Arthur Almeida and Logan Edwards are key parts of the critical load planning function at FreightWorks. In their strategic roles, all the key tasks of getting freight from “point A to B” gets hammered out in daily dialogues with driver managers, individual drivers, and a broad supporting staff. For the uninformed person transportation and logistics may seem as easy as “just get in the truck and drive”, but it’s not that simple! Listen as two young professionals share the behind-the-scenes stories of managing daily stresses and the changing circumstances of professional driving in 2022. There’s more to the story!
Arthur Almeida is one of FreightWorks' Load Planner
Logan Edwards is one of FreightWorks' Load Planner
sometimes we might think you know we planned out the day before we planned out the rest of the week or the last coup the next couple of days pretty well everything seems to be running just fine and you come in in the morning it starts with one phone call and then from that one phone call goes to the next and the next and sometimes one phone call is all it takes for you to have to change five different drivers plans welcome to life of the mile delivered by brakeworks one of america's fastest growing podcasts actually produced by trucks indicted to tell stories
all here right now this is life by the mile delivered by freightworks i'm your host butch maltby we are so happy to be with you today and you know part of our commitment is to try to unpack and get behind the curtain of exactly what uh trucking logistics companies are all about and today it's a tremendous delight to have really a team two people from a team here at freight works and we're gonna be talking to uh arthur alameda a load planner logan edwards a load planner and for everyone that's ever wondered what load planning is we're going to dive deep into that and uh and get some answers so welcome both of you thank you thank you all right well let me start out with you uh logan how did you get to freight works uh i got to freight works because my mom initially worked here before i did she she got hired on as a weekend dispatcher and i was in college at the time i was going to isothermal community college up the road okay and this was right about the time that covid was starting to hit a little bit and i was
online weren't online learning didn't really work for me so i was kind of taking a break from that and i was looking for a job to kind of take the place of while i wasn't while i was taking a break from school okay and she had made the recommendation to come here and i figured i didn't have anything specific in mind so i may as well give it a shot and i've been here ever since great and that was how long ago i believe it was about two and a half years ago wonderful and and how about you arthur well i i've known josh farmer for a few years quite a few years actually and as soon as i because i'm obviously i'm from brazil so as soon as i became eligible to work here and got my workers permit from the homeland security department he gave me a call and and said i have an opening have opportunity for you if you want to pursue it um just pray about it and let me know and i said sure next the following day i called him and i said yeah i think i think that's for me and i've been here ever since it's been two years and three months great you know what before we uh go any further make sure you subscribe to this youtube channel make sure you engage and share trying to grow the audience we're well over 700 subscribers and growing so make sure you do that please all right well let's let's jump in for the people that are uninformed logan what does a load planner do a load planner more or less gets the um they are told by the customer or they go out in search of freight from freight brokers in order to get their trucks from where they're at to where they need to go okay and they pretty much put the puzzle together with the pieces that they've got to work with okay and what would you add to that arthur um i would say as i've said in my previous podcast i think it's appropriate it's a kind of a a freightworks ambassador in the dispatch equation so to speak you got you know the customers and the drivers and you got the load planner that's gonna take demands from both sides and it's gonna take what's the most appropriate and most efficient solution for freight works financially and logistically okay let's paint the picture and you know what i want both of you to do this for me i want you to do a favor here i want you to talk to me the way you talk to the driver managers on a good day okay or to talk to the drivers on a good day we're just going to have a conversation with each other all right so let's paint the picture we've got a customer that has needs we've got a company that has needs to make a profit we have driver managers we have load planners and we have drivers and then we got their families back at home and and it's often been said when mom's not happy nobody's happy so you've got all of that that you've got to kind of deal with what role do you play in that mix can you just let's just have an open open-hearted conversation about how all of those pieces work because there's a tension in all that right i mean there's an implied tension so let's talk about how it works why don't you start logan um well that's kind of in my and my thought that's probably the hardest thing about what me and arthur do is trying to find a balance between what's what works best for the company what works best for the driver what works best for the customer and it you have to kind of strike a balance to make sure that you're not always one-sided to one specif one specific piece of that little trifecta because what's always best for the customer isn't always going to