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Internet imagination

AT LEAST three truck carriers have created Web sites that use imagination to recruit drivers, emphasize safety, and discuss company operations. The attractions range from Usher Transport and its award-winning safety program, to Quality Distribution and its business-to-business site, to Venezia and its home page filled with in-house and customer highlights.

However, Venezia wins the “most fetching” prize in attraction for featuring a photograph of Vinnie Venezia, the company's Labrador retriever. Whatever the emphasis, the sites answer questions for customers and serve as driver recruitment resources, both essential in today's competitive marketplace.

Not surprisingly, the winner of the 2001 National Tank Truck Carriers Outstanding Performance Trophy for Safety, Usher Transport Inc, Louisville, Kentucky, emphasizes safety on its driver recruiting pages. Prospective drivers learn that Mike Baker, safety director, is a certified safety director and hazardous materials responder, as well as about his other accomplishments. Usher also provides information on emergency response teams located in Louisville and Paducah, Kentucky.

In other driver-related topics, Usher notes that the majority of its fleet spends less than two nights per week on overnight travel. Hiring criteria is listed for prospective drivers. Although Usher prefers experienced drivers, the company has a tank-training program available. Another page has information about the company's drivers, featuring the drivers of the year.

On the corporate information pages, visitors find information about the trucking division, as well as the rail services division. Photographs and e-mail links are included of the sales team, as well as executive management.

Quality Distribution (QD), Tampa, Florida, has designed its Web site to embrace business-to-business technology by offering customers several services. Customers have access to password-secured pages, where they can submit orders, obtain a trip-time calculator, and determine calibration detail for QD tank trailers. Rate requests also can be submitted.

After the cities of origin and destination have been entered in the trip-time calculator, the distance in miles is revealed. Also calculated are driving hours, time for tire checks, meals and fuel hours, rest hours, and total hours for both single and team drivers.

For more general information, the site discusses QC's family of companies, including Quality Carriers, TransPlastics, Levy Transport, Power Purchasing, and QualaWash. Another section features a company financial report. On a news and publications section, visitors can find the company's legal certifications. Information is provided about the company's safety program and membership in the American Chemistry Council's Responsible Care program.

A driver section features employment information, a job search, driver application, and recruiting contact. The recruitment page lists the company's requirements and discusses the benefits that are available for drivers who are accepted. One section lists pay owner-operators can expect and notes that company driver compensation is terminal specific.

On the home page, Venezia Transport Service, Limerick, Pennsylvania, headlines 56 drivers who won the carrier's third annual safe driving award. Additional company news shares the spotlight, including information about technological upgrades, a new terminal location, employee honors, and other company highlights.

A company with several divisions, Venezia has a section for each. In the driver recruitment section, the carrier gives company history and driver incentives. An on-line application form is available that can be forwarded; or an applicant can print the form, complete it, and mail it to the company. Venezia also offers over-the-phone application. The site notes that, in addition to its in-house driver training, Venezia works with Sage Corporation Professional Driving Schools to train new truck drivers.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Venezia has more than 50,000 words on its pages filled with company photographs. While the majority of the photographs show company trucks and trailers, there are pictures of employees and company facilities. However, probably the most “fetching” picture proudly displayed is of Vinnie Venezia, a Labrador retriever wearing a stylish bandanna tied around the neck. The dog's eyes are beckoning, which is probably an especially effective recruiting device.

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