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  • Safety First: Discussing the Importance of Pre-Trip Inspections

    by Charlotte Freed | May 30, 2019

    Centerline's quarterly safety articleCenterline is committed to helping fleet managers and transportation professionals learn how to handle some of the industry’s most pressing safety issues and concerns. In this article, Jim Ledbetter, Centerline’s Safety and Operations Manager, discusses the importance of pre-trip inspections, and why fleets should stress this importance to their drivers.

    Why are Inspections so Important?

    Pre-Trip inspections are a mandatory task in a driver’s daily routine. This mandated 15 minute procedure can keep a driver and vehicle in service and on the road. While mandated, fleets often fail to stress the importance of the procedure, causing drivers to miss important maintenance issues that can lead to issues on the road.

    Most of these issues are preventable, especially when performing some of the simplest steps of a pre-trip inspection, like completing and reviewing the Drive-Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR). The DVIR should be filled out by drivers as soon as trips are completed. More importantly, DVIRs should be reviewed by fleet supervisors so they are aware of any problems with tractors and trailers. Using this information, fleet supervisors can pull tractors and trailers out of service for maintenance, helping equipment and drivers stay compliant.

    Aside from reviewing the DVIR, fleet supervisors should ensure drivers are completing walk-arounds. The walk-around helps drivers identify problems often caught during roadside inspections: faulty headlamps, broken windshields, indicators, etc. By ensuring drivers are completing their walk-arounds, fleet supervisors can mitigate many issues before trucks even depart from the yard.

    Bottom line, inspections help reduce liabilities on the road. They prevent down time, missed dispatches, disruptions in the supply chain, and reduce the chance for a truck or trailer being placed out of service. More importantly, they ensure the safety of the public.

    Why aren’t Inspections Happening?

    Pre-trip inspections should take between 15 and 30 minutes; however, they are not completed 100% of the time. There are two reasons drivers fail to complete a pre- or post-trip inspection:

    1. They don’t remember all of the steps they were taught in driving school, and therefore do not complete the inspection in a thorough manner.
    2. Drivers do not take ownership in the equipment they are operating, and therefore do not complete the inspection in a thorough manner.

    Both of these reasons result in drivers failing to identify easy fixes or major problems with equipment, putting other drivers in danger.

    How can we Help Drivers?

    Below you’ll find tips that you can implement today to ensure inspections are being completed and logged accurately.

    1. Get Involved: Let drivers know inspections are important to you by completing an inspection yourself. Review the DVIR and talk to the driver about any important notes he or she provided. This will let the driver know you are invested and that you appreciate the time they took to complete this mandated task.
    2. Get Crafty: Place post it notes on a brake line or an airline that ask the driver to come see you. If they come in with the note, you know they were performing parts of the inspection. If the driver fails to come and see you, you can approach the driver and discuss the importance of completing these inspections. You can take this idea a step further and reward drivers with extra safety points.
    3. Get Training:Different fleets operate different types of equipment. This means drivers may not be trained to use the equipment in your fleet. Ongoing training or new hire training can help drivers learn what to look for and help make inspections more effective.

    If you are in need of help training drivers on pre- and post-trip inspections, reach out to your Centerline representative. Together we will develop a comprehensive plan that ensure the safety of your drivers and your fleet.

  • Tips for Navigating Seasonality in the Transportation Industry

    by Charlotte Freed | Apr 26, 2019

    Seasonal Ramp UpAs summer approaches, fleets can breathe a sigh of relief knowing less loads will have to be rerouted due to snow storms, icy road conditions and other winter hazards. But, spring and summer bring their own set of challenges, including a big seasonal ramp up.

    The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that over the last three years, spot rates have peaked between May and August. As spot rates increase, fleets also have to endure increased traffic and congestion, seasonal commodity challenges, and inventory challenges.

    Preparing your fleet in advance will help ensure success during the busy season.

    Route Planning

    During the summer, congestion increases. With more vehicles on the road, fleets can anticipate a higher rate of accidents due to closer vehicle spacing, and a higher rate of incidents due to overheating vehicles. To combat these issues, fleets can be proactive by creating alternate routes to help drivers avoid bottlenecks whenever possible. Fleets should also account for traffic by lengthening shipment windows whenever possible. This will make routes seem more achievable for drivers, and help limit frustrations.

    Commodity Planning

    Warmer weather heavily impacts what commodities are being shipping. Food and beverage distributors will be battling the heat in order to keep items fresh during transit. The United States Department of Agriculture reports that during Q3 – the height of summer – produce shipping rates increase almost $0.30 per mile, putting more pressure on carriers to deliver products in a timely fashion. Before sending out any shipments on refrigerated trucks ensure required temperatures can be met, and notify drivers of these requirements.

    Load Planning

    Seasonal goods are shipped to meet flocculating demands of consumers, meaning fleets need to be flexible to meet the demands of their customers. While meeting customer demands is important, retaining drivers can make or break a busy season. Honor time off – instead of adding shifts to already packed schedules, consider working with a driver staffing partner to find seasonal drivers to help with additional loads.

