It has been eight years since Kriska Holdings Ltd. and Mullen Group’s Mill Creek Motor Freight have combined to form Kriska Transportation Group (KTG).
Since then, KTG has grown to become one of the largest private transportation companies in Canada with 11 operating companies under its umbrella. Together, his companies employ more than 1,200 people and operate 950 trucks and 2,000 trailers across North America, with services ranging from cross-border dry vans, reefers and flatbeds to regional retail haul services.
As KTG expanded its operations, the company continued to prioritize fleet safety.
“Driver safety is deeply embedded in KTG’s culture,” said Eugenia Churilov, KTG’s Director of Safety, Compliance and Security. “Customers want to work with a company they can trust, knowing that their freight will be delivered on time and safely. Over the years, our operating companies have been recognized by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) for fleet safety and companies have been named finalists in the Best Fleets to Drive For program. Our companies are also frequently recognized for their fleet safety by organizations here in Canada.
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Churilov, who has over 25 years of fleet safety and compliance experience, joined KTG in 2019. As the company continued to grow, Churilov recognized the need to consolidate and create uniform safety programs that each operating company would follow.
To do this, Churilov met with each KTG operating company to assess their security programs with the goal of designing a security strategy that combined the best practices she observed with effective tactics she had used before joining. the company.
“What we found was that many of our companies already had effective educational programs in place,” Churilov said. “By building a safety program with the best training programs, policies and technologies that our companies have used, we have improved the efficiency and effectiveness of our programs, which has resulted in fewer security incidents. drivers.”
Today, all KTG operating companies employ a training strategy that combines online, classroom and hands-on training programs for drivers and office staff. Because KTG companies offer a variety of services, course materials specific to each fleet’s service offerings are managed by carrier-level safety managers.
In most cases, KTG companies use online training through CarriersEdge, to provide initial training or information during the new driver onboarding process and for ongoing or refresher and remedial training. When new drivers are hired, they first complete assigned online training and other relevant materials, then attend classroom training and meetings for further review and training on topics best suited to their needs. a discussion-based environment. Practical or “practical” training on the vehicles follows, with drivers receiving training based on their previous experience.
“We have found that the online training tools offered by the CarriersEdge platform are a more efficient and less disruptive way to educate drivers since they can take the training on their own time. We use the time we meet in person to cover more complex training items or better discussed in groups and to answer any questions drivers may have,” Churilov said.
According to Churilov, the interactive design and topics covered in the courses offered by CarriersEdge and the back-end management tools are what led KTG to integrate the online training provider into its security program.
The KTG companies offer online courses for drivers on topics such as defensive driving, hours of service, vehicle inspection, winter driving, distracted driving, healthy eating and more across all of its companies. Courses on topics specific to its operating companies, such as the transportation of dangerous goods, cargo securing and food safety, are assigned to drivers. Some non-driver roles within KTG companies, such as dispatchers, are required to take many of the courses taken by drivers because they work closely with drivers.
“CarriersEdge’s comprehensive course library aligns well with the topics we need to cover in our operating companies and the information provided in the courses is regularly updated so we know the content is always relevant,” Churilov said. “In addition, the lessons are engaging and interactive, which helps drivers retain the information taught. The online portal helps us track driver progress through courses and better manage training-based decisions based on completed course results. »
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In addition to courses offered through CarriersEdge, KTG develops custom courses on topics specific to company policies and operations that are uploaded to the CarriersEdge portal for employee assignment and completion tracking purposes.
As part of its training programs, KTG companies assign new or refresher online courses to drivers several times throughout the year. Based on the results of a test or quiz after the completion of an assigned course, KTG safety managers can assess a driver’s performance and determine if additional training is needed.
“If we notice a pattern with questions that are typically answered incorrectly or low test scores on a course, we know to track those drivers or schedule a time for them to come and meet with a safety officer. and go over the topics in more depth to help them better understand the material,” Churilov said. “If we have isolated issues where one or a few drivers need additional support, we can work with them individually.”
On the road, the trucks are equipped with the latest driver safety technologies to support driving best practices and track driver performance. KTG Enterprises relies on its driver dashboard reports, which are analyzed monthly, as well as footage captured by dashcams to determine if remedial or “remedial” training is needed for a driver.
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“If a safety officer, for example, notices that a driver is involved in recurring heavy braking events, they can look at the footage and determine the best way to fix the problem – though additional training and education can help. prevent these incidents from moving forward or if some other form of action is required,” Churilov said. “Our driver dashboard reports allow us to be proactive in managing our safety programs and fix issues that, if left unchecked, could lead to a bigger problem down the road.”
Since deploying a uniform safety program, KTG companies have collectively seen improved CSA scores. When KTG meets with its insurer, the company’s risk rating is “best in class” according to Churilov, and they are often told that the company is among the industry leaders in terms of overall security. Documenting its security programs – through dashboards, security technologies and CarriersEdge – helps the company keep a “paper trail” of what the company is doing to stay secure, which in turn contributes to insurance. It also adds a level of protection in case the company ends up in court. Evidence of training delivery and completion of CarriersEdge courses is recorded in the online portal.
“Informed drivers are safer drivers. Being proactive about training and working with drivers on safe driving practices is key to maintaining a good safety culture,” Churilov said. “Leveraging security tools such as online training and dashboards helps us maintain an effective security program.”