In It For The Long Haul

Von Todd Datz

Half of Schneider´s customer orders are receivedelectronically, either via the Web or electronic datainterchange. (EDI, which has been in use since the 1960s,allows businesses to transmit documents electronically,generally over private networks.) "Anytime we can create anelectronic transaction, we do so," says Dickman, adding thatin the trucking industry, that´s not always possible - MaBell and Pa Fax still hold their own, especially withsmaller shippers. To encourage more Web transactions, thecompany continually elicits customer feedback to make sureits Web site,, is easy to use. Customerscan use the site to place orders, track shipments and printthe documents necessary to complete theirtransactions. Another company site,, serves as a portal that matchesavailable freight to capacity for Schneider´s more than6,000 carrier partners.

Linda Beth, vice-president of e-business solutions, saysthat the company´s goal this year is to receive 60 per centof its orders electronically. For Schneider, increasingelectronic orders means better order accuracy and higherproductivity. So it will continue to nudge customers in thatdirection.

Industry Challenges

One of the major challenges facing Schneider is all toofamiliar to carriers: recruiting new drivers. According tothe American Trucking Association, there´s a need for 80,000to 100,000 additional drivers. COO Arves says, "It´s been anongoing problem for us and really everybody intransportation." He explains that the problem has existedfor the last decade, and he anticipates that it willcontinue, because demographics point to a smaller labourpool in the coming years.

One way Schneider is combating that trend is by making moreof an effort to recruit women and minorities. "You´ll see usand others trying to do a better job in the future ofrecruiting people from the Hispanic population," he says,adding that Schneider has already made great strides in thisarea. The company also uses technology as a recruitment andretention tool; its Touch Home program includes in-cabe-mail via satellite and discounted 800 numbers to helpdrivers stay in touch with their families while they´re onthe road.

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