    Preparing your fleet in advance will help ensure success during the busy season.

  • Safety First: Discussing Causes of Accidents

    by Charlotte Freed | Mar 26, 2019

    Safety Newsletter from CenterlineCenterline is committed to helping fleet managers and transportation professionals learn how to handle some of the industry’s most pressing safety issues and concerns. In this article, Jim Ledbetter, Centerline’s Safety and Operations Manager, covers some of the common causes of accidents, and how accidents can be reduced within fleets.

    Why are Truck Accidents Increasing?

    Accidents are not 100% avoidable, and sometimes are caused for reasons outside of a driver’s control. However, research by the Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration (FMCSA) shows that over the last two decades, truck accidents have increased 20%.

    If asked to rank common causes of crashes, Ledbetter would put distractions at the top of his list: “Distractions – we’re continually seeing distracted drivers. Combine the element of distraction with the haste at which people are living their everyday lives, and it’s no wonder there has been an increase in accidents.”

    It’s never a good thing to work in a place where you’re constantly being rushed, but we do that to drivers all of the time. At times, we ask drivers to do the impossible by stretching routes making it easier to justify the rush. Combine that with the constant calls from dispatchers, and it’s no surprise drivers are distracted.

    Ledbetter also spoke about route elements, like day of the week and time. Research shows that drivers operating a vehicle on weekdays or overnight shifts are more likely to be involved in accidents. “For starters,” Ledbetter explains, “there are more people on the road on weekdays. And if we go back to that typical lifestyle – everyone’s in a rush.” Less patience and more people on the road equates to increasingly hazardous conditions for drivers to navigate through.

    As for overnight shifts, they’re unavoidable. These 6pm – 6am routes are crucial to the industry, and present their own set of challenges. “When you’re driving overnight, you may not see another vehicle for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. You may start to zone out focusing on that white or yellow dashed line,” explains Ledbetter. Plus, drivers are battling their biological clock: “Most of us sleep at night – you’re pushing the limits driving at night.”

    How can we Help Drivers?

    While fleet managers and safety managers cannot prevent every accident, they have a key role in training drivers. For one, they can implement a zero cell phone policy to drastically cut distractions from the cab. Cell phones are one of the biggest contributors of crashes. Ledbetter believes “curiosity will always get the best of you – if you hear it ring or hear the alert ping, you’re going to want to pick it up.” Instruct drivers to keep their cell phones out of arms reach, preferably in a duffle bag and on silent.

    For those who have drivers on the road overnight, preach the importance of scanning. Referring to the Smith System, Ledbetter recommends drivers, “scan their mirrors every 4 seconds and scan 15 seconds ahead. Pick something like a street sign or even a tree and count out the time it takes you to get there. Scanning keeps your eyes moving, and helps diminish the element of fatigue.”

    Finally, Ledbetter encourages fleet managers and trainers to get up from behind the desk. “You’ve got to be up and out in the yard and doing ride-alongs. You need to understand the obstacles, challenges, and frustrations your drivers face every day.”

    Accidents are bound to happen – but by understanding the common causes, and talking safety daily, we can help our drivers be prepared for the road ahead.
  • Solving the Driver Shortage one Millennial at a Time

    by Charlotte Freed | Mar 01, 2019

    Millennial truck driversWith the driver shortage escalating each year, it’s time companies started thinking about recruiting smarter. Recruiting smarter starts with forward thinking – not just using the same techniques more efficiently than the competition, but becoming a trailblazer in new areas as well. One way to stand out is by recruiting millennials.

    The trucking industry is aging. There’s no denying it. One question still remains: How do we inject youth into the industry? In other words, how do we make transportation, more importantly, how do we make truck driving, a job that millennials are dying to have?

    For starters, we can change the perception of the industry. Trucking has everything millennials want from a career: benefits and bonuses, the ability to prioritize their family, loyalty from their company, and the ability to make a social impact. Because of increased competition, truck driver pay has become very competitive, especially when considering benefits and safety bonuses. Truck drivers keep this country moving forward. Highlight what product your company is moving, and the impact it makes each and every day. If your company has flexible options or offers local routes, make sure you let your recruiting partner know. They’ll be able to highlight these benefits in your job description.

    Another way to change the perception of the industry is to stop thinking about trucking as a job. Instead we must focus on truck driving as a career. This is a profession where millennials can thrive for 20-30 years. It’s not a gig. Truck drivers are professionals.

    The trucking industry is currently cannibalizing itself – offering higher and higher wages in attempts to lure away experienced drivers from the competition. It’s time to start thinking outwards, and to start thinking about how the industry can work together to help attract the next generation of truck drivers.

  • What to Say When Walmart Increases Driver Pay

    by Charlotte Freed | Feb 01, 2019

    Benefits for driversEarlier this week Walmart announced it could be raising driver salaries to $90,000 a year in efforts to stress the importance of their dedicated fleet. Broken down into an hourly wage, the yearly salary rounds out at about $43 per hour – a rate most companies won’t be able to compete with. This leaves many fleets scratching their heads and asking: “How do I recruit drivers now?”

