Company Won’t Supply Needed Bungee Cords

By: Andy,

Tools and Equipment InvitationI haul moisture-sensitive products on my flatbed. My trucking company tells all drivers at point of hire that we will be fired if we haul a load that isn’t tarped when it should have been and gets damaged. Tarps are assigned to each truck, but bungee cords to keep the tarps on the truck occassionally break. I’ve reported my need for more bungees to my fleet manager, but so far, no new ones have been given to me. Rain is headed to my area later today. Does my fleet manager want for me to lose my job?

Response from Vicki:

Hi, Andy. Thanks for asking your question about tools and equipment for use on your truck. It sounds as though you are a conscientious trucker who wants to do your job to the best of your ability — and deliver products in good condition. For that, I commend you.

I sympathize with you regarding the spot you’ve been put in regarding needing to do a good job and yet not having sufficient tools with which to do it.

I’m glad that you’ve expressed your need for new bungee cords to your fleet manager. Driver managers are not mind readers and don’t know when drivers need things unless they are told.

If you’ve been doing a good job for your trucking company, I seriously doubt that your fleet manager wants to see you get fired. It’s possible that with other drivers in the fleet to care for — and possibly other huge things going on — that your request got brushed aside or put at or near the bottom of the priority list.

What form of communication have you used to tell your fleet manager about your need? Has it all been verbal? If so, I recommend that you start putting your requests [in writing] and send them to your fleet manager. Use a text or email — whatever gets the job done.

It would be a good idea to take an inventory of your bungees:
* How many do you need?
* How many do you have?
* What condition are they in?
* Do some look like they are ready to snap?
Don’t over-dramatize, but grade them based on your own personal scale.

Assuming you know how many bungees you need to secure your tarps, it would also be a good idea to crunch the numbers and send them to your fleet manager. For example,
* I need 50 bungees to fully secure full tarps.
* I have 40 bungees and need 10 (which is 20%).
* Of the 40 bungees I have, 10 appear ready to snap (another 20%).

Remind your fleet manager of the tarping policy you were told about when you were hired. Ask him/her if that policy is still in place. If it is, then ask if he/she was in your shoes regarding not having enough bungee cords, what would he/she do?

If you don’t get a satisfactory answer — or keep getting the runaround — you can possibly take this over your fleet manager’s head to his/her supervisor.

A daring move would be for you to buy bungee cords at a truck stop. I say “daring” because if you do not have approval for the purchase, it is unfortunate that your trucking company may not reimburse you (even though they should).

If you choose to buy bungee cords and submit the receipt for reimbursement, be careful to keep a copy for your own records. Perhaps a photograph of one will be sufficient but check with your accountant to make sure. You may want to get a P.O. (Purchase Order) number ahead of time to speed the reimbursement process along.

For what it’s worth, some trucking companies may have a policy that if a trucker and his/her fleet manager aren’t getting along so well, that the trucker can request getting transferred to another fleet. Weigh your options.

I hope that this helps. Mike and I wish you safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.

Best regards,
Vicki Simons