be best what's what's best for the the company or the driver what's best for the driver isn't always going to be what's best for the company or the customer and vice versa so you have to kind of strike a balance and make sure that at the end of the day that there is some sort of balance and that the overall picture is kind of falls into place to make things happen okay well that's insightful now arthur can you give like a real example of where does it what does it look like when you're having to give some you know what i'm saying what does it look like when you have to take something off your table of expectations so that you can benefit the whole of what's happening there because if you i would think if you're just pushing hard for your agenda you're going to have drivers that aren't happy you're going to have driver managers that aren't happy because the drivers aren't happy so talk a little bit about what it looks like day to day absolutely so i think a good way for us to put it is that we have to prioritize customers over brokers i think any carrier out there that has both those relationships know that knows that quite well
a good example would be let's say a driver have has a load that's assigned to him that's a load that we got from a freight broker and but in the same geographic location we have a driver coming up with a customer load and something unexpected happens with that driver to where he has either a family emergency he becomes physically ill or a mechanical breakdown his equipment and we might have to either forfeit that freight that we got from a broker in order to recover repower and keep that customer freight moving to make it on time or we might have to be delayed a couple hours or push it to the next day i know freight brokers don't like to deal with that which i understand they're getting heat from their customers as well but in order to keep our long-term relationship with our customers we have to prioritize customers over brokers which even more most brokers understand because if they were in our shoes they would do the same thing right so in other words uh and we often say this one thing that distinguishes freightworks is that we're interested in relationships not just transactions there are a lot of companies out there that churn and burn and it's like okay well we'll never see him again that's fine that certainly is not our our value uh at all but logan you there there are times where where we're asking drivers to make sacrifices right we're asking them to bend our way how does that work right yeah absolutely there are times when there are situations that come up where we ask for a little bit of give and take which wouldn't normally that goes above and beyond what our normal expectations are since we do have customers that we have to service and we try to keep the best relationship that we have with these customers especially in the times that we're in in terms of the economy and everything where it's harder to find freight because manufacturing is down so customers are basically the core of freight works at the moment and it pretty much always has been and it always will be so there are occasions where we have to kind of let them remind drivers and driver managers and pretty much all across the board that it's not something that we will always expect out of them but there's all it's trucking and situations are going to come up that aren't that are abnormal right so so arthur let me let me ask you this let's say i'm a driver let's role play for a minute i'm a driver and i need you to ask me to do something kind of hard maybe unusual to step in the gap how does that conversation go well i usually try to get the driver that's how he's doing he's having a good day and by his response right there in the first instance i kind of get a feel of how he is that day and his mood so to speak and when you when you say how are you doing today are they on the other end saying oh no here it goes most of them yes most of them when you i most of them when i call them because i typically logan doesn't typically talk to drivers so when we call them they already know something is uh something is off the charts but they also know that there are times you're going to talk to them where it's not like the hammer is going to drop right right right yeah i mean sometimes because if if if the only time you're ever talking to them you're about to deliver some hard message they're not going to want to talk to you right sometimes we talk to them just to see how they're doing and not necessarily nothing to do with freight or trucking but yeah when it's like in the morning usually it's when things everything is going on and we're trying to get everything straight in and the straight and error going and you call a driver and they they pretty much know you're calling them to do something out of the way and ask them how they're doing and i usually just try to go straight to the point and tell them explain one thing that i've seen is when i try to explain to the driver the big picture of why he's having to do what he's doing why we're having to change why he's having to go extra mile most of them are okay with it the problem is when he just changed something on a driver and you know explain why you're doing it he has no idea why he's having to sacrifice something that's when they feel like they're being taken advantage of and they don't react good to that so i always i can tell you countless countless times i have talked to drivers and given them a change in the plan that sometimes i have to deliver because it will take so much for me to put it into the driver manager especially when it's a complex plan that i just go straight to the driver logan does the same thing and explains to the driver what the plan is