    The good news is money isn’t the only way to attract drivers to your open positions. All drivers go through the same job search process, much like an operations manager or fleet supervisor. While a job candidate can be drawn into a job posting by the salary, they will likely consider the job description and company benefits before making their final decision.

    A strong job description will help your job get noticed while attracting the best candidates. When posting an open driving position, consider these tips:

    • Describe your culture: Drivers want to know more about the company they’ll be driving for. Let them know about everyday life at your company using testimonials from other drivers and even include photos.
    • Clear job responsibilities: Responsibilities should be clear and concise, but they should also help candidates visualize what a typical day at work is really like.
    • Highlight your company’s benefits: Money is an important facet to a job, but it’s not the only thing job-seekers care about. Truly sell you company: why should a driver leave their current position for your open position?

    Highlighting your company’s benefits may be the most important part of your job description. Explore these benefits in depth:

    • Health and Time Off: Does your company offer a competitive health plan? What about dental or vision? Paid time off or sick pay can also be enticing to drivers. Offering a low rate for health benefits or offering the ability to call in sick can make all the difference to a driver.
    • Home Time: Home time is consistently listed as a way to make driving jobs more satisfying and fulfilling to drivers. Is your route local? Will your drivers be home every night? Let them know in the job description.
    • Incentives: Do you reward your drivers based on performance or certain targets? With ELDs in place, data has become plentiful, making it easier to track key performance metrics. Consider using incentives not only to increase pay, but to help create a more efficient and safer culture amongst your drivers.

    If working with a driver staffing partner like Centerline, consider discussing the specifics of each job and the benefits of your company with your Account Manager or Recruiting Manager. They’ll be able to use these insights to help find and place the perfect driver where you need them the most: in your fleet.

  • How to Save Money and Time by Avoiding a Bad Hire

    by Charlotte Freed | Dec 28, 2018

    With the driver shortage and capacity crunch at top of mine, it sometimes feels necessary to hire anyone who walks through the door looking for work. But in the end, hiring the wrong person for the job not only costs you time and money, but can negatively influence your current team. While there is pressure to fill seats and get trucks moving, it’s not worth risking a hire on an unfit candidate.

    Centerline Driver’s, experts in truck driver staffing, lend insights into how employers can avoid bringing on a bad hire by proactively using strong recruitment tactics. Some aspects begin in the first phases of the candidate search such as:

    • Accurately portraying the job description in advertisements
    • Sharing your company values early and often
    • Demonstrating the company culture early in the hiring process
    • Conducting proper background checks
    • Calling references of applicants
    • Performing a personality assessment

    Others come in during the interview process, like:

    • Be wary if you, the interviewer, does all the talking
    • The job duties are not discussed or brought up in the interview
    • Do not rush the interview process, it’s a critical step in the growth process

    There are other items to bear in mind, too, that may not seem obvious. Make sure you and your hiring team are not solely hiring based on:

    • Physical appearance
    • Age bracket
    • Universal “good” traits

    It’s also vital to implement a strong onboarding process so new hires are given the tools and insights to succeed. Take the time to review your existing hiring practices and determine what is and isn’t bringing in quality hires. Additionally, continue to reassess and evaluate your internal hiring process periodically; in the fast-changing world of work, it’s important you have the team you need to keep your operations moving smoothly.

    If time doesn’t allow for a proper recruiting and crafting a solid onboarding process, it may be worthwhile to look into partnering with a temporary driver staffing company who will take the measures in getting you the driving force you need. In the long run, it’s worth having the ability to try new hires who have been vetted by the pros.
  • How to Cultivate Growth through Mentorship

    by Charlotte Freed | Nov 30, 2018

    Centerline is a Career CoachThe significance of mentorship shouldn’t be ignored when 75 percent of executives say that mentoring has been a crucial part of their career development. One of a number of surveys by the American Society for Training and Development show that organizations benefit from mentoring, with higher employee engagement and retention along with growth of high-potential employees. Mentoring aids growth in personal scenarios as well: 76 percent of at-risk young adults who have a mentor aspire to enroll and graduate in college, while only 50 percent of those without a mentor have these ambitions. Research and practice also suggest that specific attributes displayed by those in mentoring relationships include the ability to listen and to offer guidance, strengthened empathy and authenticity, and improved flexibility and openness. 

    So how can you implement a mentorship program across your business to drive success, strengthen your team, and develop your own skills?

    The American Society for Training and Development’s report highlights a number of recommendations, including:

    Test the program

    Instead of launching your entire workforce into a formal mentoring program immediately, try testing one among a select number of your team. You can use their feedback to determine the best steps moving forward or what to tweak with a larger group.

    Evaluate results

    While mentorship may seem like a difficult thing to gauge in effectiveness, it’s important to measure its success and evaluate what is and isn’t working. Determine what will be success points for you; checking in frequently allows you to make adjustments where necessary before the program ends.

    Offer guidelines and training

    Program participants should be trained well prior to taking on mentees: communication, listening, and feedback skills all play heavy roles in a mentorship role. If the participants have a clear idea of what is important and expected, they’ll be more likely to meet their goals.

