Wheeler goes on to say that the makeup of Daseke, with its range of different applications, is a real advantage when it comes to testing ideas and technologies. “It’s helpful to be able to try new things under replicable operating conditions and on a small scale,” he points out, “and when we get consistent positive results roll it out across the rest of the company.”
A technology first tested at one of the Daseke companies and that is now being deployed in a growing part of all its operations is EpicVue in-cab satellite TV, now equipped on almost half of the Daseke companies’ over-the-road tractors.
“We often try to focus on things that improve driver comfort,” Wheeler explains. “EpicVue is an example of how someone inside our company found a way to boost driver retention and lower recruiting costs. Among drivers with EpicVue satellite TV at Boyd Bros., for example, the turnover rate is half what it is for drivers that have not opted for the system. For the carrier, the savings in recruiting expenses easily recoup the cost of installing the systems.”
Other evaluations have led to the decision to adopt solutions that help drivers operate safer, Wheeler reports. For instance, as a result of testing there are plans to spec Bendix Wingman Fusion safety technologies including its full stability and collision mitigation systems such as stationary vehicle braking, lane departure warning and overspeed alert and action solutions.
Taking care of drivers
“We also believe strongly that taking care of trucks is taking care of drivers,” Wheeler continues. “We spec equipment based on our experience with things that keep trucks out of the shop for unscheduled events. That’s also why preventive maintenance is a big part of our focus.”
Another part of Daseke’s focus on drivers is aimed at improving fuel efficiency.
“In open deck transportation, loads are never the same and aerodynamics are not as effective as they are on enclosed trailers,” Wheeler says. “That means fuel economy is not consistent so the best way for us to improve MPG is to support and train drivers.
“We already have some of the most skilled drivers in the industry,” Wheeler adds. “That’s critical to our success because our drivers are required to secure, load and unload cumbersome and often high-value loads in a wide variety of conditions.”
Daseke, Wheeler relates, cultivates companies into a network of premier carriers. Each of the Daseke companies maintains its own autonomy, management team, operating functions, employee base and original branding and identity.
“We all work together,” Wheeler adds. “Don Daseke, our founder and chief executive officer, was once quoted as saying, ‘we look for outstanding companies with strong management and safety cultures. We do not take over management, as there is strength in our diversity. We invest in people, and we’re giving them an opportunity to be part of something bigger, together.’”