and what's the big picture behind it and most drivers do okay with that i mean sometimes they have to sacrifice you know get home a day late or might have to sacrifice not getting as much miles which we try to compensate them with a bonus or something to compensate for their loss of miles which means lost money for them but for the most part i think that's the big key when trying to give drivers a change is just explain it to them and let them feel a part of the plan and not just somebody you're dumping something on what would you say to that logan i mean you're in the trenches on this all the time i would say that that's a i would say that he summarized it pretty well um i mean the biggest thing is when you have to understand what or when me and arthur both understand that when you are asking something like that of a driver we're very much we're very much aware that we're asking them to go above and beyond what is a normal day and we try to do our best to show our appreciation and we try to give them the big picture like he said so that there is a mutual understanding that we're not doing it we're not asking them for a favor because something that fell apart on our end or just for the sake of asking it it's because we really do need their help in order to get the customer service well and of course a lot of people who aren't involved in trucking logistics don't realize all the variables that you're dealing with you're dealing with the human equation health you're dealing with weather you're dealing with mechanical issues that inevitably happen on trucks even on on on newer ones and so any given day you don't really know what your day is going to be do you that's exactly right sometimes we might think you know we planned out the day before we plan out the rest of the week or the last coup the next couple days pretty well everything seems to be running just fine and you come in in the morning it starts with one phone call and then from that one phone call goes to the next and the next and sometimes one phone call is all it takes for you to have to change five different drivers plans and it's like dominoes right i mean everything relates to everything and it affects uh everything and all you have to do is look up at the board and see where the trucks are all over the country and realize that one bad weather situation or accident or driver health situation can or even uh you know mechanical stuff where you got a reefer and all of a sudden the reefer is not working you got to figure out what to do to recover the load it's a lot isn't it it does what logan what prepared you for this were you the kind that played with legos and no well when i was younger i i did there was creativity uh throughout my childhood i was a creative kid which i think helps now because there's situations where the only way to solve a problem is to get creative so i think that ever since i was younger that there has been a little spark of creativity there okay how about you arthur i mean what what prepared you for the ambiguity that you have to be able to deal with the chaos that just comes whether you plan for it or not and just all the moving pieces did you have i mean we would say as people of faith god prepares us for that but exactly and that's the most important thing but i was i was also add to that um in school i always liked the math physics problems to where you didn't have exact form on how to solve it but you kind of had to learn how to apply it and he applied differently to each case and it just i always i feel like that's pretty much what we're dealing with every day we're basically recovering repowering loads off and on um making plans but you gotta apply differently every single day um i think another thing that helps me too especially on the side of where there's so much pressure from customers from drivers is me being with my dad growing up beside him and his business and seeing the ins and outs of you know how life really is and how pressure is there no matter what business you're in what industry and um and just kind of learn how to deal with it in peace you know you can't get all frazzled and get bent out of shape but um i think that's one big thing as well you just gotta to make the right decision you kind of keep that peace in your heart and just see and hear what's the best direction to go well and you know the thing that we often say here at great works is that we do genuinely care about people and you know when i used to have a little office over there that i was never in and told joyce and josh i don't need that office and now silas is in there now i interact with drivers a lot and they think because i have a shirt on like like this i'm equipped to solve their problems which i'm not they'll often come in and tell me what's wrong with their truck and i'll nod my head knowingly and just say well isn't that something and let them kind of ventilate a little bit but it's the human part that's so important these aren't numbers these are real people with families and we really do care about them but we also are not people right that are just trying to be liked i mean if if you're somebody in your position and your primary motivation is you want everybody to like you you're not going to do your job very well are you absolutely explain that logan why is that true um i would say that i would say that's definitely true because they're much like many other things in life there's nobody's the same you're not always going to have the same outlook on on where priority should be at and also they're there are drivers that they're like i said their priorities are not going to line up with our priorities and