    Find a mentoring program that works for your business needs and your target audience. Not all plans are created equal, so take the time to research what makes sense for you. To reiterate the importance of a mentorship program in your organization, polls show that mentors develop new perspectives, improve leadership skills, and increase insight into their organizations. Just as importantly, mentees reap the benefits of professional development, better understanding of organizational culture, and cultivating new perspectives: all-around wins for everyone.

    Written by Anna Mischke
  • How to use People Analytics in an Intuition-Driven Workplace

    by Charlotte Freed | Oct 26, 2018

    People Analytics help you find the right talentCan we apply Big Data to the human resource and management side of business? We have been, but it may not be a practice that entirely makes sense...yet. People analytics, a data-driven method of hiring and management, seems like the most logical approach: using information from past experience (aka employees) to choose workers who tend to prove more efficient and effective in their roles. In a 2013 Bloomberg Businessweek article, Ben Waber defines people analytics as this: “When we use data to uncover the workplace behaviors that make people effective, happy, creative, experts, leaders, followers, early adopters, and so on, we are using ‘people analytics.’” But some argue that ultimately, people analytics have already been flawed by the influence of human psychology.

    While historical data does set a benchmark for what has and hasn’t worked in the past, personal opinions and perceptions play a large part in ultimate hiring decisions. In short: executives have proven to rely on their gut instincts rather than data they may or may not understand. While executives tend to trust analytics in regards to finance, the idea of relying on data when hiring employees is less palatable.

    The problem does not lie in the actual collection or aggregation of data, but rather the lack of understanding in how to digest the data and apply it to processes. It turns out, the actual people in people analytics can prove to be the biggest roadblock. So how can management use the promise of people analytics in business without dismissing instinct?

    • Identify a problem you want to solve. Work with your data team to help understand what data should be looked at to address the issue. How can that data guide decision-making in the future?
    • Make a point to collect the data that applies specifically to solving the identified problem. Use accurate measurement tools and software to confirm standardized data collection. Software can help pinpoint patterns that need to be addressed.
    • Use said data to make better decisions. Read the story that the data is saying and take action. Whether the issue be efficiency, turnover, or recruitment process – you can determine what needs to change based on collected analytics. 
  • How to Keep Your Top Performers When You Can’t Offer a Raise

    by Charlotte Freed | Sep 28, 2018

    Giving your employees a quick thumbs up could help keep them aroundAs the driver shortage becomes more prevalent and hiring demands increase, it can be terrifying to think about losing your top performing people. While of course you want to retain your best people by offering pay raises and granting bonuses, sometimes a strict budget or tight resources won’t allow for it. How then, are you able to keep your best workers without speaking to them in cold, hard cash?

    It may be surprising, but a study shows that lack of appreciation from managers is the number one employee complaint from 63 percent of those surveyed. Considering engagement levels increase by 60 percent when managers recognize employees’ contribution, it’s in everyone’s best interest to focus attention on showing your appreciation for your team’s hard work.

    When struggling to determine how you can keep the people you want and need when the company isn’t flush with reserves, consider advice from those who have learned to show appreciation in other vital forms.

    Ask for Insights

    Asking your direct reports what is important to them is a reliable way to gain understanding of what will keep them on board with you. While monetary incentive is usually going to top the list, you’ll gain insights into other things you may be able to offer such as more flexibility, time off, or helping them to explore different skill-sets or roles. By learning what they want more of, you’ll be able to offer alternatives to a financial increase that still make them feel valued.

    Be Candid

    It may be uncomfortable not being able to give employees what they want, but being transparent about the situation makes a big positive difference. If a promotion or raise isn’t viable, address this head-on with your team’s high-achievers. A missed opportunity for a raise will not go unnoticed. If you allow for a conversation about it, employees are less likely to feel underappreciated or question their performance. Open conversation promotes trust and your employees will be much more comfortable knowing the bigger picture. 

    Be their Advocate

    If the opportunity for a minor raise is available, fight for your top performers to get it. Many times, even a small increase can satisfy an employee. If there isn’t an opportunity for a financial increase, find out how you can help them work toward their long-term career goals and what they need to make them happen. You may be able to provide professional support or assist in developing a growth plan which will ultimately serve them well in the long-term. When your employees know that you support them, they’re less likely to get too discouraged.

    There is definitely stock in financial incentives, but long-term encouragement and recognition builds a culture that makes people want to stay. Think of the ways you personally like to be acknowledged, listen to what your team wants, and show appreciation in ways that truly last.

  • 3 Data Points that Make an Impact

    by Charlotte Freed | Aug 31, 2018

    Team members using data to make decisionsThe difference between playing a guessing game and investing in successful action items comes down to data. Not just gathering data, but dissecting it and understanding how these numbers apply to each aspect of your business. If you find that your organization is constantly planning and strategizing but rarely seeing how it effects the bottom line, you’re doing something wrong.

    If you were to conduct an employee satisfaction survey, but ignore the responses, what would be the point in sending it in the first place? The same logic applies to data you pull from your teams’ efforts. Look at the numbers and build a plan around them. Technology provides you insights into how your tactics deliver. Use those analytics to improve companywide, and keep an eye on these important data points.


