Photo: Crum Trucking
Crum Trucking uses input from drivers in most operational decisions, which has led to a driver turnover rate of 14%.

Using its strengths to ensure productivity and efficiency

Jan. 1, 2021

“Everything we do is based on the great partnerships we’ve established with our customers,” explained Keith Crum, president of Crum Trucking Inc. “Today, 84% of our runs are dedicated, and much of the contract business we have stems from requests by our customers to meet specific needs beyond standard dry van services. It was also customers who prompted us to expand our services into Canada and Mexico several years ago.”

Batesville, Ind.-based Crum Trucking uses its central location in Southern Indiana to its advantage. The more than 160 tractors and over 400 trailers departing from its home terminal can reach 24 states and Canada within 11 hours.

Crum actively uses a combination of management technology and a hands-on approach to streamline its operation, noted Mike Bruno, operations manager. For example, the carrier’s dispatch department assigns drivers to a driver manager, and a load planner keeps track of orders and driver assignments.

“We use McLeod Software as our TMS [transportation management system], and we have EDI capability,” Bruno explained. “To more effectively manage workflow and business processes, we use McLeod’s Logix Solutions. In addition, the management software is integrated with communication and tracking technologies, including Omnitracs, Samsara and SkyBitz systems, on tractors and trailers.”

Also ensuring productivity and efficiency at Crum is a maintenance operation based in a new state-of-the-art six-bay shop.

“Our maintenance facility operates 24/7/365 to stay on top of routine maintenance and to facilitate repairs,” Crum said. “Its greatest features are its technicians and staff, a fully stocked parts department, and an inbound inspection bay that has definitely reduced our on-road breakdowns.”

Crum’s approach has also led to a low 14% driver turnover rate. Bruno said that achievement stems from using input from drivers, along with operations, safety and administrative staff, in most major operational decisions. In addition, an understanding of the importance of a work and family life balance drives schedules, with nearly all drivers home at least once weekly.

Crum also addresses fuel efficiency by purchasing SmartWay-certified equipment for its fleet, and it is keenly focused on promoting fuel-efficient driving. For that effort, in 2017 it installed the Vnomics True Fuel optimization solution in 139 tractors. The on-board technology assesses driver fuel efficiency in key areas of engine speed, speeding and idling.

“True Fuel has proven successful in helping us achieve a nearly 5% mpg increase,” said Keith Maucher, project manager/driver manager. “That’s saved us over $300,000 in fuel costs so far. Depending on the price of fuel, the savings are about $200,000 per year.

“Vnomics also provides excellent data that is discussed one-on-one with drivers to show them how they can lower consumption,” he continued. “For example, drivers who run over rpm can see that they’re using more throttle than necessary. And by not operating at higher engine speeds, they can still be in the optimal gear for fuel efficiency.”

Crum also has several drivers who have downloaded the True Fuel app and who are now discussing how to improve their fuel efficiency with Maucher. “We moved those drivers into new driver trainer positions,” he said. “They’re now coaching our newest drivers on how to lower fuel use.”

True Fuel is becoming part of a fuel bonus program at Crum as well. The company’s first contest this fall included a monetary reward for drivers who scored 98 or better in both engine control and speed categories, along with rewards for the top 10 most improved drivers.

 As Crum Trucking is growing and expanding its fleet, it also used True Fuel data to help spec trucks that are even more fuel efficient. “We used the Vnomics solution and information from the OEM to determine the right specs for our business,” Crum said. “That includes engines, transmissions, and rear axle ratios for our 30 new Peterbilt day cab and sleeper models.

 “We’re dedicated to transporting goods efficiently,” he added. “We’re always trying to find ways to be as efficient as possible and to generate savings.” 

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