Making ongoing improvements – Fremont Contract Carriers is continually finding new ways help make drivers feel at home in the company (By Seth Skydel)

For Fremont Contract Carriers, Inc (FCC), providing a workplace culture that is constantly evolving to make operating conditions better for its drivers has long been a key factor in its ongoing success. Based in Fremont, Nebraska, the provider of flatbed and dry van services in all 48 states and Canada has a fleet of 375 trucks and employs more than 385 drivers.

FCC, noted Mike Andresen, vice president of driver recruiting and development, has the track record to show that it’s one of the best for-hire trucking companies for drivers. Two things that speak volumes to him are a low turnover rate that consistently falls in the 18% to 27% range. Additionally, in 13 of the past 15 years the company has made the Top 20 list in the Best Fleets to Drive For program created by CarriersEdge and produced in partnership with the Truckload Carriers Association.

“Each year, it gets more difficult to crack the Top 20 list as more highly qualified fleets are nominated,” Andresen said. “But it’s great to have friendly competition that pushes all of us to make our industry more appealing so we welcome the challenge. We look at it as an opportunity to make our operation better for our drivers.”

That effort at FCC starts with drivers as well. “We emphasize building long lasting relationships through respect, honesty and open communication,” Andresen related. “Our driver managers and President/CEO meet every driver during orientation and each new driver is assigned a mentor, a driver who has been with us for several years and is someone the new employee can reach out to with questions or concerns.

“There is also a Driver Advisory Board that consists of six drivers who have been with FCC for a number of years and are comfortable talking to others to gather their comments and concerns,” Andresen added.

With the driver market very competitive, FCC is constantly benchmarking its compensation packages to match what’s being offered elsewhere. “We also provide a multitude of bonus opportunities to both our company drivers and independent contractors to recognize and reward them for excellent service, safety, and for meeting operational targets,” Andresen said. “We’ve also implemented significant reductions in health insurance premium costs for our company employees.”

The list of programs in place for FCC drivers is also long and varied, including:

· Recognition of million mile accident free service with EpicVue in-cab satellite TV provided at no cost.

· The Rolling Strong wellness app that allows drivers to track fitness progress, follow workout routines using FIT System bands in all of its trucks and work with an online coach to help maintain their health on the road. Through Rolling Strong, the carrier also has a HIGI Biometric Health Check Station at its terminal where drivers can monitor biometrics.

· An on-site fitness facility and discounted memberships from Anytime Fitness, Planet Fitness, 24-hour Fitness, YMCA, and other establishments.

· An annual Health & Wellness Fair that brings a host of services to the terminal for drivers and their families.

· SiriusXM satellite radio free of charge to company drivers and at a discounted rate to owner operators.

· The Transflo Mobile Plus system, which allows access to load information, communication with dispatch, weather conditions, assistance with claims, and paperwork imaging.

· SkyBitz Trailer Tracking with cargo sensors to help prevent wasted time hunting for units.

· The Weigh My Truck CAT Scale app, which allows drivers to weigh, get their scale ticket via email, and pay all in one process.

For enhancing safety, FCC equips its trucks with collision mitigation, lane assist, lane departure, forward facing and side camera, and side object detection systems. Additionally, Omnitracs and Geotab units have Critical Events Recording.

“That technology aides us in analyzing driver behavior and with creating safety training,” Andresen said. “We even purchased two simulators to use in training sessions. Our training also includes lessons from Luma Brighter Learning and Carriers Edge.”

Across the board, FCC is not resting on its laurels, Andresen noted. “We’re always looking for new opportunities to improve driver programs. The work we’ve put in so far to create an environment drivers want to be in has paid off, but we’re not stopping there.”