    “Where are our leads coming from?” If you can answer this, you’re paving the road to meeting sales goals. Monitor your customers to determine what marketing tactics capture the most interest and generate the most leads. Whether email, AdWords, events, or social media – you will be able to see what works best for your customers and where and how to reach them.

    Campaign Success

    Determine how each of your campaigns are performing. When you make comparisons of specific campaigns and actions, you’ll better understand exactly what interests your customers. If you send out an email newsletter, look at the data around how many people opened, clicked, and spent time on the content. If you run a paid promotion, keep track of the clicks or engagements and where the promotion lives. Over time, you’ll be able to gauge what types of behaviors are worthwhile in generating sales.

    Predictive Numbers

    Predictive analytics can be extremely useful for long term planning. This technology reviews your current numbers and predetermines what is likely to happen in your business according to historic data. Predictive analytics allow businesses to focus on the approaches that are most likely to result in returns, rather than wasting time on activities with low yield.

    Taking the time to learn about the specific analytics that apply to your business and how to access them can cause a major shift in operations efficiency and ROI. Develop your plans around data that provides a foundation for growth.

  • How to Set Your Team Up for Agility

    by Charlotte Freed | Jul 27, 2018

    Monthly Blog - JulyHow quick is your team to handle problems head on and effectively, as soon as they arise? Agile may have been borne from software development, but it’s become a way of working in many types of collaborative organizations wanting to master constantly changing industries. Agility is key in business, both when adapting to continuous flux and just as importantly, when there is an issue at hand.

    Speed isn’t always equivalent to agility, make sure you and your team are aligned. Rather than executing quick fixes that won’t last, solve problems at their core. The key to making a team truly Agile is to develop proper processes, then ensure they are understood and enacted. With training, a strong handle on potential problems, and the proper responses - your employees will learn how to deliver solutions that reflect your corporate goals. There are some basic steps in establishing an Agile workforce:

    Be Transparent

    For your frontline team to feel empowered, it’s important they understand how their decisions influence the overall organization and impact overall goals. Start by laying the foundation of your mission and vision statements. If they feel their decision is aligned with these statements, they can be more assured that their solution fits the company’s objectives.

    Be Supportive

    You’re not always going to agree with how your team handles problems, but it’s important to back their methods if it solved the problem. If the actions they took were to help the customer, let them know you support their judgement.

    Be Insightful

    Being supportive does not mean you can’t give advice or make suggestions on how you would have resolved an issue. Begin with affirmation, saying something like “Thanks so much for working that problem out so quickly!” and follow with constructive advice: “If something like this happen again, you might consider…”

    Be Proactive

    When problem-solving, combine experimenting tried and true methods with new approaches. Incorporate the feedback you receive both internally and from your customers, then focus on validating each of these solutions with direct experience.
  • Being Authentic In a Filtered World

    by Charlotte Freed | Jun 29, 2018

    shutterstock_734213767_300x240The majority of the next two largest generations of consumers say that an authentic experience, personalized product, and custom service are determining factors in their purchasing decisions. But when conducting business in a world where CGI models influence millions, chatbots serve as the new customer service, and filters effect our political landscape– how do you prove your brand as authentic?

    In a study conducted by Cohn & Wolfe, 14,000 consumers across 14 international markets voted to name 100 of the most authentic brands. Tech titans dominate the list with Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft landing the top three spots. While consumer trust can take years to build, refer to some of the practices that tech companies exercise to maximize authenticity.

    1. Get Personal

    By human nature, we care a lot about ourselves. It’s important to us when others remember us: names, details, likes and dislikes. When we extend that personal touch in the business realm, the customer feels valued. If your product, content, or skills feels personalized for an individual, 78 percent say they would be more likely to buy something.

    2. Be Transparent

    Robots are commonly involved in business, so not only is it okay- but important- to divulge when a robot is part of the customer experience. Sometimes differentiating between AI and a human being can be difficult – so if you implement robotic communication in your business plan, let the person interacting with it know it isn’t a real person. Eventually AI technology will be as commonplace as human workers, but it’s key to respect the trust of your customers while that change happens.

    3. Have Visibility

    CEOs with high visibility across social platforms and online strongly contribute to corporate reputation. 92 percent of leading US public CEOs and 76 percent of private companies take the time to deepen their narratives and communicate online. Research shows that while many CEOs are valued for their online presence, they are neither posting often nor engaging on a prolific level. Thirty eight percent of both public and private company CEOs have posted online in the last year while 22% of public CEOs and 34% of private CEOs have actively interacted with others online. Post thoughtfully, listen to your customers, and stay abreast on your online and social presence: people are watching.

    4. Impress Quickly

    You have three seconds to capture your customer’s attention, which roughly translates to 12 words worth of reading. Interactions make as much, if not more, of a first impression. Those initial moments can stick in a memory for months. Whether sending a marketing email or interacting face-to-face, you have mere seconds to offer a positive experience. Learn what is most important to your target audience: will they appreciate a human on the other end of the line or is efficiency king? Making these determinations will help guide your entire business strategy.

