Trucking is a Service Industry
A trucking business can be one truck with one owner, or thousands of trucks owned by one company but driven by many different drivers. It's estimated by the United States Labor Department that a truck hauls about 70% of everything you wear, eat, use or enjoy around your home, in your school or at your job. It's also usually a truck which takes the pieces or raw materials to make those things from suppliers to a manufacturer to a store where you buy it. So just from this brief description, you can see that making a trucking business work smoothly is quite a challenge.
Permits and Licenses
A trucking company has to pay special taxes and have special permits from the federal and state governments to operate, as well as the truck drivers having their CDLs (Commercial Driver's License) and also any permits he or she needs, like a HazMat (Hazardous Materials) certification. Drivers who haul corrosives or other dangerous substances have to go through special classes and have that certification on their CDL before they are allowed to pull out of the trucking company yard with a HazMat load.
Back at the Office
A small factory's owner calls the trucking business and speaks to the operations manager, who is the person overseeing all the loads for all the drivers. The factory's owner tells the operations manager what the factory needs to have picked up, when it has to be picked up, where it's going, and when the shipment must be delivered to its destination. The operations manager tells the factory's owner what the trucking business will charge to do that shipment for the factory.
Once the price is set (and sometimes other money has to be added in, like special fees if the shipment must be delivered very quickly and a team of truck drivers is needed to get it there on time, or extra money to cover higher fuel prices), the operations manager has the dispatcher enter data on the computer so the necessary paperwork is generated for the driver. Then the dispatcher looks at his load board to see what driver is available closest to the factory needing the pickup, and either sends a signal by satellite or calls the driver to tell him to pick up the load.
A trucking business may specialize in what it hauls. Some trucking businesses move people's households, tanks and weapons for the military or heavy equipment like huge bulldozers and cranes. Some have armed guards aboard their trucks while taking irreplaceable art and sculptures to museums. But whether the trucking business hauls whales and porpoises or fragile china teacups, the same basic steps are always followed. Every person at a trucking business is necessary to get each load from pick-up to its destination, whether it's the company mechanic who looks after the trucks' engines; the dispatcher, the safety director who makes sure Hours of Service rules are followed, salespeople who find new shippers, or the file clerk who keeps track of all the paperwork for every truck and driver working for the business.
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