Schneider Halfway Through Implementation Project
GREEN BAY, Wis.– For clutching and shifting, it’s time to head on down the highway. Schneider, one of the nation’s largest truckload carriers, recently passed the halfway mark in its fleet-wide implementation of automated transmission trucks, replacing those with manual transmissions. Along the way, the company has also transformed the industry and those it brings into its ranks: The influx of new, easier-to-operate and more energy-efficient tractors opens the door even wider for those considering a career in truck driving.
“We have been testing various versions of automated transmission tractors since 2007, so we had a lot of experience behind us when we made the decision in 2015 to start transforming the fleet,” says Rob Reich, Schneider’s vice president of equipment, maintenance and driver recruiting. “Ever since then, we have been very impressed with the dependability of these tractors. In fact, we’ve had fewer maintenance issues with them than we’ve seen with the manual transmission tractors, which is not what we expected. We’re extremely pleased with the performance of these vehicles – and more importantly, so are drivers.”
Jim Czachor, a longtime Schneider driver, was a part of the pilot that initially tested the new shifting technology. “At first, I was wondering what I got myself into, so I asked my dispatcher ‘if I absolutely can’t stand this, can I have my 10-speed manual back?’ Well, long story short, there’s no way I’d ever go back to a manual transmission,” Czachor said.
Fellow Schneider driver Pam Taylor agrees. “I learned how to drive on a manual at a truck driving school, but I’ve been driving an automated since shortly after joining Schneider. Once I got in it, I was in love with it, and I prefer it over a manual any day! It’s easier to drive, and I also feel safer behind the wheel because it allows me to keep my focus on the road. I don’t have to shift down if something jumps out in front of me.”
Today, every new tractor Schneider purchases comes standard with an automated transmission; the full-fleet transformation is expected to be completed in 2019.
For those new drivers in the industry who have been trained on automated transmissions only, Schneider is one of the few carriers able to guarantee they will be able to assign them to a tractor equipped with this technology. The company is also making every effort to accommodate the many manual-trained drivers who prefer automated transmissions.
Drivers who want to learn more about joining the Schneider team can visit schneiderjobs.com.