    5. Apologize, well

    All brands make mistakes. What differentiates some from others is how they respond to those blunders. Remember, all apologies are not the same. Addressing the issue with integrity and apologizing swiftly goes a long way, but coming from a sincere place makes all the difference. Following up with how you plan on fixing the mistake is also key in influencing brand perception after the fact. Listen to feedback from the public to craft your apology; remember you are responding to actual people. How they feel directly impacts your bottom line.
  • When Your Entire Team Sells

    by Anna Mischke | Jun 01, 2018

    shutterstock_574544962If you ask who in your organization is in Sales, it’s likely that only your dedicated sales team would confidently raise their hands. However, every single person in your company regardless of their role contributes to your bottom line. While they may not all be dialing potential customers or presenting your services door to door, everyone should understand that their actions and decisions ultimately affect the company’s revenue, profits, and growth.

    Consider your receptionist. When a potential customer calls, will they be confident in your brand if the phone is answered unprofessionally? Or think of the interactions clients have with your customer service representatives. Do they feel valued when receiving assistance or do they sense impatience or annoyance? How will that experience affect their decision of where to place their business next?

    Creating a sales culture where everyone feels that their input and efforts are valuable, even if they may not directly affect finances, will ultimately help the goals of your company overall and generate a stronger sense of belonging within your organization.

    Connect your teams

    Rather than forming siloes around each department, build a sense of collaboration. By encouraging everyone to see their role as an interwoven aspect of overall success, they will be more likely to appreciate different positions and varying skillsets. When the team experiences a business loss, everyone should be working together toward a solution. When achieving a win, everyone should be celebrated for their part in the accomplishment.

    Think outside the role

    Sales opportunities come in all ways, shapes, and forms. Working with people with diverse talents and viewpoints may present fresh approaches when it comes to selling. Why not work with all of your employees to discover new methods to retaining clients, giving a proposal, or marketing your company?

    Share the loudspeaker

    When someone feels empowered to sell the company, the likelihood of them becoming an ambassador of your brand skyrockets. “Sales” doesn’t need to be in someone’s title for them to share the abilities of your product or service; people listen to others who are passionate about their work. By affirming each of your staff that their role is vital and directly influences overall success, you give them the opportunity to be proud of their role and of their importance.

  • When Discomfort Prods Innovation

    by Anna Mischke | May 04, 2018

    Monthly Blog_050418Most people are inclined to stay within their comfort zones: in business and at work, socially, even physically. We’ve learned to focus our attention where our strengths lie and tend to stay in this space, confident that we are meeting the requirements set out for us. While this mindset is understood and accepted in many environments, it is essential to realize that some of the greatest moments of innovation and learning happen when outside of that comfort zone, during a state of unease when pushing our limits.

    This apprehensive aspect of growth may touch on experiences from the past: walking into an unfamiliar classroom full of unknown peers, getting behind the wheel alone for the first time, or starting a new position in a role you haven’t yet mastered. From those moments, lifelong lessons are acquired: from important social behaviors to vital safety behaviors to being open to adaptation and learning quickly. When we explore outside our normal daily parameters, it’s typical to feel nervous, wary, or scared. The possibilities of failure are many and old habits have proven to work well enough thus far. But what might happen if we move into a space less comfortable than our norm and face questionable areas head on?

    Numerous coaches, therapists, and authors champion the importance of discomfort when looking for an innovative mindset.  Uncomfortable scenarios look different for everyone: some may find sharing ideas publically a challenge when others have difficulty properly engaging and listening. Short deadlines can be a motivating push for one individual and an anxiety-ridden timeline for another. Certain personalities like to work as a team and others prefer to function independently. Rather than retreating from a situation that doesn’t feel easy to tackle, focus on why you want to challenge yourself. Gauge where your comfort zone ends and when you begin to feel a stretch.

    Once you know where your discomfort begins, you can work toward finding an area where you can improve. Rather than completely disengaging from your current routine, make small steps in getting comfortable with new situations that can cause unease. As you become more confident and experience successes within this new scope of opportunity, you may find yourself more receptive to change and even begin to seek out challenges that stir creativity and innovation. New skills always feel awkward at first – but trying things differently allows us to perceive things in fresh light and lends the opportunity to approach challenges with unexpected solutions. 

  • Centerline a Perennial Sponsor of National Private Truck Council Expo

    by Anna Mischke | Apr 27, 2018


    Centerline Drivers returns as a Platinum Sponsor for the annual National Private Truck Council (NPTC) Annual Education Management Conference and Exhibition held in Cincinnati, Ohio. From April 29th through May 1st, over 180 exhibitors and 1,200 attendees will join to share industry insights and explore products and services from leaders in the industry.

    Centerline welcomes guests at Booth 110 to explore their five distinct premium driver staffing solutions: Driver Management Service™, Mobile Drivers, Flexible Drivers, Delivery Drivers, and Permanent Search and Placement. Centerline has connected over 50,000 drivers with Fortune 1000 and mid-sized companies since its founding in 1975. Professional drivers rely on us as their coach to find satisfying jobs where they can excel. Each driver we employ knows they will work with a team that is professional, courteous, resourceful and respectful. 

