My first blog here was titled “Connecting the Dots”. Here are three dots I just had to write about. Fellow blogger Rickey Gooch wrote a blog entitled “When Truckers Cry”. The Editor-in-Chief of HDT wrote a first class editorial “Respect Pays” at the same time my oldest granddaughter was picked as one of the final three winners in a school contest to write a sentence and draw a picture about RESPECT. She has since won that competition. Please click on these links to see the referenced items if you want to:
Rickey Gooch: http://blog.bigtrucktv.com/rickeygooch/when-truckers-cry
Emma Rutherford: http://bobrutherford.com/kb/questions.php?questionid=462
Let me share with you that my first serious lesson in respect came when I signed up for karate lessons in my youth. Chuck Norris had just opened his karate school and I had the honor of being in his first class. The first of the first lesson was how to properly bow. You bowed to your instructor, your classmates, and your sparring partner. You had to show proper respect at all times. I practiced bowing at home and practicing my patterns so much that my parents thought I had joined a cult.
I would like to thank Rickey for sharing his experience here at Big Truck TV. I have been working on my standup comedy routine for the new TV show Truckers Got Talent and feel parts of my standup comedy routine apply to this issue of respect. This is a serious situation we as an industry and society must deal with. If the characters involved could laugh at themselves over who is doing what to whom we just might get them to think, “THIS IS STUPID”, and figure out how to do the right thing.
Like Rickey, I also have spent lots of face and phone time with trucking personnel. I wonder daily how the right freight gets to the right location on time. In my consulting practice I have often used the example of the blind men and the elephant to put things in prospective.
The trucking industry is an excellent example of the blind men (owners, drivers, dispatch, sales, mechanics, shop foremen, and a cast of thousands) and the elephant.
Many versions of the story say that six blind men were asked to determine what an elephant looked like by feeling different parts of the elephant's body. The blind man who feels a leg says the elephant is like a pillar; the one who feels the tail says the elephant is like a rope; the one who feels the trunk says the elephant is like a tree branch; the one who feels the ear says the elephant is like a hand fan; the one who feels the belly says the elephant is like a wall; and the one who feels the tusk says the elephant is like a solid pipe.
It is explained to them by a blogger, "All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently is because each one of you touched the different part of the elephant. So, actually the elephant has all the features you mentioned."
I have dealt with trucking executives that the color of the truck was the only truck spec they knew, mechanics using torque specs they learned ten years ago and don't apply to the current truck they are working on, drivers that didn't know there is more than one city of Franklin. Whoever put Franklin, Tennessee and Franklin, Kentucky within sixty-five miles of each other never met a dispatcher.
Too many times I have seen the problem of deficit or inaccessibility of information, the need for communication, and respect for different perspectives. A lot of trucking is the same as the sausage making industry. The end results are great, but you don't ever want to see it being made. Here are two quick examples from my life on the road in trucking industry.
The driver reports his fifth wheel is loose; the shop puts a repair kit in it; the looseness is gone after the repair. The driver makes a run and complains it is still loose. The mechanic says that's impossible because it was rebuilt, the driver asks how do you repair a fifth wheel? The mechanic says I will show you and they proceed to a fifth wheel in the shop they are rebuilding. They get to the fifth wheel being rebuilt and the driver says not that fifth wheel, it’s the one on the engine. How about that for communications and prospective issues? (If you didn’t figure it out, the driver was talking about a loose FLYWHEEL.)
I gave a mechanic my 800 number like this: 1-800-621-thirteen-twenty over the phone. He responds to me that he has a new push button phone (that tells you how long I have been in the trenches) and it doesn't have a 13 or a 20 on it. So I say “I see, let me give you the number that the new push button phones have to use 1-8-0-0-6-2-1-1-3-2-0”. After the silence on his end of the phone he asked if I have a "YOU STUPID" sign I can send him.
The classic situation that I face is the director of maintenance would consider trying a new technology, but he has to test it first. He can’t test it because he doesn’t have the personnel and expertise to conduct the test, so improvement and new technology does not get deployed in a timely fashion. Welcome to my world. I can’t jokingly offer a prospect a “YOU STUPID” sign can I? That would be a sign of disrespect. Maybe we should all start bowing to each other on a regular basis or at least have a sense of humor in this business or it will grind you up and spit you out like a sausage.
For those of you that are rolling your eyes about me being in Chuck Norris’s first karate class please click here: http://bobrutherford.com/kb/questions.php?questionid=460