i guess it's that that's the biggest thing is is the priorities that don't always line up and the approach to problems there are people that are going to have a much more positive outlook and are very much more go with the flow and then there are other there are other people that are going to get worked up a lot easier and do not handle the issues and trucking quite as well that was said very delicately but very accurately and i've seen that to be true when i've talked to drivers here there's uh you know just a driver or two in particular who will go unnamed wonderful people and i think they're really good drivers but if i ask him how are you doing uh i've learned that i'll say tell me the least bad thing that's going on because that's the best thing that's going on in their day and it's just because whatever happened in their life or the way that they are you know what i'm saying they're just absolutely they're going to start with things they're not going well so how do you deal how do you deal with that uh because you're you're texting what your vehicle's a communication or the phone and text right primarily or yeah absolutely uh phone and text and when they come through maybe a face-to-face meeting exactly or some of them like to send emails but that's a very small percentage but i think uh logan said it very well some of them take it better than others one thing that i just had to accept is that i'm not going to be liked by all and i think that plays a big part of it now if it's something somebody's having a hard time with the planner for something that maybe i can do better sure i want to know what that is so i can improve but some people like you can never do enough for them they'll always have something to complain have a gripe so i've learned that and i'll do my job the best way i know how to do it and and one thing it's very important about load planners that you know i do i act this way and i know logan does as well we don't take uh favor we don't take pick favorites and have favoritism when assigning loads you know we know certain loads are the favorites for most drivers especially when there's a drop and hook or a certain location where the load is going whether it's not very populated most drivers don't like to go to big cities where there's a lot of traffic and we we don't take into account who likes to go where or we know these drivers you know we we look at the clock the hours of service we look at the the how all they've been performing in the past maybe they have a home time event coming up and where the home their home is you know to where we need to send them
several things that i play but nothing to do with though i like this guy better therefore i'm gonna give him this load or anything to that effect it just literally goes with facts and just straight points to where it makes us decide what load to give to who assume for a minute that i'm a driver i'd like both of you to answer this question what is a driver can i do to make our working relationship better i believe communication with you know make sure you have anything coming up in your life we have to be off the road or anything coming up where you're not gonna have to be able to do what you usually do communicate out with your driving manager in advance if you if you can help it we all know some things come up in all of our lives there's last minute we didn't know you know we we couldn't have told you any earlier because we didn't know to tell you but for the most part that's not the case that's not the norm no it's an exception and if you communicate in advance let them know what's going on um you're basically fine and you know we we do expect drivers you know to cover between 550 600 miles a day and you do that and communicate well and and you're basically fine i believe there's also some drivers that always looking for something wrong with what equipment it seems like you know just to get breakdown pay your earn money like the easy way so to speak and we do have had some issues like that in the past but for the most part if you're here to drive and you want to earn your money you know driving and you'll be able to do it you'll be just fine how about you logan what what what can a driver do to to just bring the best out in you and help you help them well to be to piggyback off of what arthur said i would say communication it's cliche but communication definitely is key if you're if you have open communication with your driver manager and your load planner your driver manager is going to do the best that they can to have open communication with you so that there's no breakdown in communication that could result in making the driver manager the load planner and the driver's life harder so i think the best thing that a driver can do is
to when they first start here at freightworks when they're meeting with their driver manager and their load planner is to set realistic expectations of not only what they expect of us but also as to what we can expect of them and i because i know that i do it and i know arthur does it as well we we try not to set anybody up for failure and we try to plan off of realistic expectations so that because we know that if we set someone on an unrealistic schedule that hurts freight works that hurts the driver that that hurts the driver manager and that hurts the customer and it's bad all the way around if we if we don't plan off of realistic expectations let's talk uh for a minute uh i often say this the mark of a good conversation as they go quickly and this one's going fast let's talk a little bit about how you interact with driver managers what does that typically look like day to day