    Centerline is pleased to share that John Trahan, Director of Business Development, DMS, will be awarded the prestigious NPTC Professional Leadership Award.

  • The 6 Behaviors of Inspiring Leaders

    by Anna Mischke | Mar 03, 2018
    Monthly Blog 030518

    In a 360-degree leadership case study from over 87,000 leaders from around the globe, Zenger Folkman, a strengths-based leadership development group, found the top three leadership traits that matter were the ability to focus on customer needs, the ability to collaborate with colleagues, and the ability to inspire. However, it was discovered that inspiring and motivating others is the most difficult competency for leaders to grasp. In studies for over a dozen years, this skill continues to place last in overall leadership effectiveness. Considering that the ability to motivate and encourage is perceived as the strongest influence on the engagement level of direct reports and the behavior that most appreciate in a leader, it is striking that this is where leaders are least effective.

    According to the report, there are two main factors that make inspiring others a difficult competency to embody. Individuals find different techniques effective depending on their personal nature and leaders find what type of behavior to exhibit to inspire difficult to grasp. Of the top 1,000 leaders in the assessment who ranked highest on the competency of inspiring and motivating others, it was found that they shared six common approaches. Some are specific and tangible using highly engaged, extraverted behavior and others leaned more towards emotional connections and close, effective communication. Regardless of the type of approach, the research was palpable: the more of these behaviors a leader demonstrated, the more the leader is seen as inspiring.

    Visionary: Provides a clear, concrete vision of the future. They are strategic and innovative and make future goals appear achievable to the team through effective communication. 

    Enhancing: Creates strong individual relationships along with team relationships by focusing on others and treating them with respect. These leaders show great interest in the ideas and opinions of others’ and connecting on an emotional level.

    Driver: Focuses on achieving company goals: meeting deadlines, fulfilling commitments, and reaching objectives are necessary, not optional.

    Principled: Model integrity and take action that follows rules and procedures, never asking others to compromise their ethics.

    Enthusiast: Display passion and energy surrounding their work and the organization, generating enthusiasm and energy among the organization.

    Expert: Offer expert, important information and use strong technical direction to solve problems.

    Evidence shows that when 310 leaders focused on improving their ability to inspire and motivate by actively refining any one of these leadership approaches, they moved from the 42nd percentile to the 70th percentile. By employing motivating tactics that suited their various personality types, creating a strong development plan, providing and receiving strong feedback, and building awareness- leaders were able to make substantial improvements in their ability to inspire and motivate their teams.
  • Innovators’ Five Obsessions

    by Anna Mischke | Feb 03, 2018

    Monthly Blog 020218For Josh Linkner, “creativity and innovation are the lifeblood of all human progress.” An entrepreneur, author, and keynote speaker, Linkner has founded five tech companies and built his businesses from scratch into a combined value of over $200 million. All this while helping raise $150 million of venture capital for over 100 other companies and playing professional jazz guitar. In Linkner’s keynotes on innovation, creativity, hyper-growth leadership, and reinvention, he aims to help people and organizations hone in on their hardwired creativity to find their ultimate success. In several essential addresses, Linkner shares the top five focuses of innovators who are making a difference in driving growth and setting their businesses apart.

    Rediscover Your Curiosity

    “The more curious you are, the more creative you’ll become.” Ask questions before making decisions, particularly the difficult ones: try the simple “why?”, “what if?”, and “why not?” You may be surprised at the new approaches that you discover by being inquisitive.

    Embrace Change

    While companies may find great success, it’s not necessarily static. Many companies who rest in their complacency find their downfall in their failure to keep striving for what’s next. Businesses must “lean into change, embracing new approaches rather than clinging to old ones.” Innovators have a desire to constantly explore the newest trends, tech, concepts, and products; letting go of old ways can make all the difference.

    Challenge Tradition

    “Blindly doing things in a traditional way has been the downfall of far too many companies and careers.” Observe the traditions your company follows and see how you can transform the norm. Question what the contrary action would achieve and assess the potential outcome. While changing for the sake of it isn’t ideal, understanding whether your traditions are outdated or relevant is key. “This is the point where breakthroughs occur.” 

    Find Your Grit

    Getting into the weeds can make all the difference. Our ability to innovate comes from within, not from outside resources like money, headcount, or raw materials. Resilience and tenacity make for valuable qualities when finding the best way to do things, creatively; “instead of blindly throwing money at a problem, try throwing your imagination at it instead.” 

    Experiment, Learn, Adapt
    True innovation takes time: “only through a series of setbacks and mistakes, failures and pivots, tweaks and micro-innovations, does an idea gain any real merit.” You’re unlikely to find a concept that makes the biggest, strongest impression right out of the gate. Working creatively in small, fast bursts as a daily habit can produce the most bracing impact.

