By Rich Weissman
First, I’ll date myself with a nod to Eddie Kendricks and his fine anthem that was part of my early college years. Second, I want to say that I really do love trucks. I played with them as a kid, unloaded them as a college student, and routed them while a supply chain professional. I even took the ‘truck side’ when I commuted to Rutgers up and down the New Jersey Turnpike. Diesel exhaust is ‘home cooking’ for me. I have owned a pick-up truck for the last 20 years.
But, in the past several months I have witnessed horrible truck driving behavior on the roads around greater Boston…lots of speeding, weaving, lane violations, and aggressive driving that is far from routine. I recently drove to Connecticut to conduct and ISM-Connecticut seminar on project management (hello to the 20 or so that were riveted during my annual pilgrimage) and the interstates were full of trucks. This normally is not an issue for me as I am quite happy to coexist with 18-wheelers.
Yet, the seven hours I spent on the road were honestly a bit harrowing. I saw truckers racing each other, trucks driving for miles in the passing lane, trucks tailgating divers in the middle lane, rapid lane changes without signaling, sling-shotting at toll-booths, and other sorts of really poor behavior. And these issues were across the board, including owner operators and contract carriers; flatbeds and tankers alike. Even our logistics friends from the international brands were guilty.
My survey continued in the past several weeks and I have seen more of the same. I know there is a perpetual driver’s shortage and high industry turnover, but perhaps trucking companies need to screen for anger to a higher degree. Of course, not every trucker was guilty, and I see my share of 4-wheeler idiots as well, but a word of warning to everyone.
Be careful out there…relax and turn up the radio.
Endicott College Assistant Professor Rich Weissman teaches management courses for the School of Business and the Van Loan Graduate School. He is also the director of corporate education, which includes the Center for Leadership, Endicott’s management development institute. He is vice chair of the planning committee and also serves on the technology committee and the Institution Review Board. A practitioner turned educator, Weissman has more than 25 years of experience in all facets of procurement and supply chain management. He has held positions with large business units of Fortune 500 companies, medium-sized contract manufacturing companies, small venture-backed Internet startup firms, and third-party procurement, consulting and strategic sourcing firms.
Rich holds an M.S. in Management from Lesley University and a B.A. in Economics from Rutgers University. He is past president of the Purchasing Management Association of Boston and a recipient of the Harry J. Graham Memorial Award, the highest honor bestowed by the association.
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