As we all know, travelling educates. That’s probably what the people in charge thought when they came up with the idea of taking our office staff away from their desks and sending them out on the road with our drivers. The basic idea was quite simple. One employee at a time was to spend a week on the road with one of our truck drivers. The purpose of these “travel groups” was to get to know each other’s jobs better, but above all, our “desk jockeys” were to experience the drivers’ very own world.
It is probably clear to most people that there are big differences between a desk and a driver’s cab. But what it actually means to transport goods and merchandise from A to B, all the things that have to be taken into account, the daily challenges, that is quite another matter.
In the meantime, the first “passengers” have returned and are reporting on their experiences together with the truck drivers. The office staff in particular gained many new insights.
What did you think of the idea for this kind of road trip?
- When this project was launched, I was immediately hooked. Even if it is a bit strange at first to suddenly spend almost 15 hours a day with a near stranger in such a small space, I would be available again at any time.
- I thought it was a great idea and was immediately enthusiastic about the project, especially that we were given the opportunity to experience the lives of our truck drivers for a week.
What made you decide to take part in the project?
- For the logistics planning department, but especially for the purchase and sales departments, the road is far away and it is therefore even more important to see what happens with their materials.
- Primarily the curiosity and interest in the daily work of our colleagues out there. I wanted to find out what it’s like to put the theory that takes place in the office into practice, what issues our drivers are confronted with, both positive and negative, and to experience what happens on the road myself. But I also found it important to have a direct exchange with our drivers in order to better understand their point of view and to understand any objections to certain processes.
What are the greatest insights that this journey has given you? What do you perhaps see with different eyes now?
- The lesson of this week was that the departments are actually interested in what is going on out there on the road. Wherever wood chips, bark, bark mulch or entire sawmills were to be seen, pictures were taken and locations saved in order to check possible business opportunities later.
- It was a big change for me to start at 1 a.m. on the first day compared to my usual working hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.. And it’s usually not over after 8 hours, our longest driving day lasted 15 hours. But I can understand him well and would probably do it the same way. Fortunately, we were only stuck in a traffic jam once. I became aware of how much a driver has to think about and consider in addition to just driving.
What could you learn from each other?
- We do completely different jobs, the people in the office juggle numbers, we juggle our trucks. But somehow everything is connected and everyone depends on the other. In any case, my fellow driver saw a lot of things that could be improved and also “understood” the problems at the loading points better.
- I was able to get a very good insight into the everyday life of a truck driver and I am very happy to have had this experience. I appreciate it even more now that I have regular working hours and can come home to my husband every evening.
As you can clearly see from the voices on the trip, the project is a full success. The understanding of each other’s work has increased enormously, especially the office staff have learned a lot about the truck drivers’ job and have gained many new insights. Everyone is enthusiastic and grateful for this experience, which will make future cooperation even better and ensure a strengthened team spirit.