realize our goal of Final Mile delivery excellence by first understanding, then addressing your Home Delivery needs.
We’re open to suggestions or insight you may have about training and performance management. If this is an area of interest you, please do not hesitate to reach out.