i'll go ahead and say usually we were actually just talking about this in the dispatch room actually drivers with driver managers tend to you know pull more towards the driver's side you know of course because they're they're that's basically their job they're there to represent the driver and they're like the driver's agent exactly yeah and we had to take that into consideration you know that's a big big part of the equation but that doesn't seem up what makes our decision we have to also listen to the customer side and then we have to weigh in as well freight work side of things and most of the time i mean we have a very cordial relationship in this patch we don't we don't try to blame people for you know this is your fault no we're here as a team to work together to get the job done if you do your job well that means i'll makes my my life easier to do my job well and that's how we look at each other and i think there's always uh we want to collaborate too there's always a sense of fulfillment to where if the driver is happy doing what he's doing he's happy with the plan and the driver manager is happy then we are happy because if we put a plan together it's to make the customer happy to get the load there on time we never put a plan together to have a customer load late so to speak right and so if we if we have that um if you're able to get that down the line to the driver to where he is happy with his plan then we have we have a everybody's happy with what they're doing the driver managers come to us all the way through customer service and to the customer you know it's interesting because i don't comment normally but i'm on many of the slack threads so i follow what's going on and one thing that gives me a lot of joy is to see a major situation and watch the team come together to arrive at a solution i mean it's it's it's really incredible to watch i mean it's it's almost like a a dramatic scene you know we got a truck where literally the wheels came off or whatever it may be got to recover a load keep the driver flowing and going and keep the customer happy but when you all come together it's really pretty special isn't it have you had do you remember somewhere it was just like at the surface there's no way we're going to recover this it's can you think of one where it was just like and and you know what those of us that are people of faith and of course great works is a very diverse community of people that are people of faith and not but uh those of us that are people of faith would say god really helped us have you had some that just seemed so destined for failure that you can remember but somehow it worked out a perfect example would be about 30 minutes ago actually right before me and arthur came into here we had a driver that was delivering to a receiver and it was a very small it was it wasn't even a warehouse it was a very small storage building that didn't even have a dock it was in salt lake city utah okay and it was on a one-way road the driver could not turn right onto the road because it was too sharp of a turn and the driver was not able to make a left turn onto the road because uh they would have taken down a stop sign or or another road sign in the process um the only other way to get onto the road was to go to the next block over and take a little side street but the next the road on the next block up said no trucks allowed so uh the driver uh spent about a couple hours trying to drive by and try and calculate things and see if there was any possibility of go getting into that facility and it was it was not looking like it and after working with the driver manager and customer service and getting input from different departments and everything we were able to come to a solution and safety gave their input of working with the local police department to give them a heads up and fill them in on the predicament that we're in and we were able to get the issue resolved i love that and that happens over and over and over which is one of the reasons why we wanted to have both of you on today this is arthur alameda and logan edwards both load planners here at freightworks we wanted to have you on so that people could better understand just all of what you deal with and how you're an intricate part of the cog of the machinery that we call freight works well we're at that time now where we get to say thank you for being here today and we've got this merch we've got this merchandise so let me tell you real quickly we got the beanie it's warm outside but it's going to be cold at some point this is the life of the mile leather beanie cap there we've got these these are very popular at mats it's the leather like but i feel like i'm doing an uh qvc presentation you got the leather patch there we've got the patriotic theme in the back of course we've got the yeti mugs you may have one of these arthur i'm not quite sure and then we've got the breakworks one logo and i've come to realize that trucking logistics people love hats so we don't have to mail it to you which one of these would you like logan you know butch i'm i'm thinking that i might have to go with the yeti mug because the the ears that i was given are not quite made for hats it looks a little bit funny when i put a hat on so i think i might have to go with them for the 81 or two episodes that we've had nobody has ever mentioned their ears before logos that's great you do that all right so you're the yeti mug how about you arthur i think i'll take the patriotic hat okay so the like by the mile hat and when we're done with this episode i'll i'll give this to you this has been great to have you here and i don't know what happened with your loads while you were over here in the chairs but i pray that everything is okay when you go back to the office this is life with a mile delivered by freightworks i'm butch malpe your host we love coming to you two times every week and then in addition to that we've got short 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