  • Industry-Wide Change in 2018

    by Anna Mischke | Jan 05, 2018

    With the New Year comes new challenges and while trucking faced a difficult time in 2017, 2018 will present unique trials. 2017 was a year boasting the creation of close to 2 million new jobs, stock markets reaching an all-time record high, and unemployment hitting a 17-year low. However, even with the strength of the nation’s tech, e-commerce and professional services- the driver shortage proved to be a hurdle difficult to overcome.

    The U.S. economy continues to heat up and with that comes better-paying jobs that don’t require work away from home for long periods of time or specific licensing such as a CDL. It is more important than ever to adapt to the current market and take action to proactively search for, recruit, and retain strong drivers.

    Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist for Glassdoor, explains that trucking isn’t the only industry going head-to-head with these challenges: a larger sect of industries will experience difficulties in 2018. Chamberlain’s recent forecast What’s Ahead for Jobs? Five Disruptions to Watch in 2018 touches on artificial intelligence (AI) and mobile technology and its influence on job seekers.

    What are five movements to expect in the coming year?

    Automation and AI are changing the Worker’s Landscape

    As technology’s impact greatens, automation and AI will effect every single industry in some facet. Whether viewed as positive or negative, AI tools may complement workers in HR and finance. In the trucking industry this movement means we will see the driver role evolve as old burdening tasks are eliminated and open up opportunity for drivers to provide other value-added service.

    Transparency is Key

    Transparency in the workplace has increased, but job seekers are asking for more insight into the mobile application process and status of their application in real time.

    Mobile Job Apps Need an Overhaul

    Applying for jobs from your mobile phone should be a user-friendly experience- something that isn’t necessarily available now.

    Labor-Intensive Roles, Health Care, and Tech Growth

    An aging population and advances in tech will increase the industry’s labor-intensive positions such as restaurant waiters and truck drivers: jobs that cannot easily be automated. Technology will also begin to touch trades not previously so tech-centric.

    Employee Role Experimentation to Support Goals

    Businesses are creating ways for employees to experiment with their roles to find positions that stoke their strengths, skills, and passions. By allowing staff members to work in different areas, companies may be able to better match talent with the roles they support best. By doing this, companies are able to retain their teams much better by generating internal lateral job moves.

    For the full report, download here on Glassdoor.

  • Our Duty

    by Anna Mischke | Dec 08, 2017

    Monthly Blog 120817As we enter the final month of the year, safety is at the forefront of our minds. With the holidays in full swing and balancing work and life is a frenzy, doing all we can to ensure our employees’ safety is paramount.

    Big shifts happen this month with the implementation of the ELD mandate. No matter your stance on the issue, things are moving ahead and it is our duty to safeguard our drivers and prepare them for this new season of regulation. Compliance has increased among small fleets to 75% according to a CarrierList survey released last week. While many small fleets have delayed compliance, we are all realizing that the time is now and being progressive about change is imperative.

    Let’s do our valued drivers a favor and equip them with the tools for success on the road. Providing them with FMCSA compliant ELDs is only a step. How can we further our driver’s knowledge and commitment to safety on the road? How can we promote education and protect well-being? We can be the frontrunners in demonstrating safety and leading by example. We can show that we take our drivers’ protection seriously by promoting safety – particularly during the inclement winter months. Equipping our drivers with the understanding of how they can improve safety measures and protect themselves and those around them only adds value to everyone in the picture.

    It is our responsibility to do all we can to give assurance to our drivers and their families that they’ll be home, safe and sound, and I hope that you’ll join me in not only caring for the success of our business, but the welfare of those who literally drive it.  

  • Emotional Intelligence – the Other Factor of Success

    by Anna Mischke | Nov 06, 2017

    Monthly Blog 110617In the workplace, there are two types of people: those who crumble under pressure, and those who tackle the challenge and succeed. The main difference between these people is not just their background, education or experience. While all of these factors play a role in defining success, emotional intelligence may be the most important factor of all.

    What is emotional intelligence?

    Emotional intelligence allows us to perceive and manage our emotions. More importantly, it allows us act on these emotions. These skills are a key indicator as to how we will react to stress, confrontation, success, and failure. As all of these situations are inevitable in the workplace, it’s no wonder why professional success is closely linked to high emotional intelligence.

    Improving Emotional Intelligence to Improve Success

    Unlike IQ or personality, emotional intelligence is flexible, and can be developed over time. Learning to manage emotions in the workplace can drastically increase performance. In fact, a TalentSmart study shows that 90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions – especially when under pressure. When work gets to be too much, it’s important to handle stress in a positive way, before it becomes detrimental. Coping mechanisms typically fall into two buckets: emotional and physical.

    • Emotional: These coping mechanisms typically involve staying positive and avoiding the “what ifs.” By focusing on the positives, roadblocks become smaller and easier to manage.
    • Physical: These coping mechanisms typically involve improving self-care through increased hours of sleep and disconnecting from the stressor. It’s important to remember that taking a step back does not mean stepping back completely – it’s just another way to refocus energy.

    Everyone handles stress differently. Understanding which method works best for you is the key to improving emotional intelligence, and professional performance.